By Senator Gerald Dial
Thanksgiving is that time of the year we set aside to give thanks to God for all that we enjoy. In reality, we should give thanks every day, for we are truly blessed. Yes, we have room for improvement here in Alabama, but we are so fortunate compared to others around the world, and I encourage you to stop and give thanks for what you have this holiday season.
As I reflect on Alabama’s political scene, one issue that disturbs me is the lack of compassion exhibited by many members of the present Alabama Legislature. It is very troubling to me and should be to every concerned Alabamian. A representative, democratic body that demonstrates a lack of compassion for children, the poor, and the less fortunate will create a very unhealthy atmosphere for all of us over time.
What has happened to the concept that we all are Alabamians and that the political process should work for all of us? Why do some politicians thrive on the creation of division, rather than working to create unity among the citizens of Alabama?
I am reminded of Deuteronomy 15:11: “there will always be a poor people in the land; therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brother and toward the poor and needy in your land”.
We as a state rise and fall together and we should avoid policies that create divisions between rural and urban parts of Alabama, or among the affluent and the poor. How can some elected officials serve and represent people while demonstrating a total lack of compassion for all the citizens within the state? To do so is both deceitful and dishonest to themselves and their constituents.
The idea of starving the government isn’t compassionate or conservative and is better translated as starve the people who need specific services. This reckless approach to government will, over time, result in irreparable harm and ultimately, loss of lives in our state if the elderly and poor continue to have essential services cut or if more rural hospitals are shuttered.
I challenge elected officials who serve with a lack of compassion for their fellow citizens: you need to get a conscience or leave office – either willfully, or in an electoral defeat by educated voters. Our state and the welfare of the people of Alabama are too important to have you destroy our foundation.
Senator Gerald Dial represents District 13 in the Alabama Senate, which includes all or parts of Randolph, Lee, Cleburne, Clay, Cherokee, and Chambers counties. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. Gerald and his wife Faye reside in Lineville.