Voters in Alabama elected a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in 25 years during a special election Dec. 12. The polarizing Republican candidate caused many voters to stay home and brought out others in droves.
African-Americans came out to vote in the Alabama Senate race in larger numbers than either of the presidential elections in which Barack Obama was victorious. Ninety-eight percent of those voters cast their ballots for Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
Part of the reason for the overwhelming consensus among African-Americans could be Republican candidate Roy Moore’s statements during the campaign about when America was great.
“I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery. They cared for one another. People were strong in the families. Our families were strong. Our country had a direction,” Moore said.
That insensitive comment, combined with allegations of sexual misconduct and the fact that he was twice removed as an Alabama Supreme Court judge for ethics violations, made him an unpopular candidate in the African-American community, as well as with young, professional white women.
When we see any segment of our community feel so strongly about a candidate, we need to pay attention.
We have a president who openly supported Roy Moore and from what we heard on the Access Hollywood tapes, he doesn’t seem to see the importance of respecting women. President Trump will be answering for his actions in the next election. And he’s not the only one.
I think the victory of Doug Jones over Roy Moore shows that Democrats will gain ground in Republican strongholds and the Independence movement in the country is going to grow in leaps and bounds.
I have changed political party affiliations myself over the years. My family was Republican and my father was very active in the party, working on state campaigns. When I was in seminary and assigned to the Central Ward in Newark, I realized there was very little I could agree with Republicans on at the county and state level so I became a Democrat. Over the years, the Democrats didn’t meet all my political aims so I became more Independent.
The special election in Alabama taught us how important our vote is and how party affiliation isn’t all that matters. If politicians want our vote, they have to stand right and earn it. It’s not automatic.
by Monsignor William J. Linder