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ONE OF OUR MOST VALUABLE THINGS 11 Nov. 2017 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

ONE OF OUR MOST VALUABLE THINGS

11 Nov. 2017

Dear Friends and Patriots,

 

          When you’re asked this question, “What are the most valuable things in your life?” what is your reply?  Most women tend to start naming their kids.  Most men will start off with their wife and then start naming their kids.  There are those who will immediately start talking about their dog.   Some will cite something tangible, like an heirloom from one of their grandparents, or some special award given them long ago.  I know people who will tell you about the antique car they keep in storage all but two or three days a year, and a few who will tell you about the old painting they found in a yard sale that turned out to be worth a small fortune.  Yes, when you ask that question you do learn a lot about people, what they value most, and how they think.

          I learned one day a couple of decades ago that I had something precious to me that I hadn’t considered.  Without going into much boring detail I’ll say that someone I had never met before went to my boss and told lies that could have cost me my career.  I was working for a Navy Captain at the time.  The person who told the lies was a retired Navy Captain and one of my boss’s Navy Academy classmates.  The lies were told after working hours, not when I was around.  The next morning my Captain called me into his office and told me what his old “friend” and classmate had said.  The lies contained implications that were extremely serious and possible violations of federal law.  They also contained another implication that involved my wife.  I listened without speaking as my Captain told me what he had heard.  After he finished I had my turn.  This is a fairly accurate representation of my response:

 

Captain, why are you telling me this?  You let a man you think of as your friend take advantage of that relationship and come into your office after hours to make unsubstantiated allegations.  He’s not in the Navy anymore.  His income depends on increasing his business base and he realized I wasn’t going to do that for him.  I went through all the right steps to do what I’m doing and he has no actual complaint, so he came to you and told you things that just aren’t true.  I don’t know the man from Adam, and anything he told you he got from someone else.  Now that you’ve told me, you have a decision to make.  You can believe him, or you can believe me.  If you don’t believe me, then I’m done in this town.  All anyone has in this line of work is their reputation.  When that’s gone, you’re no longer employable.  That’s my problem, though, not yours.  Your problem is in understanding when someone is using you and abusing your old ties and when someone is actually trying to serve your needs.  There are parts of what you heard that are true, but it’s all wrapped in lies.  You need to decide which is which, and understand the consequences of your own decision.”

 

I walked out of my Captain’s office and went back to my desk.  My Captain closed his door for about an hour.  When he re-opened it he came over to my desk and apologized.  He said I was right about what I’d said and that he knew he could trust me to always do the right things.  I thanked him, and that issue was done and over.

          The thing is, a person’s reputation should be among their most valuable and treasured possessions.  Unlike children, spouses, parents or valuable “things,” a reputation is completely intangible.  It’s as substantial as smoke; it can disappear just as fast.  I never had worried much about my reputation until that day my Captain called me into his office.  But, I was quick enough to realize there was someone out there trying to drive me out of town; out of my job.  I realized the thing most valuable to me in that instance was my professional reputation, and that without it, I needed to look for another job. I was lucky, though.  My Captain and I had a good relationship and he understood I was not one who was cavalier about any aspect of law or accepted business practices.  If it had been another Captain, perhaps I’d now be a retired construction worker or working as an assistant manager at a Walmart.  Instead, I’m still in the profession of my choosing. 

          For the past couple of days the airwaves have been full of commentary about Judge Roy Moore and the allegations of impropriety regarding him; allegations that go back to a time almost 40 years ago.  I have thoughts about that, which I hope you’ll grant me license to share.

          Who among us hasn’t done things we wish we hadn’t?  Who among us, especially those of us with snow on our roofs, doesn’t wish to erase certain things done in our lives, either by us, to us, or in our presence?  In the Bible, there is a wonderful story about a sinful woman who was about to be stoned by a group of citizens in her village.  Jesus was asked to participate, but instead said, “Who among you is without sin?  Let him cast the first stone.”  The crowd, realizing the totality of his admonition, dispersed and Jesus then turned to the woman and said, “Go, and sin no more.”  His actions granted an admittedly sinful woman justice and mercy.  But, our society doesn’t work that way, does it?  We have that age-old urge to judge and condemn.  We forget that we all have done things we shouldn’t be proud of, and we are often hasty in joining in the condemnation of others.

