Old Judge Roy is in the spotlight again.
Lights! Camera! Action!
Who remembers the Oscar-nominated 1972 Western spoof starring Paul Newman, titled “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean?” Famous director John Huston wove a revisionist tale whose motto was, “If this story ain’t true… it shoulda been!” The IMBD page defines the film this way:
“In Vinegaroon, Texas, former outlaw Roy Bean appoints himself the judge for the region and dispenses his brand of justice as he sees fit.”
Does anyone else have the uncomfortable feeling that, since the 2016 election, we’ve all been unwittingly cast in some kind of awkward movie, featuring cocky men (and women) who define their own sense of justice while flaunting propriety with reckless abandon?
Fast forward to 2017.
Judge Roy Moore is running for the U.S. Senate to represent Alabama. In spite of President Trump lending his original endorsement to Moore’s primary opponent, Luther Strange, he won the Republican nomination and will face Democrat Doug Jones in a special election slated for December 12 of this year. The winner will fill the seat of former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions who now serves at mostly the displeasure of President Trump.
According to VoteSmart.org, Moore was born on February 11, 1947, in Gadsden, Alabama. He earned a Bachelor of Sciences at West Point, in 1969, going on to serve as a Captain in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army. His credentials include a JD from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1977. He served as President of the Foundation for Moral Law from 2003-2012. After his private attorney practice, Moore’s resume added:
The judge, made famous (or infamous, as the case may be) by refusing to dismantle an unauthorized monument of the Ten Commandments behind his courthouse bench, launched two unsuccessful bids for the Alabama Governor’s job in 2006 and 2010. An NPR story relates the drama surrounding his last attempt:
The man who won that race, Robert Bentley, is the one who appointed Strange to fill the vacancy left by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation.
Bentley himself resigned earlier this year amid a sex scandal. The optics of him appointing Strange, who as the state attorney general was investigating possible misuse of his office to cover up the alleged affair with an aide, greatly hurt Strange in the race with Moore, according to several local observers.
Now, after a reluctant endorsement by the character-challenged Republican President, Judge Moore is embroiled in his own scandal. From the New York Times:
Mr. Moore has denied the allegations The Washington Post published on Thursday, including that he molested a 14-year-old girl, Leigh Corfman, when he was 32. “I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone,” said Mr. Moore, who added that he has “the highest regard for the protection of young children.”
Grab me another bag of popcorn, will ya?
Like a scene from The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, accusations and innuendoes are flying back and forth over Main Street like lead bullets. Only this time, we’re watching the drama unfold along the virtual paths of social media, where Judge Roy Moore has been alternately convicted or exonerated by the court of public opinion.
This particular melodrama includes the tragic elements of misdirection and irrationality that falsely declares that Moore is “innocent until proven guilty”. Not unlike Judge Roy Bean’s capricious courtroom, this is a false hope in the halls of social “justice”. This quote only applies to a court of law. Others in the simulated courtroom have already convicted the judge of being a pedophile because he dated teenage girls while in his 30s.
The same cult mentality that excuses every example of Donald Trump’s boasts of debauchery is shielding Judge Roy Moore from condemnation because he put an R behind his name.
Those who have witnessed too many episodes of “Christian Conservatives Gone Wrong!”, in which vehemently denied scandalous accusations were ultimately acknowledged, won’t be surprised if and when Moore makes his grand apology tour and quietly exits stage left.
Until the final scene is revealed, the audience anticipates the verdict with passionate assumptions of their own.
The real tragedy in this performance is the hypocrisy on full display. But, that’s what makes it such a hoot to watch.
And, roll credits!
Photo published by New York Times: “Credit Marvin Gentry/Reuters