Wednesday, December 13, 2017


     That's the short version.
     At least the country hasn't gone completely crazy. Any loss for Donald Trump is a win for America.
     Close, but enough. Thank you, God, Jesus and Alabama. Roll Tide!
     The long version is more complicated.
     Put it this way:
     Shame and pride had a wrestling match in Alabama on Tuesday.
     Shame won.
     Even in a solid Southern red state that hadn't elected a Democratic Senator in a quarter century, the idea of electing Roy S. Moore—a Republican, yes, but also credibly accused of groping several young women and girls—to the United States Senate was simply too much for voters to bear.
     Even Republican voters. Even Alabama voters. Even in the debased, tawdry Era of Trump.
     Or as NBA legend and Alabama native Charles Barkley succinctly put it, campaigning for the victor, Doug Jones: "At some point we got to stop looking like idiots to the nation.”
     That point is now.
     Okay, not now. It's not as if the state had a communal change of heart since November, 2016, when Alabamans voted for Trump almost 2-to-1 over Hillary Clinton.
     They just didn't want to be embarrassed by electing an alleged child molester. It's a start.
     That Moore was a bad judge, is a bad man, and would certainly be a bad senator, assuming the Senate didn't expel him immediately upon being sworn in, was not so much a factor as that electing him would look bad. Few Alabama voters seemed to care that he was dismissed from the bench, twice, for refusing to obey the law. They liked that. They're proud of that defiant attachment to faith, a Dukes of Hazard flipping off of the man.
     Doug Jones won. 
Even though his good qualities were eclipsed by his being a Democrat, and on the wrong side of the only moral issue that matters down there: abortion. His victory is still a reflection of the polarized, poisonous political atmosphere that this election does not change so much as ratify. Almost half the state still voted for Moore.
     Jones won. But his election won't change anything, not yet. The Senate will still be in Republican hands. And there is no defeat that Trump can't spin into supposed victory.
     Is Jones' win a reason to be glad? Sure. But a cause for celebration? Not really.
     People in Chicago only care about who represents Alabama in the Senate because that the contest was seen as a bellwether for the 2018 mid-term elections, a test to see if the Trump Rebellion is played out.
     Does Jones' win mean that Trumpism has reached his high water mark and will now begin to recede? Or is Jones' victory just a pause in the rainstorm?
     Celebration feels premature. Trump has suffered setback after setback since being finessed into office with—I believe—a boost from his friends the Russians. Obamacare withstood his onslaught, the military recently shrugged off his attempt to ban transgender troops. Everything bothers Trump but nothing fazes him. He's like that metal man in Terminator 2.
     Jones' victory is important because it nibbles away at Trump's thin majority in the Senate. It also reminds us of the power of shame. Doing the right thing because people are watching you isn't the best reason, but it will do.
     This is not the beginning of the end. Maybe, to quote Winston Churchill, it's the end of the beginning.
     There is no question that the Trump Administration will eventually fall apart, because it is a house built on sand. You can only get by on lies and bluster so long. Facts are facts. Climate change is real. Muslims and Hispanics make good, hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding American citizens as well as anyone else. Gays make excellent partners, if you are so inclined and responsible parents.
     The question is when.
     The answer: not yet.
     The election of Doug Jones does not mean that the historic intolerance and fierce partisanship of the Southland has been overcome. They have an enormous burden still
     This is a first step. Change is possible, yes. But change hasn't happened yet or Roy S. Moore would never have been the Republican candidate. Jones' win is merely one dry day in a season of flooding. That said, it is a welcome relief.


  1. Maybe a small victory and only a start but it makes this 1st night of Hanukkah a pretty good one. Happy Hanukkah everyone!

  2. Replies
    1. That's because the Sun-Times has copy editors and I have, thankfully, you. Fixed now.

  3. I’m with you, Avi! Only a beginning, but a win for decency nonetheless. Happy Hanukkah!

  4. Democracy works, but only if we vote.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Steve Biko

    328 days till the midterms. You know what you have to do.

  5. The photo above is perfectly apt and here's hoping...

    1. Yep. That's a swell photo in its own right, but accompanying this nuanced piece, it's a delight that had me smiling as soon as I arrived at EGD. Here's hoping, indeed.

      Just curious about the behind-the-scenes aspect of this, newspaper-wise, Neil. Is there some difference between your usual "Column" and this being labeled online at the ST as "Chicago News?" I'm assuming this required going well past your usual deadline for a column last night, or was that not the case? Were you going to to write a "Moore wins" piece, if that had been the outcome?

    2. I did write a "Moore wins" piece. Either was ready to go, as well as a "Too close to call" piece. I freshened them as the results came in. It was a long day.

    3. Sounds like quite a long day, for sure. Thanks for the reply and I'm glad you got to use the version that you did. : )

  6. I think I'll miss his spokespeople the most. I'm not sure if I preferred the woman who said "that there’s a group of non-accusers who have not accused the judge of any sexual misconduct or anything illegal,” or the man who was slack-jawed that the law didn't require office-takers to swear on a Bible, which was the only reason he came up with to justify Moore's belief that Muslims shouldn't be allowed to serve in the Senate.

    1. Those folks are funny, Coey, but they didn't just float off into the ether with Moore's loss. They're still out there and, as we found out in 2016, they vote. Don't get comfortable. We have a lot of work to do before November.

    2. Saw that Jimmy Kimmel segment, real comedy gold in a sad sick way. It's certainly entertaining, but I supose we can do without people capable of setting new levels of ignorance in government.

  7. Voting is only one component of good citizenship. We must be active politically in many different ways. From Gathering signatures for petitions to signing those petitions to running for office 2 helping others to gain photo IDs if that's what's necessary for them to go to the polls in their state. We need to be active politically in order to defeat the voter suppression movement that honestly both parties engage in and count on so that they have a smaller number of people that they need to manipulate to their devices.
    Knock on doors convince your fellow citizens to register regardless of their party affiliation it's important for as many people to be active and vote as possible.

  8. I certainly hope that the results of this election are harbingers of better days to come, but I definitely know that henceforth (or at least for a little while) men in position of power are likely to hesitate and perhaps even forgo telling attractive prospects that he will be nice to them if they're nice to him.


  9. And so glad that his stepford wife put her foot in it the other day with her Jewish comment. She didn't help matters and in this case that's a good thing.

  10. One important fact, the Republican Party is losing supporters, especially among the below age of 45 and women, and they never had minorities. There's only so much of constant degradation many will take. You can't win congressional seats with a base less than 35% in most states.

    Will they abandon Trump? Not until they get their political priorities signed off, which are also politically damning. They're almost like kamikaze pilots.

  11. Well that's good news since so many middle aged or older white women still stuck with Moore in their vote. Time should help matters.


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