Roy Moore

Conservatives and the Old Confederacy have Credibility Gap

It should not surprise us that Judge Roy Moore supporters and others on the extreme right have taken to lambasting the Washington Post. When it comes to credible news outlets, to quote Jon Stewart, the Roy Moores of the world “got nothing.”

If you are a progressive, if you are a moderate, you have a wide range of local and national media outlets that present empirical evidence and provide skilled analysis. The Washington Post may now be the flagship publication because it has almost unlimited resources thanks to the ownership of Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame.

But obviously the New York Times, the Boston Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle and a host of other newspapers and magazines are constantly providing credible journalism. When it comes to electronic media, there is PBS, NPR as well as CNN, MSNBC and CBS. Then there are the exclusively on-line newspapers such as the Huffington Post.

If you’re a Roy Moore supporter in Alabama, a follower of Steve Bannon and Breitbart, a member of the Tea Party, you have to feel that you are consistently being piled on by this national media.

Yes, this credible media makes mistakes, witness the writings of Judith Miller of the New York Times on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but by and large they apply the type of thinking reflective of the Enlightenment that has been a cornerstone of America democracy throughout its history.

It’s possible that if the Founding Fathers were still amongst us, one of their biggest disappointments would be the disdain that so many Americans have for using empirical evidence as the basis of reaching conclusions. Part of the dissonance between the Founding Fathers and those currently on the right wing is that the Fathers tended to be skeptical of literal interpretation of the Bible. To many on the right, a literal interpretation of the Bible (when convenient) provides a respite from the challenges of rational thinking.

If there are few in the land of Roy Moore who want to, or are capable of, providing rational analysis of contemporary events, then the people are truly at a loss. If it is more important to the people to believe that they are a persecuted minority, then what they might read in the Washington Post, etc.  just further reinforces their notion of being the little people who are kicked around.

What is interesting and equally sad is that many other minorities seem to be able to cut through the B.S., correctly identify their oppressors, and develop strategies to improve their situations. The civil right movement was based on a commitment to the values delineated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There was a minimal amount of “poor me” and a great deal more emphasis on self-improvement and building bridges with one-time and even current oppressors.

Irony of ironies may be that white Southerners who historically have berated and discriminated against African-Americans now see a landscape in which more and more African-Americans are reaching the American dream and thriving in an information society. At the same time, so many on the right, particularly those who are white, just seem flummoxed by the way the world operates. Their frustration leads to resentment towards the main branches of this information society including such credible media points as the Washington Post.

As upsetting as it can be to have one of our fifty states seriously considering sending the likes of Roy Moore to represent them in the United States Senate, it is also saddening. It is even understandable that those who are so left behind modern society would rather fight for non-separation of church and state, fight to protect a likely sexual abuser, fight for someone who seems incapable of trying to advance the economic and human rights interests of the people of Alabama, than to see Roy Moore as he is and cast him aside for someone more modern.

Reconstruction has had its successes, look at Atlanta. But there is still so far to go.