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Opinion | Let’s at least elect our own idiot

If we’re going to elect an idiot as our U.S. senator, let’s at least elect an idiot from Alabama.


One fact that even Republicans and Democrats can agree on is that Alabama ranks nearly last in most every national quality-of-life indicator.

We’re always hearing how bad our schools rank, and many of them do.

Our prisons verge on the inhumane, if they don’t officially qualify.

Our mental health system is far from even minimally adequate.

If Alabama were a parent, it would be arrested for child abuse, considering how poorly protected the state’s abused and neglected children are.

Alabama is a poor state, true, but we spend millions of dollars fighting in the federal courts for laws that discriminate against immigrants and transgender children, and against those who condemn our crappy prisons.

We do little to protect our environment to even ensure that the fish we pull from our rivers aren’t contaminated with some deadly toxin. We allow animal abusers to practically operate unfettered. Our abortion law is such a joke, it will never come before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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You won’t see any of these issues being taken up by those running for office who have enough money to advertise. They care only about an immigration problem Alabama doesn’t have or bothering teachers with what they can discuss in classrooms. They continue the Big Lie, arguing that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump (in fact, the election wasn’t even close; Trump lost in a landslide).

Apparently Alabama is so bad, across the board, that Alabama voters don’t even want to elect U.S. senators from Alabama anymore.

Voters elected Republican Tommy Tuberville, a mediocre football coach who lives (lived?) in Florida over U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a lifelong Alabama resident with a sterling resume as a consensus builder and crusader against racism and the crimes racism causes. Tuberville has shown himself to be dimwitted, at best, with little understanding of the Senate or the House or pretty much anything concerning the U.S. government. He mostly showed the same as a football coach.

Now, voters may elect Mike Durant as the senator to replace the long-serving (too long-serving?) Sen. Richard Shelby.

I rarely find my thinking much in line with Alabama Political Reporter columnist Steve Flowers. Indeed, I’ve written columns in the past that directly challenge Flowers’ thinking. But our differences are exactly why I’m on APR, and why Flowers is, too. I come from the left, and Flowers comes from the right.

Offering a variety of views in our opinion section is one of the goals of APR.

I must admit, however, that Flowers’ column from last week drilled through my thick skull.

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Flowers pointed out that Durant, who has owned a business in Huntsville, is only an Alabamian in the largest stretch of the word. If Durant were undocumented, he would have been shipped back to wherever he comes from.

In his column, Flowers said while Durant says Huntsville is his home, “nobody seems to know him” there or in the rest of the state. Supposedly, Flowers writes, Durant lives in Maryland. He has an expensive home in Colorado.

“Durant makes no pretense about the fact that he will not personally campaign in Alabama or even do interviews,” Flowers writes. “You can bet your bottom dollar that wherever you live in Alabama, Durant has not been to your town or city and probably could not even tell you where it is located. You can rest assured that he does not know the difference between the Wiregrass and Sand Mountain.”

Yet, Durant is running head-to-head against Katie Britt, who was born in Enterprise, went to the University of Alabama, and most recently was top boss at the Business Council of Alabama. You don’t get much more Alabamian or Republican than that.

Too, Durant has a terrible stain on his character: He turned his back on his sister, who was sexually abused by their father for more than a decade. Their father admitted to the abuse; but Durant took his father’s side, not his sister’s.

It’s an awful mistake in judgment, one he shouldn’t be able to politically survive.

I’m not crazy about Britt – she’s fallen into the trap of bashing immigrants, “believing” the Big Lie, picking on transgender kids, and joining our collective idiocy in elections – but she is from Alabama, at least.

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Durant? He couldn’t win a Senate race in Maryland, Colorado, or his home state of New Hampshire. But he believes he can pick off Alabama, because he believes our voters are stupid.

Considering who we’ve elected up to now, that last assumption may not be completely off the mark. We should elect those who can best help our state, not just based on a party membership. That has yet to sink in with Alabama voters, despite our place as last, or nearly so, in most everything that counts.

But if we’re going to elect an idiot as our U.S. senator, let’s at least elect an idiot from Alabama.


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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