THANK YOU, Alabama.
In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alabama, seemingly confirming every negative stereotype about the Deep South state, the shame would have been national. Instead, Alabama voters chose Democrat Doug Jones to represent them until 2021.
Jones is not in perfect sync with many Alabama voters on some issues, most notably abortion. But he is an honorable man with an admirable record of public service who ran a respectful campaign. His behavior suggests he will serve with decency and care in the Senate. He should make his state proud. None of these fine things could have been said of Moore. It is beyond heartening that Alabamians refused to overlook or forgive Moore’s misshapen character.
Even before woman after woman shared stories of Moore preying on them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, Moore had disqualified himself from serving in public office. As Alabama’s Supreme Court chief justice, Moore twice flouted federal court rulings simply because he did not like them. He had long stood for lawlessness and disorder. He called for “homosexual conduct” to be outlawed, said a Muslim should not be seated in Congress and waxed nostalgic for the era of slavery. But most egregious were the tales of traumas Moore inflicted on teenage girls.
Jones’ victory shows that, while partisanship might be extreme, it still has limits.
Thanks to Alabama, Americans can wake up Wednesday morning with hope for the decency and dignity of their democracy.