By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
A defiant Mike Hubbard sits high in the House Chambers, wielding the Speaker’s gavel with more power than any law-abiding citizen could possibly imagine.
The Rev. Billy Graham once said, “Self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.” Hubbard represents this lifestyle in full-measure.
Charged with 23 felony counts of public corruption, Hubbard still holds the most constitutionally powerful office in the State. Even now he controls the legislative agenda with an iron fist and none dare challenge him.
Even if Hubbard were found not guilty of the 23 felony indictments against him, few, who have actually looked at his own words, will ever doubt that he has roughly used the mantle of his office with greedy intentions. Hubbard has brought shame upon himself, our government and our State.
Now, his shameless pride is a further embarrassment to his adopted State. Alabama has given him all of her blessings of wealth, power and privilege, and he, in return, has consumed its goodness with reckless regard. Like a rapist, he has ripped and torn her. He has stolen her virtue. And, what is almost as equally disturbing, is that those who have the power to stop him continue to stand silently watching while he continues his assault, just in another form.
How can those who have been elected to represent the good people of our State turn their heads and do nothing.
Is moral character in such short supply that we do not have one man or one woman, Democrat or Republican, brave enough to stand in the well of the House Chamber and demand he step aside?
How is it that those who claim to dare defend our State’s rights lack the courage to defend its honor.
Just one member of the House could remove Hubbard. Yes, only one is needed to begin the process that would spur others into action. It would take time and it could be extremely uncomfortable, but those who prefer comfort over doing what is right are lost already.
One representative of the people can began the process and here is how it is accomplished:
Any member can rise during a legislative session and call for a reorganization of the House.
The chair must ask for a second, if no second comes forward the motion fails.
But what would happen if everyday, that same representative stood up and called for a reorganization of the House?
Perhaps soon, another member would stand and second the motion, and if that happened the chair would be compelled to either ask for a vote or end that day’s session.
Imagine, for a moment, the daily visual of one or two representatives standing bravely to call for a vote on a new Speaker. Soon, their courage would shame other House members into action.
And, if it did not, imagine the campaign ads that could be used in the next election against those, who time and again in their silence endorsed Hubbard.
Moral courage may rise slowly, but once set in motion, it is an unstoppable force.
As a child, my mother was fond of quoting this poem by an unknown writer:
One man awake awakens another.
The second awakens his next door neighbor.
And three awake can rouse the town,
and turn the whole place upside down.
And many awake can raise such a fuss,
that it finally awakens the rest of us.
One man up with dawn in his eyes – multiplies.
Many members of the House profess deeply held Christian beliefs, Ephesians 5, exhorts us saying, “Awake, thou that sleepeth, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.”
In the Book of Acts, Paul and Silas were wrongly imprisoned for standing for the truth, but God set them free.
If two like-minded legislators acting like Paul and Silas would stand up, the State House would be rocked as if by an “earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”
Prolific early Christian author Tertullian wrote, “Nature soaks every evil with either fear or shame.”
Hubbard grips the Speaker’s gavel out of fear. Far too many of those who sit in the House Chambers live in fear of him.
It is time to end this fear, and restore confidence that our State government is not a cesspool of corruption.
Not one bill that passes from the House is without suspicion as long as Hubbard remains in charge.
The defiant coward that now holds the Speaker’s gavel will leave in shame…
if just one person will stand.