By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
The next US Senator from Alabama is probably going to be either Luther Strange, the current (appointed) seat holder, Roy Moore, or Rep. Mo Brooks.
I wish that were not the case. But I’ve seen the polling numbers. This is the reality.
Voters in this State will go to the polls and vote for either a guy who sold them out and shirked his sworn duty in order to be appointed to the seat, or a guy who has grandstanded his way to being booted from the Alabama Supreme Court twice, or a guy who deserves to be named Mo from Alabama.
Because Alabama voters are masochists.
Oh, don’t deny it. You know it’s true.
The only reason any person who possesses the sense required to drive a car to a polling place and fill out a ballot would vote for any of the three men listed above, is if that person requires pain, embarrassment, and shame to keep them going.
Don’t think so?
OK, quick, tell me the plans these men have for the economy, our local environment, or fixing our ailing schools.
What’s their plan for making our waterways – which are so polluted you can’t eat fish from most of them and can’t swim in some – clean again?
What’s their plan for making sure Alabama’s awful job market – which, surprisingly, hasn’t flourished from 50 years of selling out Alabama workers and killing worker protections – somehow climbs from thank-God-for-Mississippi ranking?
What’s their plan for improving state schools – which have somehow failed to respond positively to a 116 years of racist funding and Jim Crow policies – and giving kids a shot in life?
Those seem to be important issues, but from the three aforementioned candidates, the responses are fluff, incoherent fluff, and irrelevant fluff.
Need an example?
Over the weekend, The Decatur Daily quoted Strange and Moore bemoaning the Federal government forcing Alabama to properly educate special needs children while cutting the Federal Medicaid funding the State uses to pay for those programs.
The outrage was evident – not that there wasn’t enough money to pay for these important programs, but that the Federal government was forcing Alabama to educate those special needs kids and then not sending us money for doing so.
Strange said it “defies logic.” Moore called it tyranny.
And that’s why Alabama voters are masochists.
Because despite this clear-as-day example of awfulness, the voters of this State will likely elect one of these people. And then, 10 years from now, they’ll sit in a coffee shop – probably a Russian coffee shop, at the rate we’re going – and complain about the do-nothing, fix-nothing, care-about-nothing politicians.
They’ll be outraged by the corruption – like an AG accepting an appointment from a Governor he was investigating, or a Chief Justice being kicked off the bench for improperly ordering other judges to ignore a US Supreme – and they’ll pretend that they never saw it coming, that there wasn’t a warning.
But deep down, they know the truth was staring them in their faces all along.
Oh, sure, they could easily pick another candidate – one with a vision that includes plans to actually benefit people like them, progressive plans that prepare the citizens and workers for the future.
And, yes, they could pick someone who stands on a platform of helping the poorest, hardest working Alabama citizens, instead of a platform that seeks to aid the millionaires and billionaires in the hopes that they’ll let some pocket change fall down to the rest of us.
There are candidates like that in this race.
But Alabama voters won’t pick them.
They can’t. Because they need the feigned shock of seeing another elected official fail to keep his promises. They need the faux anger that they can spew out on talk radio and in conversations with friends.
And so, we’ll carry on, as we have the last few decades: as a National laughingstock. A State that no one takes seriously, that few choose to move to, that young people bolt from at their first opportunity.
We could right the ship in a single election by refusing to fall for religious pandering, by demanding debates and focus on meaningful issues, by refusing to tolerate cruelty and uncaring, by voting for solutions and candidates that help you and people like you.
But the voters here won’t do it.
Because they need the pain.