(pode ler este artigo em português aqui)
It’s a rare feat that a Democrat gets elected in a state like Alabama. Some parts of the country are so staunchly partisan that they don’t have so much as swing voters to tip their elections any other way. There’s simply too wide of a margin. Alabama is the prototypical example of this. Yet Doug Jones managed not to bungle the special Senate election he contested against Republican Roy Moore to win the seat.
Consider the circumstances. Roy Moore has a long, dark history of accusations of underage sexual assault. This includes even being prohibited from visiting a shopping center due to this. Victims have come forward with accounts spanning decades. All follow a regular pattern of them being underage and him being aggressive.
A politician remaining in the race for office in such a condition is nearly unthinkable
What’s remarkable about the circumstances of the Alabama special election is the timing of the accusations against one party’s candidate. We are currently experiences a mass wave of victims coming forth about sexual assault. They are being taken credibly and having their aggressors held accountable for it. Hollywood has not stopped purging its ranks of any and all accused in weeks. The effect has spilled over into politics, with several prominent politicians from both major parties being forced not to seek reelection or resign due to credible accusations.
While it is remarkable that Moore managed to finagle the Republican candidacy, the tepid embrace of the party should not be. We need not forget that the president himself had his own campaign nearly implode due to the infamous “grab them by the pussy” remarks on video. Despite top names in the media business and in politics coming crashing down, the name at the very top remains comfortably, for now, in his position. Our cultural moment, however, has not yet seemed to extend to the most egregious of the accused.
The durability of #MeToo is unparalleled
Without the groundswell of society outspoken against sexual harassment and assault, it would be nearly impossible to call for the ouster of such established figures. It is for the benefit of society at large, especially women themselves, that we have once again woken up to the real violence of sexual assault. In an era in which the news cycle has been reduced to mere hours, the durability of #MeToo is unparalleled. Its scope, its lasting power, and its ability to touch those on all sides of the social spectrums. Be they rabbis, directors, councilmen, congressmen, or beyond, sexual offenders are being exposed by long-silenced victims.
Roy Moore lost by 1.5 percentage points, as of the end of the night on Tuesday. That is a very small margin of rejection of the political embodiment of everything the Me Too movement stands against. Yet it happened, and it is a brief moment of respite from the seemingly endless barrage of scandal coming from our politics. If it should rise all the way to the top, it will be on the back of this public sentiment.