Over the past few weeks disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct have been levied against many public figures: movie producer Harvey Weinstein, actor George Takei, comedian Louis C.K., MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin, editorial director of Vox media Lockhart Steele, actor Kevin Spacey, CBS host Charlie Rose, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) and U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), just to name a few.

America’s sexual assault problem is real, and larger than most are willing to accept. As it turns out, many of America’s beloved cultural and political figures are alleged to be among the perpetrators. If we wish for this poisonous trend to end, we must hold those at the very top accountable. We can’t allow fame, power and fortune to serve as a shield to true culpability.

Many politicians – on both sides of the isle – are guilty of these kinds of grotesque transgressions. One of these politicians, Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, has been accused of sexual misconduct towards young women.

In a recent Washington Post story, multiple women went on the record to accuse Roy Moore of inappropriate actions. One woman, Leigh Corfman, asserted that Moore (then 32) inappropriately touched her and attempted to pursue a romantic relationship – Corfman was only 14 at the time. Three other women, then aged between 16 and 18, said that Moore pursued relationships with them as well.

A former colleague of Moore’s seemed to corroborate the allegations in a statement to CNN: “It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls. Everyone we knew thought it was weird … We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall.” Yuck, just yuck – this is not acceptable behavior.

Some have called this a political attack by a partisan news organization (The Washington Post did endorse Moore’s Democratic opponent after all). However, in this case, there is zero evidence to doubt the accusations against Moore. The accusations are severe and credible. This will remain the case unless Roy Moore is able to present undisputable evidence that invalidates his accusers.

In the case of politicians like Roy Moore, Americans can and must act – we must ensure that these types of people, regardless of their political party, are never elected to political office.

As a Republican, I certainly don’t want an Alabama Senate seat to fall to a Democrat. However, my strong objections to the conduct of Roy Moore outweigh that sentiment. In my eyes, a 32-year-old who pursues a relationship with a 14-year-old is wholly devoid of morals, and is unequivocally unfit to serve in the elected office.

So, what can be done? Republicans should leave Moore behind, and instead finance a different Republican as a write-in candidate. This will make it difficult for a Republican to win in this race, but write-ins have won Senate races before.

If a write-in candidate fails and Moore wins, the U.S. Senate can still refuse to seat him. In this case, the Republican Governor of Mississippi would simply appoint a different Republican to fill the vacancy. Republicans would keep the senate seat, and could avoid having an alleged predator as a colleague.

Most importantly, dumping Moore is the moral thing to do. The Republican party has long stood as the representative of traditional American values – they must continue to carry this torch.

This Moore situation (and other similar situations concerning different political figures) is deeply troubling. Needless to say, the current president has a record of alleged mistreatment of women. Bill Clinton is continually accused of assaulting women, and some have even accused the ex-president of rape. I encourage you to read Juanita Broaddrick’s account of Clinton’s alleged sexual assault – it is chilling. 

All too often, we are unwilling to live with the fact that some of the people we like politically are immoral – this leads us down a dangerous path. When we practice blind allegiance to personalities (or political parties) we end up throwing our morals aside, which often allows immoral people to rise to high office.

Many in the political realm strive to “win at all costs”. If America is to remain as a democratic role model for the world and as a representative of just treatment for all, our society must draw clear lines in the sand. We cannot become numb to the actions of immoral people.

The “lesser of two evils” mentality in politics must not be allowed to take hold. No member of any political party should support any candidate who does not uphold moral standards; it is incumbent upon us, the voters, to always hold public figures accountable for their actions. 

Luke Schroeder, columnist

schroelm@miamioh.edu

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