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Opinion | Stupid is as stupid does

I hate new years. Not because it’s another year. That’s going to happen, regardless of what we might want. The calendar days end, and the new calendar days begin. We can’t stop it.

I hate new years because of the silly expectations. We expect the new year to encourage us to exercise more, or to encourage us that the diet we found will finally work, or to give us a new outlook on life, or to tell us our lives will somehow be better.

Every day, People, we can have a new outlook on life. We don’t need a new year. If you’re waiting for a new year to give you a new outlook on life, you’re blind to a new outlook on life.

In Alabama, we’re always waiting for that new outlook on life. Not just at a new year. At every day. And every day gives us our same outlook on life: depressing, bleak, what are we doing wrong, can we do anything right?

We do most everything wrong.

This is our state. When Gov. Kay Ivey delivers our “State of the State” address soon, it’ll be filled with possibilities. But make no mistake, those possibilities are nothing but, at best, wishes, and mostly lies. Yeah, bullshit. They won’t happen.

Because we are Alabama.

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Ivey, if she’s coherent, will talk about what we should do, what we can do, what we ought to do, but all of that is what we won’t do, because this is Alabama.

We won’t help the poor, those who are needing a government who will truly help them. We won’t realize we’re a state that fails to put resources into improving our infrastructure that is crumbling in front of us. We won’t say we’re going to improve health care, because that would mean investing in Medicaid. We won’t truly support education, because that means investment.

We won’t push back against the Trump Administration that considers Alabama nothing because all we do is bow down to Trump as some sort of narcissistic savior.

We’re mostly stupid. And we’ll continue to be stupid. And happy. Because we’re stupid.

Our people are good people. But they’re misdirected. They respond to the fear our politicians throw at them, and they think if I don’t vote for “her” or “him,” bad things will happen: An immigrant will kill me. A black man will assault me. A gay man will turn me gay. A Democrat will take my gun.

So for the next four years, we’re stuck with a Legislature that will do nothing, truly, to improve our lives. We have a governor who doesn’t really care because she isn’t really aware.

The New Year is a time of reflection and forward thinking. In Alabama, it’s a time of knowing we’re going to experience the same quality of life that we’ve experienced for however long we’ve lived here.

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Most of us don’t travel. We don’t know what happens in other states, or in Europe, or in Asia, or in Canada, where truly progressive ideas have traction. That leaves us stupid.

We’ve only known Alabama, so we don’t know anything else. And Alabama doesn’t know anything else.

So we’re happy that Kay Ivey is our governor. And that our Legislature is simply there to feed itself. We don’t know that our attorney general and secretary of state and all the constitutional officers are only there for the paycheck or the step upward, or that they’re are scamming us.

We don’t know any better. Mostly because we’re stupid. Not dumb, mind you. There is a difference.

We can learn. We can know. We have the ability. But we don’t use that ability. It’s scary. It might make us think, and that might make our lives a little harder. It might make us turn off Fox News. It might make us care. It might make us live. Live happy. Live productive. Live real lives. To us, for some reason, that is damn scary.

No, we’re not dumb, not at all.

We’re simply stupid.

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Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected].


Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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