By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
At present, the State faces a decades-old crisis of fiscal insolvency, i.e., we lack the funds to properly address the obligations of governing.
The current crisis is a product of our elected leaders’ unwillingness to face unpleasant realities with clear-eyed determination, to honestly state the challenges, and then make the hard choices.
Too often, our political class, which includes bureaucrats, lobbyists, consultants, and elected officials have sacrificed the good of the many for the good-living of a few, and at almost every turn, our elected leaders have avoided any solution that might demand real political courage.
If the reality of politics can be distilled into one short sentence, that phrase would be, “Who gets what.” If politics is really about who gets what, then it is obvious that, for many politicos, their constituents are not their first priority.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Herein lies the greatest problem facing our State: we lack leaders with the moral and intellectual grounding to do what is right.
Alabama’s most powerful constitutional office is held by a man whose soul has been laid bare in a series of emails, and it is ugly. Yet, he still sits in the Speaker’s chair determining the future of our State.
Mike Hubbard is a clear example of what is wrong with our State, and why we languish at, or near the bottom in every positive metric of social and economic prosperity.
Hubbard believes he is a good man, therefore, his actions, no matter how malevolent or self-serving, are justified. Like thousands before him, he has come to believe that his election to public office has given him special insight, and therefore when he acts, it is right. For years Hubbard has imposed his will on others, even forcing them to do things that they knew were not right. This type of power corrupts the soul and what began as a moral weakness becomes a disease that infects the whole body politic. Hubbard can no longer distinguish between what is morally right and what is personally expedient.
This has been so often the case in Alabama politics, that people now believe it is the norm.
During the 2015 legislative session, a freshman legislator said to me, “I thought it would be different. I thought I could make a difference. But, it is all about the money.” My reply was simple, “It doesn’t have to be.”
But, until we have leaders who place what is morally right over what is political expedient, we will never experience true freedom or prosperity, and our State will never know greatness.
Many of our leaders immodestly brag about their Christian values, yet, one has to wonder, if they have ever read the Bible, much less taken its teachings to heart. Do they understand that Jesus chased the money changers from the temple, that he called out the leaders of his day for their hypocrisy, greed and evil. He challenged them publicly saying, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
Throughout the Old and New testament, the men and woman who believed God, did not bend to the political winds. No, they bent the times to God’s will. Has faith become as thin as Onionskin paper, or so malleable as to allow us to ignore the evil that is in front of us, for a better seat at a feast of corruption?
Say it isn’t so.
I do believe we have good men and women serving in State government, but they, like many before them, have become afraid to act or too comfortable to change.
We have leaders who will rebel in matters on which there is wide political agreement, like abortion, same sex marriage, or gun rights, but how many will stand-up against high-powered lobbyists, or the prevailing business interests?
Where is the man or woman who will stand on the steps of the State House and demand that Hubbard stand down? Where is the individual who will state clearly, that the problems we face are due to moral failings. Who will say that far too many of our people are poor, sick, and ignorant, because they have been abandoned. Most in our State are not looking for a handout, but they could use a leg-up in terms of better education, a sound economy, and available healthcare.
We live in a State with abundant, natural resources, inhabited by many good, honest people, who have no representation in the halls of government because the State House has become a whorehouse of corruption under the leadership of Mike Hubbard.
Alabama’s future could be bright, if moral leaders will step forward.
What lies behind us, and what lies before us, will be determined by what lies within us.