By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
It’s funny to me who we shun in Alabama.
That thought crossed my mind Tuesday afternoon as I watched a bunch of the shunned hold a rally on the Capitol steps to speak out against Roy Moore — one of the biggest shunners on the planet.
The rally wasn’t hosted by your “normal Alabamians.”
There was lots of pink and purple hair. Jewelry was inserted into pretty much every spot on people’s heads except their ears. Collectively, there was probably more money spent on tattoos than I spent on my house.
These were the freaks, the geeks, the weirdos and outliers. They run clinics that provide abortions and pastor churches where gay wedding ceremonies are held (and where, relying on the teachings of this “Jesus” guy, all people are welcomed). The person leading the whole thing was a drag queen.
These were definitely not the postcard Alabamians.
But maybe they should be. We could use a new normal around here.
This was the third time in the last couple of weeks that I, along with a whole bunch of media folks from around the state and country, have stood on the capitol steps and listened to a group of people talk about Alabama’s U.S. Senate race.
Tuesday was the first time I’ve heard anyone speak with respect for those on the other side.
Oh, sure, the rally on Tuesday had its fair share of pointed remarks for Roy Moore and his followers. But not all condemnations are equal.
There’s a difference between condemning a person for simply existing and condemning someone for holding such an ignorant belief.
Tuesday’s group mostly had the latter. And rightfully so.
It must be a hell of a thing to watch a state stand on the verge of electing a man who has professed quite loudly his disdain for your very existence.
But even still, the group, led by Ambrosia Starling, the aforementioned drag queen, did not fire with a shotgun. Starling noted that there are “good Republicans” out there, but that they’re often “blocked by the bad Republicans.”
Despite a state that has consistently voted to deny LGBT people equal rights, and despite a U.S. Senate candidate who has built an entire public image on spewing hate at them, Starling and the group made it clear that they believed the Moore camp does not represent the majority of Alabama.
Their faith is impressive.
It was a wholly different tone than the one struck by the last two Moore gatherings at the Capitol. The first group, which featured Moore’s wife, Kayla, and other women, spent much of its time dropping insults on anyone who they found to be different in thought, sexuality or even dress.
The second group, a trifecta of hateful “spokesmen,” led by Dean Young, the most unlikeable man in Alabama poiltics, spent its time telling blatant lies about women who have accused Moore of sexual assault and rambling on and on about gays and transgender people “in the bathroom with your little girl.”
Because such hateful rhetoric keeps their candidate afloat.
When are we going to have enough of this? When are we going to figure out that these fears that self-serving politicians like Roy Moore play on are no more real than the boogeyman under your little girl’s bed?
It’s astonishing to me daily that in a country that has benefitted so greatly from the diversity that comes when equality is dispensed without religious, racial, nationality or language tests, that one of that country’s states could be continuously surprised to find that doing things the opposite never works out.
None of the things that the people of Alabama have fought so vehemently to stop — integration, interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigrant rights — have ever harmed us as much as our resistance to those things. In fact, not once has progress failed to help us as a state.
Tuesday’s rally was a stark reminder of that seemingly never-ending fight.
And of how Alabama sure could use a new normal.