Why doesn’t Alabama care about Alabama?

December 28, 2016

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

Here we are, at the end of another year. Sunday starts 2017, a year of uncertainty.

What we do know is that Alabama doesn’t really progress much more than in the bottom 50 of the United States. Frankly, we never have.

And that is what’s on my mind.

Why do we allow our state to be a bottom feeder? Why do we not do what we have to do to make Alabama, a state with amazing resources, with great beauty, with fabulous people, do what’s right?

Why? Tell me your perspective. Is it that we don’t trust the government to help? Do we not understand that much of what government does helps Alabama?

My goodness, we’re a State that gets so much more back in federal funds than the taxes we put in. Yet, we still turn our heads, smirk, and blame it all on something else.

As Alabama Political Reporter’s Chip Brownlee reported Tuesday, Alabama once again ranks low in the nation for health. We’ve always been fat and smokers and one of the highest states where infant mortality is concerned. The United Health Foundation, a nonprofit established by UnitedHealth Group, has for years ranked Alabama crappy for health issues.

Kids Count, another measure, ranks Alabama low in the wellbeing of our children. We don’t have the programs in place that will help our kids do as well as they should.

We’ve known this for years. Yet, the Legislature, year after year, focuses on making sure it builds more roads, proposes bond issues for prisons (and we do need prison reform), and steals from state parks and education.

And then, when an important election comes up, we vote for a governor who gropes his top aide and sets up those who oppose him. We elect a State Representative who is speaker of the Alabama House, even after he’s indicted for corruption. We put as Chief Justice a homophobe and religious zealot who cares more about his agenda than the law.

Time after time, we vote against our best interests.

Just as we did in the recent presidential election.

So tell me, what’s wrong with us?

As these health studies show, Alabamians need good health care. Yet, our governor and Legislature refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And now, these people who need health care voted for a misogynist, racist, xenophobic candidate for president who vows to undo the Affordable Care Act.

And he will be president. This same person, a so-called Republican, is with those Republicans in Congress who want to weaken Social Security and Medicare. Yes, those of you Trump voters on Social Security and Medicare voted for a person who wants to hurt you.

So tell me, what’s wrong with us?

Our Governor is apparently corrupt, using State resources to attack his political opponents. Our speaker of the House has been convicted of many counts of corruption. Our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is suspended because he wouldn’t support the US Supreme Court’s ruling that people who love each other should be allowed to marry, regardless of their gender.

So tell me, what’s wrong with us?

Those who think Donald Trump is going to help Alabama are living on another planet. Donald Trump cares about Donald Trump.

Why doesn’t Alabama care about Alabama?

Please, tell me.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]


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