By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
I write a lot about national and Alabama politics, and I’m aware I write from the progressive (liberal, if you will) viewpoint.
I came to my views over a span of a lifetime. I once was a conservative. I worked with Dave Treen when he ran for Congress, then governor, of Louisiana. I was on former Republican Gov. Guy Hunt’s campaign team on his first run for governor of Alabama in 1978.
Before I could vote, I even canvassed neighborhoods in my south Louisiana hometown of Houma for President Richard Nixon. I went door to door, asking people to vote for the Republican.
But over the years, my viewpoints have evolved, and they’ve admittedly evolved to the left.
I once was a supporter of the death penalty, but no longer. The state should not take away something it can’t make right, and once a person is executed, that’s it.
I once believed abortion abhorrent, and I still do. Yet, I believe such a decision is between a woman, her doctor, and her God.
I now believe that immigrants make our lives and country richer – and I mean both documented and undocumented immigrants. A person can’t be “illegal.”
I was once ambivalent about marriage equality and gay rights; now I’m a Safe Zone volunteer at my teaching job at UAB and a strong proponent of marriage equality and the rights of those in the LGBTQ community to have equal rights and respect.
I believe African-Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims are more often targeted for unfair treatment and profiling by frightened people who would give up their liberty for some sort of police state that might make them more safe but less free.
I never much thought about gun control, until the rash of mass shootings over the past two decades or more, and the kind of weapons available to anybody with a government photo ID. We need more strict gun control, not less of it.
Much of my personal transformation came through my renewed faith in the late 1980s. I’ve maintained that faith, a faith of grace, forgiveness, and the greatest commandment of all from Jesus Christ, my savior: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
And now I see where supposed people of faith somehow manage to support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. They certainly don’t have to support Democrat Hillary Clinton; I understand they believe her family corrupt, and they have been brainwashed by an entire industry dedicated to that smear campaign.
But listen to Trump’s own words. Trump is menacing; how any self-respecting woman can vote for him is a mystery to me. Oh, I know Clinton upsets many of them. But how in the world can they vote for Trump?
I spent a lot of time in locker rooms, during high school as a manager and statistician for our sports teams, then later, as a sports reporter for newspapers in Louisiana and Alabama. On both the amateur and professional level, I never heard the “locker room banter” Trump claimed he was making a decade ago when he talked about grabbing women’s genitals, except he used a much cruder word.
To his credit, Trump did apologize, when backed into a corner by his own words. But then on Sunday night, he was menacing to Clinton during their second debate. She was calm and collected.
Republicans have started scattering, some running away from Trump as fast as they can. They should.
In a most ironic move, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said he can’t support Trump now. This, from the man who had at least a verbal sexual relationship with one of his former top aides, which ended his 50-year marriage. While Bentley may not have used as crude language as Trump, his language was at least as junior-high locker room as it gets.
But good for Bentley. Even Trump is too gross for the Luv Guv. Other Alabama politicians, including U.S. Reps. Bradley Byrne and Martha Roby, have run away from Trump, who has to be the most inept, disgusting, disturbing presidential nominee of any party ever.
Finally, polls are starting to reflect that, too.
Still, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, said Trump’s language wasn’t so horrible, and he’s sticking with him. What else would we expect, since Sessions sold out to Trump long ago. About Trump saying he liked to kiss women and grab their genitals, our junior senator said: “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch. I don’t know what he meant.”
Trump meant what he said. Don’t give him a pass, like Alabama voters have given Sessions term after term after term.
Worst of all, Alabama Republican Party chair Terry Latham, a woman, gives Trump a pass as well. She hates Hillary Clinton – a woman like her – so much, she said: “We must protect America’s future with President Donald Trump. I am a woman who looks forward to the day a woman is president of our beloved nation, but not Hillary Clinton. Voting for a person to make a cultural statement rather than a policy statement is dangerous. Not this time, Mrs. Clinton. Never Hillary!”
Well, there’s hardly anything more disgusting than that.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]