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Opinion | Tommy Tuberville should resign…but he won’t

Tuberville’s remarks were offensive at every level — worse because they disparaged so many of us he was elected to represent.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville speaking on the Senate floor.

Senator Tommy Tuberville was paid more than $5 million by Auburn University to not coach. After he quit.

And then, Auburn gave him a $250,000 salary for what appears to have been a relatively easy gig: special assistant to the university president. He told a sports reporter that he chatted occasionally with Auburn’s president. And that, apparently, was the job.

Oh, I almost forgot. On top of those stacks of cash, Tuberville gets a pension from his time at Auburn – $57,638 annually.

Quite a haul, earned on the backs of people that he stereotyped as criminals at a Trump rally on Saturday. Which makes Tuberville one hell of a crime boss.

Tuberville traveled all the way to Minden, Nevada – a 33-hour drive from the state he represents – to make perhaps his dumbest, most racist and profoundly hypocritical public statement since he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Let’s start with the dumb. “They want crime because they want to take over what you got’” Tuberville said. “They want to control what you have.”

“They” in this instance appears to be Democrats, though it also seems to overlap into blacks, based on the rest of his statement. Either way, it’s a dumb assertion.

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So, the Democratic Party wants crime? Let’s look at California, one of America’s most defiantly Democratic states. Media reports suggest that Democrats in Los Angeles and San Francisco are angry about rising crime rates in those cities, placing Democratic and progressive candidates in jeopardy.

But even outside of California, I’ve never met one Democrat who “wanted crime” – not as a victim or as a member of society. In fact, from what I can tell, all decent people want to live in crime-free neighborhoods where they can be safe. It’s not about political parties. It’s about common sense.

Speaking of which, one could surmise from Tuberville’s statement that he thinks criminals target their victims by political party. An astonishingly ignorant assertion. No foundation. No logic.

Wrong place, wrong time, any of us can become a crime victim. Political party has nothing to do with it. Another reason no sensible person cheers for criminals.

Next, the racist part. “They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. Bullshit! They are not owed that.”

Let’s connect the dots: reparations … people that do the crime. Which group of people do we associate with reparations?

It used to be the Japanese. And that’s because Japanese Americans who were forced into internment camps during World War II actually got reparations in the early 1990s, thanks to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. More than 82,000 people were given $20,000 each and a formal apology signed by President George H.W. Bush.

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They deserved every penny – and much, much more.

So, who are we talking about? The Indigenous People, also known as American Indians? No, but we should be. Their land was stolen from them. Their way of life decimated. We should be talking about them, but no. We’re not.

We’re talking about my people. Black people. We, who are the descendants of slaves. The survivors of Jim Crow. Convict leasing. Lynchings. KKK cross burnings and night rides. Sundown towns. We, who built this country as slaves – free labor – and have been cheated out of millions of opportunities to build wealth and get educated as a result.

And Tuberville had the unmitigated gall to trot out the false stereotype that we “do the crime.” So dumb, racist and factually wrong.

Department of Justice data says that of the 7,632,470 people who were arrested in 2020, 70 percent were white. Only 26 percent were black. Yet Tuberville said we “do the crime.”

Finally, the hypocritical part. Tuberville was a head coach in college football for at least 21 years. During that time, he amassed an estimated net worth of $20 million off the backs of many – probably mostly – young, black men. You know, the ones who “do the crime.”

Tuberville’s remarks were offensive at every level, made worse because they disparaged so many of us he was elected to represent. He needs to resign from the U.S. Senate today.

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Of course, he won’t. But he needs to — his representation of our state is beyond shameful.

David Person is a media personality and consultant who has been working in the Huntsville market since 1986 as a talk show host, columnist, and director/producer. David co-hosts the podcast Alabama Politics This Week.

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