The following is the exact text submitted to an e-colleague who has always published my ruminations before on his busy site. He woudn’t touch this one, or even tell me why not. Roy Moore is apparently radioactive for “intellectuals”–especially those with good northeastern educations.
I had to wince at Roy Moore’s answers to Sean Hannity a couple of weeks back. Specifically, there was far too much talk about how the mothers of a seventeen- and an eighteen-year-old girl “liked” Roy and were pleased to have him courting their daughters–how he never asked a girl out without first consulting the lady of the house–followed by reiterated insistence that, no, he didn’t date teenagers when he was a thirty-two-year-old. So, Roy… these two particular moms wanted you to court their daughters, but you refused because of the age gap? And when you asked out a woman of twenty-eight, you first contacted her mother so as to ascertain if a date would be acceptable? Is that what you’re saying?
I so wanted to like this man… but thanks to contradiction and incoherence flowing from his mouth in a steady, unsavory mush, he has rendered himself impossible to believe and presently looks as guilty as Ganelon. If your account of how you did not do a deed is insulting to people with IQ’s higher than the temperature on Christmas Day, then you likely did the deed. (For instance, if you claim that you found a gun in a dumpster and decided to shoot a seal with it, but dropped the piece and then stumbled so that your toe pulled the trigger while pointing the muzzle further downward so as to create a ricochet… but I forgot that such things really happen in San Francisco.)
I concluded after the Hannity interview, then (with my head buried in my hands), that Moore must have done everything of which he stood accused. I was ready to fit the noose around his neck myself.
As the weeks have stumbled along, however, as awkwardly as an expatriate seal-hunting drug-dealer on a crowded pier, I began to reconsider. I did so largely on the basis of my own recollections of the Seventies, and of the ordeal of being a single Christian male during those suicidally hedonistic days. Here’s what I wish Judge Moore had said, and what I think he may have meant to say:
“Mr. Hannity, I’m sorry that you think it’s a perversion for a man of thirty-something years to ask a girl fresh out of high school for a date. In the rural South and out West, such practices were routine rather than unusual (let alone aberrant) before the Civil War; and in some parts of the South, things haven’t changed that much. But, yes, they’ve changed enough to have made my courting practices a little oddball back in the 1970’s. All the same, in my neck of the woods, asking out a girl ten or fifteen years your junior wouldn’t have been equated with pedophilia necessarily, as you seem determined to do–and your making that association really intimidates me. I’m really tempted to scuff up certain boundaries and hedge on the truth, except that I know I would be setting my foot in my own snare. You fast-talking Yankees, Mr. Hannity… you all have a way, you know, of making us Southerners feel like backward, inbred perverts, deviants, mutants, and retrogrades. You’re always so sure of yourselves, and we’re always Exhibit A for human failure and degeneracy. But I’m going to admit to the seventeen- and the eighteen-year olds–those were innocent adventures involving nothing more torrid than a light kiss at the end of the evening; and I’ll attempt to explain to you something further about the Seventies.
“You just about couldn’t find a girl to go on a date with back then who didn’t expect the evening to end up in bed. It didn’t even matter much if you met her at church. Since I had been unwise or unlucky enough to remain single into my thirties, most of the available women were divorcees, and they weren’t in any hurry to repeat what they regarded as a mistake: to get married again, that is to say. They held the institution of marriage at fault for their unhappiness, and not their own evaluation of marriageable material. They had decided that if they ever did marry a second time, they would do so only after giving the vehicle several test-drives. Unfortunately, this attitude not only tolerates behavior that a Christian is not supposed to practice; it also doesn’t yield the sort of confirmation that girls back then seemed to expect of it. So if I had engaged in the dating game as it was then being played by people of my age, I would have been exploiting women for my selfish sexual pleasure, albeit with their permission–and I would have been preparing them for another personal catastrophe following hard upon their previous one, since they were seeking to build a solid edifice upon a foundation of sand.
“Of course, there were better-educated women of approximately my years who had not rushed into marriage right out of high school, as we tend to do in the South; but few of them, frankly, clung even the rudiments of Christian belief that I found in struggling, confused divorcees. Indeed, it was the creed of feminism, learned in colleges and exported by these dazzling graduates into professional circles throughout the community, that probably induced many a single-parent secretary or nurse to follow the same lifestyle. For that was how the ‘smart’ people lived.
“In those circumstances, Mr. Hannity, I conceived the perhaps ill-advised notion of trying to date ‘unspoiled’ girls–young ladies who were neither exiting an unhappy marriage nor bound for a campus that would make them wise in the ways of contraception and abortion. I thought I was choosing the best option of the few available to me. Naturally, I made myself look a little ridiculous to certain people in the community who were already disposed to dislike me. Some of them, I’m sure, made me out to be a pervert and a predator, because I had left myself in a perfect position to receive shots like that. My ill-wishers in the law enforcement fraternity, especially, would start rumors about how they had to warn old Roy away from the young girls at the shopping mall. That’s what Jesus said would happen if you didn’t follow the way of the world. Him, the Son of God, they called a drunkard and a reveler, a companion of shady characters like tax-collectors. If the world would say that of Him, why would it say kinder things of me?”
Kind of a long speech for a Hannity segment, I know… but I wish Judge Moore had uttered something in the vicinity of my script. continued tomorrow