The Evening Redness in Alabama: Roy Moore and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

The Evening Redness in Alabama: Roy Moore and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian December 7, 2017

Disgraced former judge and alleged pedophile Roy Moore. Imaged obtained through Creative Commons.
Disgraced former judge and alleged pedophile Roy Moore. Imaged obtained through Creative Commons.

“In the street, men were calling for the little girl whose bear was dead, for she was lost.”

A reader’s eyes might skim over this sentence while rushing toward the nihilistic conclusion of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, a gore-soaked examination of the violent and depraved nature of the human soul.  In the next two pages, the lost child is subsumed in the anti-climactic murder of the novel’s protagonist, the nameless “Kid,” as he is crushed in the preternaturally hairless arms of the book’s chief villain, the diabolical Judge Holden.

While this allusion to a child’s disappearance seems unimportant compared to a man’s brutal death, it captures one of the true horrors of McCarthy’s masterful exposé of the dark recesses of men’s hearts. For by saying that the girl is lost, McCarthy emphasizes another terrible truth about Judge Holden: he is a pedophile and serial child killer.

Judge Holden’s perditious preying on children is hinted at or exhibited elsewhere in the novel. After massacring a camp of Native Americans, Judge Holden “rescues” a Native child, keeping him uncomfortably close before eventually snapping his neck. Earlier, he is in the vicinity when a child goes missing from a Mexican village. At times, he is observed creepily enticing youngsters with offers of candy. Most revealing, he is caught naked in a bedroom with a 12-year-old girl.

Judge Holden is a fictional character (though some argue he is based on a real-life outlaw). However, when I now review his appearances in Blood Meridian, I can’t help but picture an individual who resides firmly in the realm of non-fiction: the Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Alabama, Judge Roy Moore.

Though he bears the title “Judge,” Roy Moore is demonstrably undeserving of that honorific, if for no other reason than he has twice been expelled from the judiciary. In 2003, when he refused to obey a federal court’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from an Alabama court building, he was forcibly removed from his position as Chief Judge of the Alabama Supreme Court. Later, he was again removed from the bench when he ordered state probate judges to refuse to grant same-sex marriage licenses, in direct defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling such practices unconstitutional.

Moore’s disdain for the rule of law pales in comparison to his bankrupt moral character. Nine women have now accused him of sexual misconduct, one of whom alleges that he molested her when she was a 14-year-old girl and another who claims he tried to force her to perform oral sex when she was 16. A former police officer from Moore’s hometown of Gadsden told MSNBC that cops were tasked with keeping the Senate hopeful from harassing high school cheerleaders at football games and that he was banned from the local mall for harassing teenage girls.

Despite his depravity, many Alabama voters are still committed to supporting Moore. Most recent polling puts his support in the 42-49% range, while some polls even see him topping 50%. It’s entirely conceivable that, though he is patently unqualified for office, Roy Moore could emerge as a U.S. Senator after Alabama’s December 12 special election.

Before Alabama voters cast their ballots for a credibly-accused pedophile, they should pause and consider the fate of those who align themselves with such morally bereft individuals. In Blood Meridian, Judge Holden, like Moore an apparent pedophile, convinced a band of around 15 men to follow him into the abyss, leading them on a campaign of murder, rape, robbery, and torture while promising them riches and prosperity in exchange for their sins. But in the end, though he promised them the world, one by one he left them to suffer ignominious deaths, strangled by the hangman’s noose, marooned to die in the Mexican desert, or snuffed out with his own unnaturally strong hands. After he dispatched the last of his hell-bound posse, Holden celebrated in a saloon, maniacally dancing as he reveled in the con he had pulled. One can easily envision Moore’s recent waltz across a stage while waving a pistol as a similar tribute to the gullibility of those who believe that supporting evil will ultimately work in their favor.

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