By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford
I love America, and I especially love Alabama. That’s no secret, as I believe all people in politics should truly love our great nation. But I have to say, this summer, I find myself loving America a little more than usual.
With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, celebrating everything that our forefathers tirelessly worked for, I find myself recommitting to a simple principle I try to live by: doing my part to ensure that their dreams do not go unfilled; that our country is a place that my son and daughter can be proud to raise their future families in.
But this year, as I watch my family, friends and the people of Etowah county get extremely patriotic, gathering at all times of day to watch the U.S. Men’s soccer team compete on the world’s stage, I am reminded of year round patriotism.
I am reminded of how we should not forget our forefathers’ dreams, simply because it’s not time for a festive bar-b-que or grandma’s strawberry icebox pie. The excited chants from soccer fans screaming “USA! USA!” is music to my ears. We should all be this proud to be Americans every day, every year—not just on the Fourth of July or because it’s World Cup time.
Our troops make sacrifices that ensure our country’s core beliefs are protected around the world. Their daily sacrifices, and the sacrifices their families make, allow us not only to live our lives however we chose and pursue whatever our dreams may be, but they also allow us the freedom to chose our leaders in government at every level.
We need leaders who are focused on our country and our state. We need leaders who care! Leaders that are watching the same soccer matches, getting caught up in patriotism, and excited to join in the “USA! USA!” chants!
Instead, unfortunately, in Alabama, we have leaders that are focused on hard-line partisan politics, or worse, playing games with citizens’ trust. Which is exactly what Gov. Bentley did at the close of this past legislative session with the raise he promised teachers—or what the State Legislature did in the 2013 regular session with the Accountability Act.
Back room deals, secret meetings and press conferences peppered with half-truths and flat out lies are not what our forefathers had in mind all those years ago. Those kinds of activities are certainly not what our troops are fighting to protect!
We need to elect leaders who will work together to make Alabama, and America, stronger; help our country become an even greater nation than it currently is. Not politicians who are more interested in their own power, leveraging their service in the legislature to get high paying lobbying contracts down the line.
We need leaders who see what the citizens of Alabama need, and give it to them: Without secret meetings, back room deals and press conferences filled with half truths and flat out lies.
Rep. Craig Ford is a Democrat from Gadsden and the Minority Leader in the Alabama House of Representatives.