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A letter to Steve Marshall: You’re still wrong about why Alabama could lose a congressional seat

Dear Steve, 

It’s not the brown people. It’s the dumb people. 

The latter is Alabama’s real problem when it comes to the issue of people who reside within this state’s borders. And no matter how many times you, and a few others, attempt to place the blame for Alabama losing a congressional seat on undocumented immigrants in other states, it’s simply not true. 

This has been explained to you multiple times now. But for some reason, you continue to blow this racist dog whistle, using offensive terms to describe immigrants and ranting like the average Fox News viewer at the latest phony travesty thrust upon the God-fearing white people of Alabama. 

Your op-ed, which APR has printed in full today, is a disgrace. Both to common decency and common sense. 

And it is yet another attempt to absolve Alabama’s conservative lawmakers from their decades of awful governance by blaming a new minority group for the state’s troubles. 

While, yes, it is true that Alabama will likely lose a congressional seat, it is not true that the counting of all people within this country’s borders — including all non-citizens — is the cause for this. 

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Counting every person is how a census works. It’s how the census has always worked. Because the smart men and women we used to elect to run this country understood that ultimately the government and our society as a whole will serve every person, citizen or not, and so all of them should be counted. 

This approach has been challenged a few times. It has withstood all of them. 

In Alabama’s case, though, it never should have been brought up. Because non-citizens being counted in the U.S. census isn’t the cause of Alabama losing congressional representation. 

Alabama’s dumb governance is. 

Every expert who has ever been asked about Alabama losing a congressional seat places the blame on the exact same thing: Alabama’s population increase hasn’t kept pace with its death rate. 

We have one of the highest death rates in the U.S.

That’s quite possibly due to the fact that we have one of the worst health care system in the industrialized world, which has led to a state filled with morbidly obese individuals and an infant mortality rate that ranks just behind Romania. 

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We have a severe deficiency of doctors and hospitals, and recent studies have found nurses fleeing the state as well. We have failed repeatedly to teach proper health courses in schools, which has led to absurdly high rates of sexually transmitted diseases. And we have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, because a black president came up with the idea and we’d literally rather die first. 

Tough to blame Hispanic people for any of that. 

Likewise, it’s also tough to blame Hispanic people, all other immigrants and regular U.S. citizens for not wanting to move to Alabama. 

We have one of the lowest migration rates as well, because no one wants to move Alabama. Again, that’s not something we can blame on any immigrant, but something we absolutely can blame on the yahoos at the State House who have, for decades now, made the name “Alabama” synonymous with racism, ignorance and bigotry. 

Start with Jim Crow, travel through integration, through Roy Moore’s homophobia and the anti-immigrant legislation and the pro-Confederate legislation and the multiple attacks on women, and, well, there are oddly few people clamoring to move to this place. 

These are the reasons, combined with near daily embarrassing national headlines, that have left Alabama on the verge of losing a congressional seat. 

But instead of considering those truths, and possibly examining how our actions have literally led to people not wanting to live here, here you are offering the same out that we seemingly always take. 

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Blaming the minority.

It’s wrong, it’s offensive, and we should expect better from Alabama’s attorney general.

 

Josh Moon
Written By

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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