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Opinion | Lessons in corruption, Black history, and freedom of expression

Allegations of political corruption can afflict any politician, regardless of party.

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I don’t live in Fairfield, the small city in western Jefferson County. But if I did, it’s possible I might have voted for Fred “Coach” Plump in the last election. I say that because he ran as a Democrat, and I generally vote for Democrats.

But if I had, it would have been a wasted vote. Plump officially resigned from the Legislature this week. 

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Plump with conspiring to defraud the Jefferson County Community Service Fund. Between 2019 and 2023, the DOJ alleges that he accepted $400,000 in funds that had been directed to the Piper Davis Youth Baseball League by another legislator. 

Plump was the executive director of the league. He is also believed to have paid out kickbacks and submitted false information to hide his actions. 

Plump’s political career is over. Looks like he’s headed to prison. Not even the decades he worked with Birmingham Fire and Rescue and served in the Army National Guard will save him. 

It’s a good lesson for Democrats. Allegations of political corruption can afflict any politician, regardless of party. Democrats, Republicans, it doesn’t matter. Neither party is immune. 


Conservative activists think that some Alabama textbooks have too much black history in them. That’s what was reported recently by several state and national media outlets.

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These activists also complained about what they considered to be LGBTQ+ content in some of the books. To its credit, the Alabama State Board of Education didn’t yield. Its members approved the books by a 7-1 vote.

I haven’t seen the books. But I also believe I don’t need to see them.

Because children should be exposed to a variety of ideas and concepts. That’s how they learn that everyone doesn’t think the same way. See the world the same way. Live the same. 

We can be different – in what we believe, how we worship, how we vote, who we love – and still live together in peace in this state.

But let me go back to this “too much black history” foolishness. How is that even possible?

As James Baldwin wrote in his final book, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, “History is a hymn to white people, and all us others have been discovered – by white people, who may or may not (they suppose) permit us to enter history.”

The first slaves arrived on this continent in 1619. Black people didn’t even get the unfettered right to vote until 1965. That’s 346 years of white history, presented from a white supremacist perspective.

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With those numbers, how could anyone honestly think that any current textbook has too much black history? Anyone other than a white supremacist in deep denial, that is.


“God made women to be women and men to be men!”

That was her reply to my Facebook post, which was a photo of comedienne Wanda Sykes with this quote from her latest Netflix special, I’m An Entertainer: “Until a drag queen walks into a school and beats eight kids to death with a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, I think you’re focusing on the wrong (expletive deleted).”

Her lack of context and logic was stunning. The poor lady skipped over the references to school shootings and book banning to spew out a half-baked Evangelical talking point.

Apparently, she was completely unaware that God also made intersex people. (Or, if you prefer, God allows their existence.) Either way, it places her at about the same level of awareness as the Alabama Legislature, which is moving the idiotic “What Is A Woman” bill to passage. 

I was compelled to respond: “God also gave people freedom of choice. So if a man wants to put on a dress, God gave him the freedom to do so. And that freedom is not a threat to anyone, unlike the freedom some have exercised to kill others in cold blood or to ban books that document historical truths. So let’s not allow right-wing hysteria to blind us to the real dangers our society faces.”

She has yet to reply.

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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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