Roy Moore lost that election the other day. Roy Moore, failed Biblical law judge, Confederate enthusiast, and big fan of purity, narrowly lost to Democratic candidate, Doug Jones. It was a remarkable election for several reasons.
Doug (“Who?”) Jones managed to pull out the win in spite of himself. Was I the only one wondering why he was the best candidate the Democrats could come up with? The whole election was like one, big Alabama joke. (Question: what do you call two cherry-bombs and an old coffee can? Answer: an Alabama vasectomy.) I’m sure that Doug is a nice guy, but he’s on the low-energy side and campaigning in his house clothes was a strange tactic. Mr. Jones came out the winner largely because he received 96% of the black vote, and Reality-Based America is very appreciative for the save. There were choruses of “thanks, blacks!” from all over the country. That black vote was a lucky thing, too, because the same degree of “virtually ALL” evangelical Christian white voters cast their ballots unironically for Mr. Moore.
That Christian vote proved once again that talking a good game is much more important to evangelicals than actually being a good person.
We are one step closer to learning what level of incompetent, unethical, racist, immoral, borderline-criminal beliefs and behaviors it takes in a candidate to make American voters say, “oh HELL no.” Now at least we know where black American voters draw the line.
(Of course, I am happy that Mr. Moore lost. Very happy! Unfortunately, our celebrity culture will keep him in the public eye for years, like Sarah Palin, but at least he will not become a United States Senator. That august body has suffered enough brand deterioration already.)
And I’m happy that our black Alabama voters were at the forefront of this effort to snatch back some of our dignity. Sure I’m grateful, but it comes as no surprise, because I’m grateful to American blacks every day. My two cents on the matter is that it should not take a remarkable event like this to direct our awareness towards our black brothers and sisters. It was not suddenly today that we awoke in their debt. I, and we, have owed them a tremendous debt of gratitude every damn day for a long time now.
For what, you ask? That’s a stupid question, but okay. For starters, for the life that they bring to our shared culture; the grace with which they treat the whites among us in spite of all of the negativity that they continue to suffer at our hands; the patience with which they wait for the day when they will receive equal treatment from their own government; and the dignity with which they continue to make the best of a bad situation, in almost every situation. For being great neighbors, co-workers and friends.
I particularly appreciate the talent and enthusiasm that they bring to almost any workplace that is lucky enough to have hired them, for anything from cleaning hotel rooms to playing the outfield for the New York Yankees.
What, are you one of these Internet Libertarian geniuses that wants to bring up “statistics?” You think maybe blacks are trouble? I am embarrassed on a daily basis by the unfounded, horribly racist allegations that run around our circus-like modern media environment about black neighborhoods, black families, thug-life, jailbirds, and often blacks in general, coming from lying right-wing pundits on “balanced” news programs, or memes that probably originated in the Ukraine or the Philippines, or just from that “friend-of-a-friend” weird old ConBot* Facebook friend of yours who gets his ideas from Fox News. If I were black, I doubt if I would have the emotional wherewithal to refrain from making matters worse.
And that’s the point! Most actual black Americans DO find the emotional wherewithal to do just that. Refrain from fighting back inappropriately; refrain from striking back at their oppressors; graciously take the high road. I appreciate this self-restraint, but mostly I am grateful for the enormous positive gifts that they have given to our culture. Having black Americans in the mix enriches us; the least we can do is be grateful.
Disclaimer: There is no need to drag out on every occasion the terrible history about how so many Africans have come to be in America in the first place. Even my verbosity has its limits. Of that, and other less than optimal aspects of the relationship, by me and by us, I am humbly aware. This is a day of gratitude, for shit-canning Roy Moore, and for everything else.
How great it would be if this wave of enthusiasm for voting could be sustained through the next couple of decades of voting cycles! We’ve had thirty years of low turn-outs and bad votes, maybe the pendulum will swing back to common sense and human decency. That and people actually voting. Maybe we could even get the Millennials on board. Getting reasonable Americans to stop NOT VOTING could change the face of the country.
It’s a stretch, but I suppose anything is possible.
*ConBot, a Conservative robot. I may have coined this phrase myself.