Smart people reside in Alabama.
Curious, intelligent, open-minded, reasonable, rational people live within Alabama’s borders.
I know them. I’ve talked with them. There are a lot of them. Many of them kept Roy Moore from being our Senator and they work every day to make the state and the world a little better and a little brighter.
They launch rockets and build cars. They teach some of the nation’s best students and lead world-class college departments. They’re book smart and street smart and can hold their own with a New York Time’s crossword or a round of “Jeopardy!”.
We have nationally renowned artists and mathematicians and engineers and lawyers and doctors and innovators.
Our problem, however, is that we — in the words of the great philosopher Jeff Foxworthy — can’t manage to keep the most ignorant amongst us from popping up on TV.
And so it was Thursday, when a picture of Alabama Rep. Mo “Ron” Brooks popped up on my TV screen, grinning like he was the cat who just ate the canary, but we all know he probably just accidentally ate a sock or something.
I knew it wouldn’t be good news for Alabama, whatever the story that accompanied Brooks’ random appearance on national news. I assumed it was immigration-related — maybe Brooks had renewed his claims of the “war on white people” or was now reconsidering not shooting immigrants.
To my utter amazement, it was dumber than that.
The guy representing the Huntsville area of our state — the area we prop up as our “smart” section, where the engineers and progressives reside — said out loud during a hearing before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology that rocks falling into the ocean are contributing to sea level rise.
Brooks was, of course, refuting a comment from a scientist. Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, had the unfortunate responsibility of answering committee questions, and he had tried valiantly to explain in simple terms that the rising sea levels were caused by global warming.
To which Brooks interjected: “What about erosion?”
Brooks’ theory is that rocks and silt deposited into the world’s oceans by rivers, along with waves causing rocks to fall into the oceans, causes the water to be displaced and the sea floor to rise, and thus the rising sea levels are explained without the Koch Brothers and the oil barons having to pay a penny to regulate the poison they pump into the air.
It’s incredibly stupid, and something a child might think. But it’s a theory.
And in this age of all of us having to pretend that every ridiculous talking point dreamed up by conservatives to avoid accepting reality is a legitimate argument worthy of consideration, the Washington Post published research on Brooks’ “theory.” Turns out, the top five inches of all the soil in all of America would have to fall into the ocean to force it to rise at its current 3.3 millimeters annually.
And that’s to get one year of rising levels.
But you know what? I’m not even mad at Mo Brooks. Even if he’s only pretending to be this stupid to muddy the water. (Spoiler: He’s not.)
This is on Alabama voters. Again.
This is the guy representing you in Congress. Each time he’s on TV, the word “Alabama” is beside his name. He’s who people not from here think of when you tell them you’re from Alabama.
Like, when you go on vacation to that all-inclusive resort in Jamaica and you’re hanging out in the pool with cool people from other U.S. states and other countries, and they ask where you’re from, and you tell them you’re from Alabama. This guy — Mo freakin’ Brooks — is the guy they picture.
And that’s why you’re eating alone every night.
But it’s more than that.
This is also the guy that young entrepreneurs and business owners see. Which might explain why we have to pay people millions to relocate their businesses here.
He’s your first impression when you travel on business or welcome clients or try to land new vendors.
Call them crazy, but when Mo Brooks was elected as your representative, people took that to mean that he was representative of you, and the people of Alabama.
Well, Mo Brooks and the rest of this bunch of backwoods, discriminatory, willfully ignorant, guns-over-people politicians that we’ve put into office don’t represent me. And they don’t represent most of the people I know in this state.
It’s time we do something about that.