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The Moral Price of Playing Politics

Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner

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“Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.” is state auditor Jim Zeigler’s defense to justify Roy Moore’s alleged sexual relationships with teenage girls. Recently, there has been a surge of sexual harassment allegations directed at men in political spheres. Nevertheless, despite reports of the heinous crimes committed by several politicians, some Democrats and Republicans still defend those alleged criminals or stay silent on the matter altogether because of partisanship.  Their refusal to penalize the accused politicians from their own party and their defense of their actions will severely impact future cases of sexual harassment, creating a precedent of politicians getting away with inappropriate and illegal acts, which will make it extremely difficult in the future to punish politicians who have committed those crimes.

Alabama senator candidate Roy Moore has been accused by at least 9 women of unwanted sexual advances towards them during their teenage years. He has never directly denied the claims, even suggesting part of the stories are true. However, many Republicans in Alabama still continue their support for Moore. Recent polls show that 37 percent of evangelists have even strengthened their support because of these accusations. They view the allegations against Moore as an attack from the liberal news media, and would take any means to reinforce their belief that the news they consider “undesirable” are fake by resisting these accusations. Noticing that a majority of Alabama republican voters still back Moore as senator, the Republicans throw their support behind Moore instead of condemning him. Although these accusations have not been proven yet, directly ruling out these women’s accounts as false would prove disastrous. Not only would it protect a potential child molestor from proper punishment, it would discourage victims of sexual harassment from speaking out and seeking justice.

Aside from senatorial candidate Roy Moore, another senator under scrutiny is Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, who was accused by five women of sexual harassment, and shown to be groping a fellow comedian in a photo. Compared to the Republican’s response to Roy Moore’s allegations, the Democrats might seem like they dealt with this issue more fairly because they condemned Franken for what he did. However, despite the image they want to appeal to us, those top democrats were attempting to protect Franken by calling for an ethics investigation instead of his resignation. The last expulsion that has resulted from an ethics investigation happened in 1862, so Franken’s expulsion from the Senate is extremely unlikely. Therefore instead of truly penalizing Franken for his inappropriate and illegal actions, those Democrats who advocated for an ethics investigation were trying protecting him in order to secure a safe seat in the Senate.

The politicians’ attempts to protect the accused predators to their party’s seats in senate have a substantial and long term impact that extends beyond the present situation, since their desire to keep these accused in power makes it easier for sexual predators in political spheres to escape consequences. If a politician from a party is accused, it will be harder for the opposite to condemn the politician, since they affected party be able to use “whataboutism” by mentioning that the opposite party has defended someone from their party who committed a heinous crime as well. This happened when Democrats were trying to accuse Republicans for not denouncing president Trump for alleged sexual assault— Republicans simply just brought up the time Democrats defended Bill Clinton for his scandal. With this mentality, the sexual harassers in politics will be exempted from consequences, which would be detrimental to enforcing proper ethics and behavior in the government, it will become harder to prosecute politicians accused for misconduct from both parties.

In this case, the Democrats as a whole stand on a higher moral ground by condemning Franken for his actions and urging his resignation although some top Democrats initially wanted to use the ethics investigation as a way to help Franken bypass the need to step down. But the Democrats’ actions are not enough to ensure a Congress free of sexual assaulters, the Republicans need to put forth their moral conscience before the advancement of their political agenda as well. Instead of condemning politicians only when it is going to be politically disadvantageous to protect them, Republicans should cease shifting the focus of the story to an opposition against the liberal media, and face the pressing problem of the prevalence of sexual assault committed by men in political power.

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The Moral Price of Playing Politics