Thrawn Rickle 73

Spinning Out of Control

© 2003 Williscroft

In these columns I have often railed against spin, which I defined as deliberately distorting facts, ideas, or opinions so that facts no longer are what they were, and ideas or opinions take on a different meaning. Usually these changes serve to enhance the point of view of the person doing the spinning. I have implied, if not stated outright, that in today’s world I see more spin coming from the political left than the right.

This morning, however, I saw dramatic spin from the lips of one who currently is held in great esteem by much of the conservative right. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office this morning by a nine member panel of judges, attorneys, and private citizens. Their reasons were that Moore willfully ignored a Federal Court order, and that he flaunted the rule and the process of la w.

In an interview this morning immediately after the hearing and again with Linda Vester on the Fox News program DaySide, Moore said that he believed in adhering to the Law, and operating within the Law, but then he went on to define the “Law” as the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and also stated that any law that conflicted with that law was illegal, and that he did not need to follow such an illegal law. Then Moore told the story of a notary forty years ago who had lost his job because of his desire not to invoke God in his official capacity. His case went to the Supreme Court where the Court decided in his favor. Now, Moore said, he has been fired because of his desire to invoke God in his official capacity. He went on to say that in forty years our country had gone from accepting the right not to invoke God to denying the right to invoke God. He clearly said that he had lost his job because he insisted on believing in God.

This is pure, unadulterated hogwash. Justice Moore was fired because he refused to follow the law. Simply stated, the panel implied, the state’s Chief Justice must be law abiding. He has every right to believe as he wishes. What he does not have a right to do however, is flaunt the process of law in pursuing his specific legal goals. When the Federal Court ordered him to remove the Ten Commandments monument, he should have complied with the order, and immediately filed an appropriate appeal. This is operating within the law. If his appeal failed, he should have taken it to the next higher court, and so on to the Supreme Court. If he lost there, then he should have taken his cause to Congress, asking for appropriate legislation that would negate the law that removed the monument in the first place.

The bottom line is that Moore supplied a mighty dose of spin when he said he was fired for his beliefs. The truth is that he was fired for his illegal actions. If he really doesn’t understand this distinction, then he is intellectually unworthy of holding the high office of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice. I suspect, however, that Moore understands this distinction at least as well as I do. I don’t know his motives for spinning the situation as he did, but it is apparent that his spin has appealed to a large group of his supporters, so perhaps he is playing to the choir in order to drum up more support from the ranks of the nation’s right-wing Christians.

Since Moore apparently has pulled out the stops in appealing to his religious supporters, then one can fairly assume that he has his eye on higher political office, and suddenly it all makes sense. This still does not excuse either his behavior or his spin. Because of this, Moore has lost my support and my respect.

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