Many have started down the dark path.
Regardless of what you think of Roy Moore, I hope you reached that conclusion objectively. Unfortunately, those who dominate my news feed did not.
I saw bloodthirsty cries for him to drop out of the Senate race as soon as the first allegations were made, just as I witnessed stubborn declarations of innocence and that it was all a political smear. Both sides had more in common than not: their positions had nothing to do with the credibility of the allegations, but with the existence of the allegations alone.
Democrats and RINOs want him gone, so he must be innocent. Flyover Republicans want him elected, so he must be guilty.
From there, no amount of evidence on either side could penetrate stubborn skulls. The filter of confirmation bias tainted any appearance of guilt or innocence, and once again tribal politics reigned supreme.
But because God has a sense of humor, He threw Stuart Smalley into the mix.
Once the Al Franken (D-MN) groping photo surfaced, it was nothing if not comical to watch the tides reverse. Suddenly Moore’s tribal defenders started arbitrarily calling for Franken’s resignation, and Democratic loyalists rushed to protect him from fallout.
Bear in mind, I’m still not talking about those who’ve evaluated the evidence at hand and reached an objective conclusion. This is about the moral relativists who claim that sexual harassment and assault warrant swift impeachment and that women should be believed, not scrutinized — unless it’s happening to their guy.
Suddenly Democrats yell, “But we can’t afford to lose a pro-choice vote, no matter who it comes from!” And as Babylon Bee satirized, evangelicals would vote for Satan if he ran as a pro-life Republican.
Everyone, it seems, has forsaken principle.
I’m sick of arbitrary virtue, and, as always, there’s a Star Wars analogy for that.
In Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker kills a disarmed (well, dishanded) Count Dooku at the prodding of his friend, Palpatine (or his pal, Friend-patine. I’ll stop now, I promise). While Palpatine insists, “He was too dangerous to be kept alive,” Anakin laments, “It’s not the Jedi way.”
Later, when Palpatine finds himself at the tip of Mace Windu’s lightsaber, Anakin demands that Palpatine stand trial. Because it’s the Jedi way? Not quite.
In a chilling echo, Master Windu counters, “He’s too dangerous to be kept alive” — the exact phrase used earlier by the Sith Lord.
(I could write an entire piece on how the Jedi and Sith are akin to the increasingly similar Republican and Democratic Parties, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole just yet.)
In fairness, I actually agree in both cases that the villains should have been killed. That’s my principle. And if Anakin opposed Palpatine’s death based on the Jedi way of not killing an unarmed opponent (are you still unarmed if you can shoot lightning from your fingertips?), that would have been his principle. It’s possible for two principled people to disagree.
But that wasn’t Anakin’s objection. As Windu draws back for the kill, Anakin confesses his true motive. Not “the Jedi way,” not due process, not even further interrogation or hostage bargaining. Seconds before the final blow, Anakin cries out, “I need him!”
Anakin severs Windu’s hand, Palpatine’s lightning thrusts the Jedi Master from the shattered window, and Anakin’s turn to the dark side is complete.
Anakin’s fall is a painfully recognizable warning in contemporary American politics — not just in 2017 or even 2016, but for decades of political discourse.
“I don’t care if he’s a child molester; I need him!”
“I don’t care if he assaulted women; I need him!”
“I don’t care if he left a woman to drown in Chappaquiddick,” and “I don’t care what he grabs women by.”
The chorus echoes loud and clear: “I need him!”
This is how you fall to the dark side, and as Padmé notes only moments later, “this is how liberty dies.” Ultimately, this moment proves the destruction of the entire republic.
When the wicked rule, the people mourn. Without consistent principles, we are in danger of sacrificing every blessing of freedom we enjoy. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.
My warning to you is the same caution Master Yoda gives to Luke on Dagobah decades after the rise of the Empire: “Beware of the dark side. … If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”