December 12, 2017 — As evident by the news articles swarming social media, Doug Jones defied the odds and won his seat in the Alabama Senate. A democrat hasn’t won the Alabama Senate race since 1992, when Richard Shelby was elected. For both chronology and amusement purposes, I found out that two of the top songs released in 1992 were Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus and I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston. It seems like an entirely different era, both musically and politically.
Although the outcome of the race has sparked a widespread controversy, it was only a single domino in the Rube Goldberg machine of social media and politics. Washington Post compiled a timeline of sexual assault accusations against Roy Moore, which counts eight women speaking out against him. These eight women changed the course of the election by revealing Moore’s abysmal track record with proper conduct, creating a massive scandal in its wake. Many social media users took to Twitter and Facebook, crying outrage against the Alabaman judge, referring to him as a pedophile. Roy Moore is by all rights a scumbag, abusing his power and status to engage in actions with teenage girls, but his case shouldn’t be brushed aside simply as pedophilia. The problem here isn’t pedophilia, but rather, a disregard towards consent and positions of power — if Roy Moore’s case is labeled as pedophilia, then those who abuse their power will continue to do so — he will become a scapegoat and martyr for those who wish to repeat his crimes. He’s a terrible human being, but the terminology and arguing points must be sound if change is to come.
Perhaps equally or even more concerning than Moore’s abuse of power is the public reaction towards Republicans. Some of those who supported Moore in the past were automatically labeled as pedophiles as well. I’ve seen arguments on Twitter that all Republicans support abusive men and they’re just as horrible as their senators and president. I disagree with this notion, and claim it to be absolute absurdity. Yes, supporting Trump and Moore as people is entirely questionable, but supporting the Republican Party in general is far from sinister. The issue of misconduct and scandal is far greater than a partisan issue, it’s an issue of morality and character. Watering it down to social media squabbles and attacking members of the opposing party will only accomplish what Trump and those who abuse power truly want — misdirection.
Basically, the proper action I’m suggesting boils down to this: Don’t make everything a partisan issue and don’t attack those you might disagree with. If everything becomes a partisan issue, then all we have to rely on is the judgment of political parties. That is a scary world to live in. Call out Roy Moore because he’s a terrible person that abused his power to assault teenage girls. Call out Trump because he’s a terrible person. Don’t call out their supporters with such vehemency, otherwise you might just prove in their minds that all those who think differently are bad.
Argue with reason and civility, and the world might see less conflict.