Friday, December 15, 2017

Not Even Close: Knowing Exactly Who Roy Moore Is, Majority of White Alabamians — and White Evangelicals Overwhelmingly — Tried to Put Him in Senate

Charlene White, "In Alabama, black women saved America from itself – as they've always tried to do":

Black women have been trying to save America from itself for generations. So the breakdown of who voted in Alabama’s Senate election this week come as no surprise. Since as far back as the 19th century, African American women have been fighting for civil rights; they have always been front and centre in terms of mobilising support for equality and justice. Though it would not be surprising if you've never heard their stories – by and large black female trailblazers have tended to be erased from history. 
But that marginalisation has never stopped their continued fight for justice and equality. In Alabama, 98% of them voted against Roy Moore, a man who – among other things – is accused of assaulting teenage girls. And yet 63% of white women voted for a man accused of such things. But there's form here. Despite allegations of sexual impropriety against Donald Trump during the 2016 election race, 53% of white women voted for him to become president, compared to 3% of black women. 
So the figures reflect that in Alabama, overwhelming numbers of white American women opened their arms to an alleged paedophile and gave him their votes. Whereas those black women in Alabama voted for change for their families and themselves in a part of America that has huge numbers of people in poverty (nationally, more than 28% of African-American women live in poverty – higher than the corresponding figures for white or Hispanic women). And to keep out of office a man whose list of alleged sexual misdemeanours is ever growing. . . . 
What is surprising though is that in the era of the #MeToo movement, white women in Alabama didn’t see the accusations of underage sexual conduct as enough of a reason not to put someone in office. In fact I watched one woman defend her choice with these words: "I’m sure God had forgiven him [Moore] so I forgive him too and will vote for him. Who am I to go against God?"
History will not look favourably on this era in America. In the midst of all this you've got black women who are trying to raise families in higher levels of poverty and amid nearly double the unemployment rates of white women. That strength and resilience reminds me of a Malcolm X speech – which Beyoncé actually sampled on her album Lemonade: "The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. / The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. / The most neglected person in America is the black woman."
Some African-American women would argue that not much has changed since that speech in 1962. But despite being disrespected, unprotected and neglected, they came out in their droves and righted what could have been a huge wrong.

Carol Kuruvilla, "White Evangelicals Voted En Masse For Roy Moore In Alabama, To No One’s Surprise":

According to exit polling conducted by Edison Research, 80 percent of white voters who self-identified as born-again or evangelical Christians voted for the former judge. About 18 percent voted for Jones, while another 2 percent chose to write in a candidate. 
About 76 percent of everyone else ― those who didn’t identify as white evangelical Christian ― voted for Jones.

Ryan Sit, "White People Almost Single-Handedly Elected a Homophobic, Anti-Muslim Accused Child Molester in Roy Moore":

Roy Moore said a Muslim shouldnt be allowed to serve in Congress, believes the last time America was great was when slavery existed and suggested that gay people should be jailed and even executed in order to protect their children—and still, an overwhelming majority of white Alabamian voters tried to put him in the Senate on Tuesday. 
It wasn't close. Most of the white people who showed up at polling sites for the special election to fill Jeff Sessions's vacant Senate seat, whether male or female, college educated or not, voted for the Republican candidate.

Robert P. Jones, "Alabama Election Confirms What Now Counts for White Evangelicals in Politics": 

Partisan tribalism has now fully turned evangelicals' political ethics on its head. White evangelicals spent decades creating the "values voters" brand that emphasized adherence to principles and put a premium on candidates' character. In the wake of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, for example, conservative Christian activist Gary Bauer began his own bid for the presidency in 1998 with an ad that declared that the scandal "taught our children that lying is okay, that fidelity is old-fashioned and that character doesn’t count." It ended with the following appeal: 
"Every American parent's job has been made more difficult. The virtue deficit has grown. Mr. President, it is time for you to put our country and our children first. It is time for you to resign."
As recently as 2011, PRRI polling suggested that character still counted among white evangelicals when evaluating candidates. When asked whether a candidate who had committed an immoral act in their private life could nonetheless behave ethically and perform their duties in their public life, only 30 percent of white evangelicals agreed this was possible. But when this question was asked again in 2017, with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, a whopping 72 percent of white evangelicals agreed. 
White evangelicals' support for Trump and Moore clearly demonstrates that what counts most now is that the Republican Party wins — or more precisely, that the Democratic Party loses. But this commitment surely doesn't follow from a religious worldview or a principled political ethic. Roy Moore may have lost the race, but it is white evangelicals who seem to have lost their way.

