Roy Moore was whistling Dixie

Last week, we watched Roy Moore, ill-fitting cowboy hat plunked on head, riding his horse like a rodeo hero for the press — and that was when I noticed how much he reminded me of George Wallace, 45th governor of Alabama. In his inaugural address of 1963, Wallace talked about segregation today, tomorrow and forever.  That same year he stood in the schoolhouse door, defying federal troops trying to integrate per a federal order. He rode a wave of populism to run for president in 1968 and made a decent showing as an independent.

Roy Moore even looks the part — and his claim to fame was as a Supreme Court Judge in Alabama, defying a federal court order regarding that 10 commandment monument. Then, during his campaign, he hearkened back to a time when America was great... during slavery, when families were strong and the nation had a direction (right towards a bloody civil war, to end slavery, recall).  Well, at least we can rest assured, says he, that he always asked a mother before he, as a prosecutor, would date teenage girls. But his biggest draw seems to be his hearkening back to the Jim Crow era, when blacks knew their place — and it is scary, indeed, that he almost won a coveted US Senate seat, vacated by Jeff Sessions.

Meanwhile, Doug Jones got his fame as a US prosecutor who successfully prosecuted KKK members for a bombing of a black church, also in 1963, which killed four black girls.  That was back when white guys could lynch black men and get local juries to acquit them (Jim Crow, remember).

Now, many people don’t recall that the Republican Party started as the party of Lincoln, (who abolished slavery) and all the way to 1968, the South was so solidly Democratic, they called the solid voting block “Southern Democrats”, which was busted up totally by Lyndon Johnson’s support for the ground-breaking Civil Rights Act of 1964, and then the Democratic Party fractured completely with the anti-war fever of 1968 and assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.  And the defection of the entire South to Republicanism was so complete that no Democratic candidate for Senate has won in Alabama in 25 years, until yesterday.

Trump supported another Republican (Luther Strange) against his ultra conservative former advisor’s recommendation.  Odd then, how Trump backed Moore, finally, maybe they still would be strange bed partners (both with claims of sexual harassment lingering, but I digress).  Odder still that rampant lingering conservatism almost won it for Moore, in spite of his stunningly similar style to George Wallace.  And how could the religious right support guys with such penchant for harassment of women?  Well, at least the Republican Party dodged a bigger bullet here-pundits have warned that Moore entering the US Senate would have done more damage in 2018 than they could afford.  Now Doug Jones is called a lame duck, certain to lose in 2018-unless he starts to vote like a Republican to save his neck with Alabama voters, sure to have a cleaner Republican candidate next time around, and that is that.

PAUL PETERSON

Storm Lake