By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Editor’s Note: On Thursday night, after witnessing the melee on the Alabama Senate Floor, I sent out a personal twitter message. As a person who voted GOP in 2010, I felt it was a point of personal privilege to voice my disgust.
Not over the bill per se—because I like most present at the time had no idea what was in the bill—but at the deception and utter disregard for honesty that was the passing of the School Accountability Act.
My anger from that moment has somewhat abated, however, my disgust has not. I have spent several sleepless nights pondering the moral implications of the vote. Like most in the rough world of politics I like to win. But winning with one’s morals in tatters is not a win but a grave loss of character. The human soul with its conscience is a fragile thing. It must be guarded with the utmost vigilance.
Corruption of the soul is something that for most occurs over a long period of time. Little lies become acceptable, because everyone tells them. A small bribe, a favor for a friend, the little short cuts are the things that lead to a darkened soul. A conscience seared with a hot iron is achieved by little compromises of character. When I said Thursday night that, “The word ‘transparency’ is a word that should not be used by the ALGOP Senate. A confederacy of liars, ”I meant what I said, however undiplomatic it sounds. The following editorial is why I made that statement.
A Confederacy of Deceivers: No, the ends do not justify the means.
MONTGOMERY—As a person who believes in conservative principles of good government I am disgusted, discouraged and outraged by the deception used to pass the School Accountability Act.
A small gang of republicans took the 8-page Local School Flexibility Act bill into conference committee and came out with a new 27-page bill called the School Accountability Act. This was a break from the spirit of the whole idea of the conference committee purpose.
Before the passage of this new bill State Superintendent Tommy Bice withdrew his support from the legislation saying, “NONE of the added language to the Flex Bill has been vetted with us at the State Department/State Board of Education. There are SIGNIFICANT negative financial implications for all of Alabama’s public schools. THIS IS NO LONGER THE BILL I GAVE MY SUPPORT TO!” said a statement issued by Bice to lawmakers. (HIS EMPHASIS).
Instead of preening like male peacocks the republicans of the Alabama House and Senate should be ashamed.
Instead of taking a victory lap, they should be in prayer.
It is not the bill itself, it is the dishonest way in which it was passed that is a blight.
After public hearings, committee meetings and floor debates, a small cabal of men changed one bill into a totally different bill to fit their personal political agenda.
Is this the way of representative government according to the Alabama GOP? Are we are to expect all bills to be passed in such a dubious manner? If so, why pretend, just send everyone home now and let the junta decide the fate of all legislation for our state.
After the passage of HB84, I spoke with many veterans of the House and Senate who said that even the democrats never were so brazenly dishonest.
This move by Del Marsh and Mike Hubbard fits a pattern that they used to take control of the Statehouse in 2010.
In the same way that Marsh was sent by Hubbard to the Poarch Creek Indian to solicit money for the ALGOP, Hubbard sent Marsh to be the de facto head of the conference committee to shepherd the shameful bait and switch.
Marsh and Hubbard deceived the voters about begging the Poarch Creek for campaign funds and now they deceived many of the people who supported the Flexibility Act.
“We are greatly disappointed, and Bushwhacked,” these are the words of School Board Association Director Sally Howell, a group that supported the Flexibility Act.
Is this not the same way that Nancy Pelosi and company passed ObamaCare? Is Del Marsh our state’s version of Pelosi?
Deception is not honorable, but Hubbard and Marsh have proven time and again that winning without honor is acceptable. This is the character of men who lead Alabama’s State government. Senator Scott Beason was removed from leadership for a seemingly racist remark for which he has long repented. Yet, Marsh and Hubbard deceive, bully and threaten which is far worse than any sin of Beason.
Perhaps Beason is just too honest for this bunch.
Governor Bentley said, “Sometimes you have to do what is necessary to get the bill passed.” Is lying acceptable, Governor?
The Governor also said, “The Trust thing will pass.” Will it sir?
I hope this is not a lesson the school children will learn from the new School Accountability Act. It seems to be a lesson that many in the GOP supermajority have embraced.
We teach our children to be wary of those who deceive them. And yet, here we have the highest elected officials in our State admitting that they deceived their, friends, colleagues and the voting public. They say that the ends will justify the means but is this a theory that we should trust or live by?
The Bible teaches us not to lie, it also teaches that there are sins of omission. To omit a fact, to hide an intent is in itself a lie according to the scriptures.
Hubbard, Marsh and the Governor, all say they are religious men, yet, they decide to break a moral tenet so plain, so simple that it is a foundational principle we teach our children everyday.
Hubbard and Marsh, I believe deceived, the Governor, but to keep company of deceivers is has its own consequences. The Accountability
Act now clearly hangs over the head of Robert Bentley.
The Governor’s greatest asset has been that people trust him, perhaps the trust thing as the Governor calls it will pass. But in my faith. I would rather see a sermon than hear one.
I personally do not believe that the ends justify the means, because I believe what is written in the scriptures. Jesus did not take a short cut, Christ never teaches the ends justify the means. The commandments of God make it clear, a lie is a lie, allowing no escape cause like the ends justify the means.
From Marx to the Khmer Rouge and now the republican elite of Alabama, moral law is overturned for “the common good.” It doesn’t matter how many children this bill helps, the way it was passed sends a chilling message to all who love truth.
Any conservative Christian should be sickened by the moral failing of the republican leadership. Satan was the father of deception not the God and Father of Jesus Christ.
We hear the word transparency a lot from republican legislators in Montgomery, instead of transparency why not try honesty.
Many people support charter schools and vouchers but will not continue to support a lawless and deceptive leadership.
According to the Gadsden Times, “Bentley said the surprise move had been in the works for a few days, but supporters like Howell and Bice weren’t included because Republicans knew they would oppose the tax credits”
Marsh told the Times, “Republicans didn’t want to delay a vote because that would have allowed opponents to inundate legislators with calls.”
So, deceiving those who oversee our systems and denying the voice of the voters, is the new norm.
Is this the new mantle of leadership in our state, to exercise power from the dark corridors with fraud?
Did not the Republicans in 2010 run on a platform to rid the state of duplicitous leaders? With this act it appears the Republican elite have become the essence of what they once found repugnant.
The School Accountability Act was conceived under the cloak of darkness, to deceive the people. At least today, in this vote, the
Republicans have become a confederacy of liars.
Machiavelli teaches that a ruler must appear honest and pious, but should in fact be ruthless and deceptive. This is not however the teaching of Jesus.
The character of the state’s Republican elite is in question.
Shame now hangs over their hoary heads, they have been weighted in the balance and found wanting.
I voted for these men in 2010 what a fool I was.