Chauncey DeVega, "What kind of white person do you want to be: Roy Moore or his foes?": 

Like Donald Trump, Roy Moore is not an aberration or outlier within today's Republican Party and broader conservative movement. The problem for Republican leaders is that both men are simply tactless and unapologetic in their racism, sexism, misogyny and bigotry. Republican voters (and the right-wing political machine) do not find such values abhorrent. They may prefer, however, that such values and beliefs are expressed more politely, through dog whistles and other cues that offer a veil of not-very-plausible deniability. It makes perfect sense that Trump embraced Moore's candidacy, despite the president's effort to walk back his endorsement after the fact. 
Sociologist Michael Kimmel explained the toxic allure of sexism and racism for white Republican voters to me by email: "I think that the tradition which Moore represents is one of 'everyone knowing their place.' That is, women in the kitchen and black people subservient to whites. And in that sense, 'making American great again' is returning to that imagined era."

Erin Gloria Ryan, "Thanks for Nothing, White Voters": 

Exit polling implies that the older and whiter an Alabaman was, the more likely they were to vote for Moore. Add maleness and Moore—who has said in the past that lots of problems came with the constitutional amendments that granted women and black people the right to vote—was a near-lock. But only 10 or so percentage points separated white men and women’s voting patterns. 
All this despite the fact that Jones ran on Moore’s history of sexual creepiness toward underage girls. One might think that Jones' line of attack would have had more impact on women’s votes overall than it did, or more impact on the votes of white men who have, at some point in their lives, known or cared about a human woman. But the Alabama vote was split down racial instead of gender lines. White voters either didn’t believe that Moore had molested a 14-year-old, or that he had a history of jaw-dropping racism and sexism, or they didn’t care. 
After every election, there's a new round of hand-wringing over the white woman vote. What is wrong with white women? Why do they keep doing this? With the exception of the occasional Gail Collins column, white men usually get off the hook for doing the same thing. 
The majority of white female voters, time and time again, have not voted to serve the best interests of their gender and certainly appear to be voting along racial lines. As we saw Tuesday, it takes literal child molestation to invoke the kind of empathy necessary to move even a tiny number of white women’s votes. The better question is: Why is this still surprising?
See you for the next round of surprised and shocked takes on this in 2018.

Not to be forgotten: these are the folks with whom the U.S. Catholic bishops climbed into bed several decades ago, knowing when they did so who these folks are and what they represent. These are the folks to whom Catholic pseudo-liberals like Michael Sean Winters and Catholic conservatives like Andrew Sullivan want to give a pass, as, in alliance with the U.S. Catholic bishops, they claim that being asked to treat LGBTQ citizens equally, and as the law designates, is an attack on their values.

People like Winters and Sullivan do not want to admit the obvious and clear parallels between the argument pressed by Piggie Park owner Maurice Bessinger regarding his religious convictions and his barbecue sandwiches, and the arguments being pressed by Masterpiece Cake on behalf of white evangelicals and the U.S. Catholic bishops.

To do so would demand that they face the longstanding complicity of many white "culture-war" voters, large percentages of them Catholic, outside the bible belt with the overt racism that has fueled the religious right alliance from its formative days to the present. It would mean that they have to face their own complicity with racism, as they press their culture-war arguments.

Much easier to pretend that Piggie Park and Masterpiece Cake are worlds apart.

They are not. The same people who pushed for barbecue sandwiches to be regarded as sacred religious symbols in the Piggie Park case are pushing for cakes to be seen as the most sacrosanct sacramental objects imaginable today — using the same set of arguments about how religious convictions should be allowed to trump civil rights laws.

The effects of permitting anyone at all to deny goods and services to LGBTQ folks while citing religious warrants for such discrimination will be just as pernicious as were the effects of the very same religion-based racial discrimination I saw in full flower in my formative years — which the Supreme Court nixed with its Piggie Park decision.

But with a majority of Catholic justices on the Supreme Court now, most of them hard-right justices, and with people like Winters and Sullivan giving them and the people to whom they're listening a pass, I expect a very different decision regarding sacred sacramental cakes.

With the same ugly consequences for society as a whole when this kind of discrimination is legitimated by the highest court in the land . . . . 

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