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Opinion | An optimistic pessimist?

This is the season where we should self-evaluate, then look toward what we can do to make the world – and our world specifically – more accommodating, more filled with grace, more forgiving, more kind.

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My wife will laugh me out of the room, but I’m an optimist. I like to think stuff is going to turn out OK.

As we transition from post-Thanksgiving into the true holiday season this year, I want to look forward with hope. Where politics is concerned, that’s a big ask.

We – this country – are in a mess. For some reason, Democrats are, once again, failing at selling their programs. We see this every time Democrats control the Congress. They generally propose and pass good measures, and Republicans immediately turn those into negatives because they are experts in spewing propaganda.

Generally, Republicans don’t care a whit about helping ordinary Americans. They, as a party, are focused only on winning. If that takes a lot of lying, so be it. Winning is more important that the truth.

That’s what we’re looking at as the Holiday Season settles in.

How are we supposed to have confidence that every eligible voter will get a shot at letting their preferences be heard and officially logged when our Secretary of State John Merrill is meeting with former president Donald Trump to discuss election integrity.

The last person who cares anything about election integrity is Trump. To him, unless the election laws allow only people who are going to vote for him cast ballots, there is no election integrity.

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Merrill knows this, yet he still worships before the paper throne of Trump, because that what he believes he needs voters to see if he’s going to get re-elected. Like other Republicans, Merrill is doing all he can to suppress the vote in Alabama. If you are a minority, or poor, or need help even getting to the polls, Merrill and his clan are out for you.

Oh, Merrill will likely whine being called out – he nearly always does – but he can’t just act like he’s not doing Trump’s bidding when he goes to Trump to discuss “election integrity” with a man whose idea is that if he loses an election, there must have been voter fraud.

Merrill’s very visit with Trump undercuts any argument he might make about “election integrity.”

That’s leaving me pessimistic that Alabama voter hurdle laws have a chance to be reformed.

Why, in late 2021, we are still arguing over a woman’s rights to body autonomy is another reason for pessimism. And we all know that the fight against abortion isn’t about life. Most pro-life people favor the death penalty. Many believe it’s OK for a teenager to travel to a city in another state to “defend himself” with a military-style weapon and kill other people.

They are not pro-life. They are only pro-birth.

Yet, a majority of promise-breakers on the U.S. Supreme Court are prepared to prohibit women from making a personal decision for their own health and well-being because they are caught up in a political decision.

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Nothing to be optimistic about there.

The anti-vaxxers are still at it, allowing the variations of the coronavirus to run free to morph into something more contagious and, perhaps, more deadly.

The deaths from the virus still are mainly coming from the community that shuns vaccines and masks. So now we have a new variant of the virus that is spreading quickly.

I want to be optimistic. I feel more like just surrendering.

This is the season where we should self-evaluate, then look toward what we can do to make the world – and our world specifically – more accommodating, more filled with grace, more forgiving, more kind.

There are far too many of us who don’t want to do this. They’re not going to be the boss of you, whether it’s any business of theirs or not.

So, I search for my optimism. I search hard for it. In the final weeks of 2021, it’s going to be a difficult challenge.

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Are you optimistic? What about?

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

Written By

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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