          I can’t condemn Judge Moore.  I wasn’t there in Gadsden, when those events supposedly happen.  I do know even if some aspects of the tales being told are true, some probably aren’t.  There are always several sides to any truth, and we rarely understand the totality of any event.  So, instead, I choose to analyze my own reactions and hope I’m being honest in them and how I want to proceed from here.

          Judge Moore is now broadcasting denials.  That’s his right.  It’s his reputation that’s under assault.  He claims the current stories are nothing more or less than media, Democratic Party, and Republican establishment attempts to prevent him from winning a seat in the US Senate.  He could well be right, regardless of whether there’s any substance to the stories.  The Judge is trying to protect his reputation.  He should.  It’s one of his most valuable assets.

          The biggest problem in this case is the “he-said, she-said” nature of it all.  Several Republicans in Washington have gone on record stating Judge Moore should withdraw from the Senate race, “ . . . if the allegations are true.”  Isn’t that interesting? “ . . . if the allegations are true.”  How does anyone prove they did or didn’t do something almost 40 years after the fact?  I know I couldn’t.  I’d have few choices.  I could, if it were true, admit to it and beg forgiveness, the explain it all as indiscretions not repeated over the past 36 years.  I could also say, “I don’t recall any such thing, but maybe I did.”  Or, I could say, “NO WAY!” Judge Moore chose the, “NO WAY!” option.  He chose to fight for his reputation with adamant denials.  That means the onus is on us, the people out here in what Rush Limbaugh calls “Realville,” who now have to make up our minds.

          The timing of these allegations is rather curious.  Judge Moore ran for Governor of Alabama twice, and twice campaigned and won election to Alabama’s highest judicial seat, yet there wasn’t even a hint of these stories during any of those races.  Why now?  Why would any woman sit on their stories for nearly 40 years and only now feel compelled to tell them.  What was the inducement?  Was it money?  Was it 15 minutes of fame?  Was it their personal or political dislike of Judge Moore?  Can we every really know?  One might be reasonable in thinking if those alleged incidents were true, they couldn’t have had much impact on their lives.  Otherwise we’d have learned of them decades back, when Judge Moore’s career was taking off.  Or, we’d have seen him indicted for crimes just after they occurred.  But, now?  Now seems convenient for purposes other than for attaining any personal justice for harms done.  It smacks of vengeance, and possibly undeserved vengeance at that.  Or maybe it’s just opportunism.  Who really knows?

          What we do know is our PC society grants women the legal high ground in any dispute involving behavior of a sexual nature.  The old common law legal premise of “innocent until proven guilty” does not apply.  That’s our law, and has been for a couple of decades now.  Today any woman can accuse any man of any impropriety on any given day and it’s her reputation the law protects, not the accused man’s.  He somehow has to prove he didn’t do what he was accused of.  In many cases, assuming the allegations are recent, that’s actually possible and I’ve seen it done.  But, when enough time has elapsed, it becomes virtually, if not completely impossible to defend against such charges.  It’s then left to those who hear them to decide who is telling the truth and who isn’t. 

          Ask Justice Clarence Thomas about that.  He was involved in the most egregious case of “he-said, she-said.”  He knows what a reputation is worth.  So did Judge Robert Bork, whose only known “crime” was in being a strict originalist interpreter of the Constitution. Both Thomas and Bork were pilloried by the same people: Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and John Kerry.  Those first three, Kennedy, Biden, and Dodd, were well known in Washington for their partying ways.  They were often seen in the pubs of Georgetown, whooping it up with whichever female caught their eyes.  As for Kerry, one would have to go a long way to find a liar and opportunist of his caliber.  He’s world-class.  Yet, these were the Democrat judges of better men?  And, there are members on the Republican side of the aisle no better. 

