By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Nothing matters anymore.
Evidence. Facts. Credible allegations. Actual arrests and guilty pleas.
Nope. Negative. Lies. Fake news.
This is America’s motto in 2017: We believe what we want to believe, and dammit, that’s our right.
Which is true, I guess.
Stupid, but true.
Over the last few weeks, I have appeared on countless national TV news shows, as outlets from around the globe seek to get a better understanding of this magical state. They want to understand our voting habits, our beliefs, our feelings.
Mostly, they want to understand how a man who no one likes, and who now stands accused of child molestation and pursuing multiple teenage girls when he was in his 30s, could possibly be in a neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race with any human who isn’t currently committing murder.
And for that question, I have but one answer:
My people are willfully stupid.
Now, before you go off on your high horse and start banging out a nasty email to me, understand what I’m saying here.
I’m not calling anyone naturally stupid, necessarily. Although, we do have quite a few folks who we can keep busy for days with a can of hairspray and a lighter. But they’re not voting. So, I’m not talking about them.
I’m talking about the rest of the — and God help me, these numbers are true, according to a recent poll — 71 percent of Alabama Republican voters who flat believe that the allegations against Roy “Wooderson” Moore are fake.
These are not naturally ignorant people.
These are willfully ignorant people.
They have chosen to be ignorant of basic facts, and have in many instances gone to great lengths to ensure that they remain ignorant of these facts. And they have done this for one reason: it’s what they want to believe.
Obviously, that, too, needs some explaining, because why in the world would anyone want to believe things that might be completely wrong?
There are several reasons, and most of them are not so much different than why people in other parts of the country and world also choose to believe things that are so obviously wrong. Let’s not pretend that only ignorant Alabamians are afflicted with this disease.
There are lots of people out there who are choosing to believe all sorts of ridiculous nonsense like, that soccer is a watchable sport, that Papa John’s is pizza, that Gus Malzahn deserved a raise and that “Forrest Gump” deserved an Oscar.
Completely absurd. But just like the political beliefs in this state, people have found reasons to believe these things.
Because their friends feel the same way. Because it’s what they were raised to believe. Because they’ve only received information supporting that one side. Because that’s their side now and they want to win.
Mostly, it’s the immersion factor.
From birth to death in Alabama, the majority of this state is fed a steady diet of the Bible and conservativism — in some form or fashion. Subtle racism — “don’t drive through the bad part of town” — and an unnatural fear of differences — “don’t want no transgender people in the bathroom with my baby girl!” — are engrained.
It’s what you learn. It’s what your friends learn. And there’s rarely any buffer.
If people only learn one thing, if they never allow for an opposing viewpoint — if they’re rarely even around anyone who might challenge that viewpoint — why would they ever doubt their beliefs?
That’s why, here in this conservative bubble, the majority of this state firmly believes that those women are lying, that the whole Trump-Russia thing is “fake news” despite half of the campaign entering guilty pleas and that those rich-people tax cuts will some day trickle down to their trailer.
And there’s nothing anyone — or any fact — can do to stop this madness.
For God’s sake, our Governor — a WOMAN! — said she found Moore’s accusers credible but was going to vote for the guy anyway.
What do you do with that? What do you do with a bunch of people who hear your facts, don’t bother disputing them, and then still choose the wrong thing?
When the shame and embarrassment of being consistently and loudly wrong doesn’t deter behavior and beliefs, there’s not much left.