By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—There is plenty of anger for not passing legislation to allow the people an opportunity to vote on a statewide lottery, but where is the outrage over not finding a solution to Medicaid?
There may yet be a solution to funding Medicaid and passing a bill on the lottery, but we need a leader who will rise up to bring all of the players to the table before it’s too late. All of the anger, finger pointing, greed and turf wars must be laid aside. Or, maybe, our lawmakers are satisfied to just run out the clock?
The unborn child, a mother working for a small check at Wal-Mart, or the many elderly in nursing homes who don’t even know there is anything to be angry about, or who to turn to for help. These are our most vulnerable citizens and they can’t walk the halls of the State House or confront our feckless Governor.
The three days left on the legislative calendar may be just long enough to find an answer to our State’s Medicaid shortfall, but 259, 200 seconds is an eternity to those in need or without hope. When darkness gathers, minutes become monsters, and the tick, tick, tick of each passing second echoes loudly through silent despair.
Is there a lack of human kindness among these madding, so-called leaders of our State? Will they let all hope for a compromise fade because of fragile egos? In Montgomery, lawmakers wiggle around tough issues like a pole dancer ignoring loose change, while eying a $100 bill on the edge of a fat man’s table.
So, where are we at? “Behind,” as the English teacher’s say.
Governor Robert Bentley blames lawmakers for his failed lottery bill saying, “They looked those children in the eye today, those that voted against it, and they said, ‘I am not going to do anything to fund your health insurance.”’
Bentley’s tired old schtick of saying “I love the people of Alabama, and they love me,” is no longer true, if it ever was at all. His moral failings aside, Bentley is not and never will be a leader.
The Governor blames the Senate, the Senate blames the House, and the House must blame someone, but, the truth is, the people of Alabama blame them all.
However, Bentley casting blame on legislators, lobbyists or gamblers for his disastrous plan, is like accusing an embalmer of murder. Yes, a phalanx of shadow warriors fermented division which doomed Bentley’s bill, but its ultimate demise lays at his feet, not theirs. It’s sad that those who need Medicaid the most don’t know who holds their fate in their hands.
And those who want a lottery, well, it looks like you are on your own, for now.
The hapless occupant of the State Capitol is without a clue, lawmakers are without a spine, and those who depend on Medicaid to keep them whole are out of luck. So, we wait for time or the justice system to deliver us from this petty incompetence.
There is an infantry of men and women who are fighting to save Medicaid and the lottery, but where are the Generals? Perhaps the anger, outrage and need to provide care for the aged and young will summon a champion to lead. But for now, all we have is finger-pointing and more blame.
There is occasion when the Fates are our friends, but this day, they are horribly fickle.