          I want to focus on the aspect of elapsed time.  If something is earthshaking in your life, do you sit quietly for decades and not do something about it?  Why do you suppose the statutes of limitation exist?  In part they exist just for such occasions.  If something is important, it should be tended to soon.  If not, or if it can’t be proven true within defined timeframes, the law grants suspects respite from the charge.  The only crime that has no statute of limitation is murder.  Every other crime has defined statutory time limitations on prosecution.  That time actually does account for the fact that people change and often never reoffend.  Burglars and robbers often get jobs and quit stealing from others.  Bullies who are guilty of assault often mend their ways and learn how to get along with others.  Some who drive while intoxicated just quit doing it.  Drug offenders often learn the harm of their actions to themselves and others and find their way to the straight and narrow path.  Besides, over time our memories of events change and grow unreliable.  So, there is sound logic to having statutes of limitation.  But, one thing you need to understand is that the value of a reputation has no statutes to guard it.

          We are all left to the task of making our own judgment on Judge Moore.  If he sticks to his denials and stays in the race for the Senate seat we will register our judgment on Election Day, next month.  For me, that vote is certain.  I will vote for Judge Moore.  For me, even if it’s possible he did some or all of what he’s accused of, I will still vote for him.  He denies the stories.  No one can prove the allegations one way or another.  We either trust or we don’t.

          If our nation continues on a road where every candidate for office must actually prove themselves against any allegation offered, then we’ll never again see anything but tawdry politics.  Today there are convicted felons sitting in Congress.  If you don’t know that, you should.  There are members who have been documented to be serial philanderers and people of proven low moral character.  There are members of Congress who have been breaking federal and state laws every day of their terms, yet they still sit in office.  Why are they there?  They are there because the people who elected them chose to ignore what they knew or heard and opted to send them there as their representatives.  Of them I can only say, “Let anyone among you who is without sin cast stones at Judge Moore.  Otherwise, shut the heck up!”  This is a decision Alabamians have to make, and we will.  It’s not the business of the media or the hypocritical politicians in Washington. 

          Thomas Paine once wrote, “Reputation is what men and women think of us.  Character is what God and angels know of us.”   Men and women will register their thoughts on Judge Moore and the allegations now cast his way.  Are his decades of service to the people of Alabama meaningless?  Are we so invested in the dirt of unproven and unverifiable tales that we would risk the future of our state and nation?

          The political strategist in me looks at that 2-vote Republican margin in the Senate and understands the great danger of a progressive resurgence.  We must all learn to become strategists if we’re to do what President Trump says he wants to do; to Make America Great Again.  If we have to admit to doubt, we still need to be intelligent about our vote.  To vote for a progressive is to opt for the continuation of the decline of our nation.  To vote for a third party candidate or to write-in someone we might like better is to give advantage to that same progressive.  Where is there anything other than a moral or pyrrhic victory in that?  I opt for the voting strategy that will support the potential of an American renaissance and a return to rule of law according to our Constitution; to a return to the principles articulated in our Declaration of Independence.  That means I can’t do other than to hope Judge Moore stands fast so I can vote for him.

          Remember when Judge Moore won the nomination of the Republican Party?  Remember what I told you then?  I told you the progressives and their media lackeys would be descending on Alabama and that it would get very ugly.  Now you see it, and it’s as bad as I had feared.  Now, each of us has to decide, and each of us has to act.

          For those of you who live outside Alabama, pay attention.  One of your own candidates could be next.  Judge Moore isn’t the first candidate to be smeared by allegations that can only be denied, but not actually proven false.  He won’t be the last.  You may see one next year in your own state or district.  You’ll have to decide whether to be a moralist or a political strategist.  Know yourself enough to understand what you’ll do.  Figure out which path better serves the interest of the nation and you’ll vote correctly.

 

In Liberty,
Steve