What do you get when you spend thousands of pounds sending a reporter to Australia to dig up dirt on GOP Senate hopeful Roy Moore? If you’re the left-wing Guardian newspaper, not much apparently.
The story isn’t uninteresting. In 1982, Moore lost a bid to become an Etowah County circuit judge after having made enemies in the local legal community, which he’d accused of corruption. The failure was personally devastating, as he’d resigned his prosecutor position to run for the judgeship and now was “broke, bitter and directionless,” as the Guardian puts it, citing the judge’s biography. So the then-35-year-old Moore, perhaps in the midst of a mid-life crisis, sought to pursue some old dreams — which ultimately took him to the Australian outback.
First, however, he traveled down to Texas to train as a martial artist. The Guardian omits this aspect of the story, no doubt for a good, but nefarious, reason: The first part of the paper’s title is “Why Did Roy Moore Escape to Australia?” which conjures up the image of a man running from the law. But the omitted part of the tale contradicts the Guardian’s agenda and adds perspective.
With his judicial career on the rocks and abundant local enemies, Moore not only no longer had anything holding him in Gadsden, his home town, but also likely had a bad taste in his mouth. Was it not time to live those old dreams before you’re too old to live them?
It’s common for men to have adventurous dreams and find themselves middle-aged with those dreams unfulfilled. Someone quite close to me often talked about sailing around the world (he never did it); someone else near and dear always wanted to ride a motorcycle cross-country (he also never did it). For my part, I aspired to be an ATP (tennis) player — and I did compete on the “satellite circuit” at one time — though I never reached my lofty erstwhile goals (which, in case you’re wondering, is why you didn’t see me on TV hoisting the Wimbledon trophy).
As for the judge, his adventures make him sound more like an Ernest Hemingway than a soul gone astray. After returning briefly to Gadsden to compete in a karate tournament (I can’t help but wonder if, after suffering failure and abuse there, he was partially driven by a desire to kick some butt in his home town!), Moore ventured to the Land Down Under for what he described as some “R & R” and the Guardian calls a “mystery.”
So Moore set out, initially traveling “to Brisbane and then to the coastal town of Ayr, where he briefly worked on sugar cane farms, before heading west to the town of Emerald to fulfill his ‘real desire ... to work in the Australian outback,’” writes the Guardian. Moore said he’d wanted to see Australia since his Vietnam days, but never had the chance.
It was there, in an Emerald cafe, that Moore met Colin Rolfe, a rancher and the owner of Telemon, a cattle station larger than Manhattan that’s “a maze of wandering dirt roads Google Maps has never heard of,” as the Guardian put it.
Sharing a love of poetry and Christian faith — Rolfe was preparing to become an Anglican Church deacon — the rancher found in Moore a philosophical soulmate and invited him to Telemon. As the Guardian reported, “The Rolfe family — Colin, his wife Cleone and their six children — were known for having foreign visitors living and working on the station.”
“‘It was pretty normal for us,’ Colin’s daughter Isla Turner said. ‘People would come to spend a few nights and end up staying a few months,’” the paper continued.
But here’s the most relevant point: Whether or not Moore found purpose, peace, or perspective in Queensland, there’s no question about what the Guardian found: A portrait of a man “who never left the impression on those he met that he was ‘anything but a gentleman,’” as the paper related.
But not so much of a gentleman that he didn’t fit in. As the Guardian also informs, “Moore lived with the family and worked on the property, mustering cattle, fixing fences and building stockyards.”
“‘I don’t think he’d ever done that sort of manual labour in his life, but he took to it like a duck to water,’ Turner said.”
As for the allegations against Moore, everyone the Guardian spoke to expressed shock. As the paper tells us:
“Nothing like that ever came up,” John Rolfe, Colin’s eldest son, said. “He seemed very straightforward, very much how you’d expect a young American. I’m quite surprised. It’s not what we saw at all in his time with us.... We thought very highly of him.”
One woman, who was 16 years old when Moore lived with the Rolfes and came in close contact with him, said she never felt uncomfortable around him.
“There was nothing of that kind on my part. I certainly didn’t feel uneasy with him,” the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Guardian.
“There was never anything remotely like that [and] I was in my teenage years, which I guess would have been the prime time if he was going to do something. Usually you have your antenna out for that sort of thing and nothing untoward came about.”
Of course, the Guardian still pushes its narrative by repeating various allegations against Moore, not mentioning that some have been debunked. Yet it’s forced to admit that “in Australia, the Guardian did not find any reports of improper behaviour.” In fact, the worst thing any old Aussie acquaintance said about him is that he “sucked at tennis” and that, likely at the paper’s prodding, you never know (about allegations): anything is “possible.”
For sure — one day the mainstream media could actually become honest. Having said this, by all means read the Guardian piece; it’s well-written and a captivating story. Besides, it’s certain the paper will appreciate the web traffic from America. After all, it certainly didn’t get its intended bang for the buck down in Australia.
Photo: AP Images