Opinion | The real State of the State

January 11, 2018

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

The State of the State in Alabama? As always, it’s great.

Gov. Kay Ivey gave her first State of the State address Tuesday night. As one would expect, all is well. We’re doing great. Nothing to worry about here.

Nothing.

We do this every year. When has a governor actually told us the truth? When have we heard we need lots of work? When have we been told we’re not living up to our potential?

Never. Right? Never.

Gov. Ivey has plenty to point to as achievements of her administration. She took over from the Luv Guv, Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley, who was pretty much a disaster for seven years.

Every year, in his State of the State address, all was well with Alabama.

All has never been well with Alabama.

We’re a poor state. One of the poorest in the nation. We can’t take care of our people like we should. We can’t even take care of our people like a poor state should.

Yet, all is well with Alabama.

Yes, we’ve got a new auto plant coming in, one that will certainly bring good jobs, lots of them. That’s a good thing, except we gave away our soul to get it. That’s OK. Somebody’s got to give away their soul to get one of these huge auto plants. Mazda goes hmmmmm.

But what about our children? Yes, as Gov. Ivey pointed out, we have a super, great, wonderful pre-K program. Lots of kids gonna get readin’, writin’ and arithmetic in their early years.

Yay!

But not every kid. Just those who have the program in their areas. The program has expanded. Still, so many are left out.

What about health insurance for kids? CHIP was not reauthorized by Congress, so many of Alabama’s working poor will have no option to insure their children. Maybe Congress will come through, but why didn’t Alabama?

Alabama, if it had its priorities straight, could have funded CHIP. It didn’t. We’re screwed.

In this session of the Alabama Legislature, lawmakers need to readjust their priorities. We don’t need more roads. We need more empathy. We need lawmakers to decide what’s important in a way they’ve never decided what’s important.

They need to decide that making sure poor kids have health care than whether rich people have tax breaks.

We are not kind to our children. We’ve never been kind to our children. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If Alabama were a parent, it would be arrested for child abuse. Or child neglect, at the very least.

The State of the State is wonderful, says Gov. Kay Ivey.

If our State of the State were wonderful, we wouldn’t be discussing these issues. Fact is, we’re a poor state (see above), and we do very little to help our:

1. Working poor.
2. Immigrants.
3. Children.
4. Working poor.
5. Children.

Our State of the State? Gov. Ivey says all is well.

It is not. It is not close.

Don’t let the politicians blow smoke up your smoke-hole. There’s no room.

Turn around and hold our elected leaders accountable. There’s much for which they should be accountable.

This is a great state. We have much going for us. But we don’t take advantage of it. We’re lazy. We don’t want to do the hard work. We don’t want to make sure we’ve covered our bases — like in baseball, making sure the shortstop has second and third covered. Making sure the first-baseman isn’t out of position. Making sure the catcher has home base covered.

We prefer to pick on the least of these. We hate immigrants, and outsiders, and the judges, and the courts. Those who make us do what we ought to do on our own. Without a court order. Without the embarrassment that comes with doing the wrong thing because we’re stubborn.

Gee, we don’t even acknowledge that we know where our bases are. Because, frankly, we don’t know where they are. Sometimes, we’re vacant.

But the bases are in front of us, easy to see. And, sadly, just as easy to ignore.

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

 

Opinion | The real State of the State

by Joey Kennedy Read Time: 4 min
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