When I was a kid growing up in this state, every now and again, we’d get a surprise snow day – those days when you’d wake up, look outside and there was a glorious blanket of white covering everything.
You’d run to the TV, flip it on and wait on the agonizingly slow-moving scroll at the bottom to list your school system under the “School Closings” banner. And a day that was going to be filled with stupid learning was instead filled with snowball fights and dragging each other on an inner tube behind a four-wheeler.
Kids today – with their two-days-before announced school closings – have no idea how much added joy is brought by the unexpected day off. It was so great.
But you know what was terrible?
Those days when your school system just barely missed out on the snow. The town 20 minutes away got four inches of snow and your town got the dreaded “dusting.”
While those kids in Florence were playing snow football and watching “The Price Is Right,” there you were in dumb ol’ Decatur sitting in a 55-degree classroom diagramming sentences.
If you’re wondering if there’s a point to this trip down Gen X memory lane, it’s this: that disappointment of being in the no-snow town is similar to what I’ve felt for the last five days, as election results from across the country rolled in.
And in race after race after race, the racist, election-denying, Trump-loving crazies suffered major upset after major upset, as voters around the country rejected them.
But not here.
Not in Alabama.
Nope. Here, we’re bundled near the same ol’ heater, gazing longingly out at the four inches of sanity in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Hell, even our fellow southern brethren in Georgia got a wintry mix.
In Alabama, we will have four years of an election-denier, in Wes Allen, running our elections. We’ll have four more years of Steve Marshall, who helped fund the election protests that led to the insurrection, as attorney general. And as far as I know, we won’t have a single elected Republican who has spoken out against Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election.
At a time when the Democratic Party is in great shape nationally, in Alabama, it’s probably at its worst point. Ever.
Not only are Republicans holding every statewide office, they have unthreatened supermajorities in both houses. And the Alabama Democratic Party leaders are, as usual, fighting amongst themselves.
Three of the party’s best candidates – Mallory Hagan, Marilyn Lands and Kim Caudle Lewis – all were defeated fairly easily in Huntsville-area races that were supposed to be more competitive. A three-term incumbent Democratic House member lost to a guy who didn’t have a campaign website and who didn’t start fundraising until October.
It’s bad. Very bad.
But what makes it so much worse is that right now should be the easiest time in decades for Democratic candidates.
Everything the party stands for is popular among voters. Including Alabama voters.
Women’s health care rights, workers’ rights, unions, Medicaid expansion, marijuana legalization, student debt forgiveness – the Democrats have winning messages on all fronts.
But what’s lacking in Alabama is a bullhorn and an organizer.
No one knows the party has a winning message if no one is yelling the message. And the ADP ain’t yellin’.
Well, I take that back. There’s plenty of yelling, actually. It’s just directed at each other.
New ADP Chairman Randy Kelley blasted vice-chair Tabitha Isner last week for sending out unauthorized correspondence to members of the executive committee. Isner said she was just doing her job and that Kelley couldn’t tell her to speak to. And back and forth it went.
Somewhere lost in all of that, no one mentioned that we’re in a state where rape victims are forced to carry their rape pregnancies to term. Or that we somehow found money to build mega-prisons but can’t find the cash to make sure 300,000 Alabamians have adequate health coverage. Or that unions in this state are growing every day because working class Alabamians have figured out that their wages are artificially depressed.
There are a lot – A LOT – of disenchanted Alabama voters out there. A lot of working class people who believe they’re getting the shaft (because they absolutely are). A lot of people who think their daily lives haven’t been made better by attacking transgender kids or railing against CRT.
A lot of people who are so tired of it all that they’re not even voting.
Alabama’s turnout for this election cycle was 38 percent. That’s right, nearly two-thirds of eligible voters sat at home because, eh, who cares.
In this season of despair, that is a silver lining. A ray of hope. A sign that there’s a way off this sunken boat that is the Alabama Democratic Party. There are hundreds of thousands of life rafts just waiting for a call, for a message they can believe in.
So, get it together, ADP.
Because we know what one-party rule looks like in this state. It’s all we’ve ever had, and we’ve been at the bottom of every good list and at the top of every bad list since the beginning of time with that one-party rule.
It sure would be nice to try it a different way. And maybe, for once, get to experience what those kids in those other towns are enjoying.