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Society

America is Regaining Its Moral Center

Remember this: Bob Ewell lost this week in Alabama and Atticus Finch won, thus reversing decades of backward thinking that made that famous novel possible in the first place. It is hard to imagine an entire nation sighing with relief, let alone Republicans and Democrats smiling for the same reason, but Roy Moore, the erstwhile United States Senate candidate from Alabama, accomplished those tasks by doing the unthinkable. He didn’t get elected.

Of course, don’t tell Moore that because he still hasn’t conceded, saying in a YouTube video he’s awaiting the certification of the election and that he will continue the struggle for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

By now everyone knows Moore’s persona: a defrocked Alabama judge who has been accused of pedophilia and who came to light before that for his racist and homophobic stances. He got the nod for the GOP nomination for the Alabama Senate seat abdicated by Jeff Sessions and took an early lead until the various accusations surfaced.

Moore could never shake any of those accusations, and indeed the night before the election he trotted out his own wife to dispel the "Fake News" myth that he's a racist. His wife told a cheering audience they had many African American friends and they weren’t anti-Semitic because one of their own attorneys "is a Jew.” Needless to say, she said it with stupid, enlightening self-confidence.

But Moore never could see the forest from the trees, let alone know the difference between a bigot and misogynist. In the end, as he sits in a puddle of his own sweat defiantly taking on a battle for the “heart and soul of country,” the rest of the nation is grateful that Bob Ewell isn’t on the national stage any longer.

Trump jumped in with the alligators in one of the most disgusting displays of sewage-dining to ever be held in the D.C. swamp.

It seemed a no-brainer to anyone with common sense that such a hideous character should never have had the spotlight, even for a limited time. He seemed more like a human parody than a human being. Even his election-day stunt of arriving on a horse to cast his vote seemed more like a scene from Blazing Saddles than a scene from The Searchers (or any other John Wayne movie he was trying to evoke).

Mitch McConnell abandoned him. Jeff Flake sent a $100 contribution to Democrat Doug Jones, the eventual winner, and even posted a picture of his donation on social media. Other GOP House and Senate members shook their heads in disdain at the mere mention of Moore’s name.

"You cannot believe how happy we are we don’t have that noose around our neck for 2018," a GOP staffer told me Wednesday. "He would ruin the chances of any Republican on the ticket anywhere in the country." At that, there may have been a few Democrats who were outwardly happy Moore lost, but inwardly—ever the political dogs that they are—some are slightly upset the Democrats can't use him next year as whipping boy.

Never fear: There are still plenty of targets left for the Democrats, including the president himself.

Trump first cast his lot with Luther Strange and lost that bid. Then he refused to endorse Moore but eventually came around to it because Trump couldn’t fathom losing a vote in the Senate, where the GOP has the slimmest of majorities, even if that meant supporting a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot. (Apologies to Frank Hart.)

Instead of draining the swamp as he claimed he would, Trump jumped right in with the rest of the alligators in one of the most disgusting displays of sewage-dining to ever be held in the D.C. In the end, Alabama regurgitated the offering and decided to elect a man who once prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Of course, as soon as Moore lost, Trump issued a tweet declaring he knew it would be so and he never really cared for him anyway.

Somewhere, Steve Bannon, in his Seventh Circle of Hell, is moaning in pain like a wounded jackal. But those who think this is another nail in his coffin may have forgotten his true vampiric nature.

This election was watched around the world; casual observers wanted to know if America had truly lost its conscience.

Indeed, there are many members of the GOP who loathe Bannon because he claimed he was going to challenge them if they didn’t fall into lockstep with the president. They are now relieved because Bannon couldn’t pull off a win in Alabama. But never fear: Bannon, the GOP operative who seems to get grooming advice from Lieutenant Columbo, will be back.

Granted, even the president admitted in a tweet that the GOP needs "GREAT Republican candidates" in the future "to increase the razor thin margins in both the House and Senate." Since it is questionable whether either political party ever backs “GREAT” candidates, political wags looked at that tweet as an admission the GOP is screwed in 2018, or the Democrats are, or both parties are—or, like every other presidential tweet, it was merely high wind in the trees signifying nothing.

Whatever the case may be, D.C. is in a bit of a more somber, reflective and bipartisan mood following Jones's win and Moore’s defeat—which, as of this writing, he still won’t acknowledge. The president congratulated Jones but says the GOP will be back. And the struggle continues.

It was Mike Huckabee who offered one of the more surprising observations. “Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak,” Huckabee wrote in a tweet. "God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the ppl who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for a recount. In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class."

That tweet floored many on both sides of the aisle, but as one West Wing observer told me, "Maybe this election was a watershed event." There is no doubt the entire nation watched, with many holding their breath. The president jumped in, as did Charles Barkley, former President Barack Obama and a host of others. This election was watched in Europe and around the world because many casual observers wanted to see if America had truly lost its collective mind, conscience and moral center.

To them, this election was the canary in the coal mine. For the people in Alabama, it was about representation. For the White House, it was about getting numbers to push an agenda at any cost. For the Republicans, it was about 2018 and for the hapless Democrats, it was also about 2018.

But for most of us, it was about common decency. So if indeed this was a watershed event, then maybe we as a nation can back away from the precipice and embrace logic, common sense and decency as we head into the new year. And of course, the Mueller investigation continues.

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