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Opinion | A conversation about Alabama values

A conversation about what Alabama values with its actions.

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“I saw where the attorney general of Alabama said the other day that ‘Alabama has done it, and now, so can you. And we stand ready to assist you in implementing this method in your states.’ And I must say that I thought it was wonderful news to hear that Alabama has finally found a way to clean up its dreadful prison system.”

“No. That’s not it.” 

“Maybe then a system to streamline incarcerated people’s complaints and allegations, so we can better address violence and unsafe conditions in Alabama’s prisons, thus making them safer and more constitutionally compliant. That’s long overd….”

“Nah.”

“Ah, well, of course – it must be the ongoing illegal acts committed by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles then. Those folks aren’t even following their own laws that they asked to be passed. It’s about time they fixed that me….”

“No.”

“Weird. So then he’s clearly talking about the child labor taking place at manufacturing facilities all over the state then. Whew. And here I thought this guy was turning a blind eye to this because it didn’t fit with the usual GOP talking poi….” 

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“No. They’re actually in favor of child labor in the GOP. Keep up.”

“Sorry, forgot. It’s hard to keep up with whether we’re protecting the kids from the dangers of woke Disney this week or putting them on the assembly line. But if that’s not it, I guess it has to be the rivers and lakes, right? Ol’ Steve Marshall has finally figured out a way to go after the polluters and make it where we can once again eat a fish caught in the Tennessee River. I knew he’d get arou….” 

“No.”

“OK then. Those seem like good, noble issues for us to tackle. Maybe he was talking about Alabama turning around our education system by finally coming up with a way to address the inherently racist funding system that we’ve used since 1901, which has led to perpetually one of the worst-performing public school systems in the country. I remember when Jeff Sessions stuck his nose into an effort to change that system and ensure predominantly Black schools got equal funding. Good to see an Alabama AG finally have the courage to knock down this relic of the Jim Crow era of Alab….”

“Not even close.”

“Well is he at least talking about a plan to address the school-to-prison pipeline that has shown the over-disciplining of minority children in schools often leads to a greater likelihood that those kids wind up in prison? Alabama has a real problem in that area, as several studies have shown and fixing it would be a trul….”

“Hahaha. No.”

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“Is it at least illegal gambling? Is he at least talking about a way to finally properly regulate and govern the illegal, back-of-the-gas station gambling in this state that’s propping up organized crime all over the country? Because that would at least be something worthwhile to ….”

“Nope.”

“He’s figured out a more effective way to crack down on public corruption and self-dealing lawmak…?”

“Negative.”

“He’s figured out a new way to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the opioid epidemic, which continues to crush Alabama and other poor sta….”

“Wrong again.”

“He’s come up with a new way to crack down on the AI scams that are bilking good people out of ….”

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“No.”

“A crack down on illegal guns? Maybe a way to protect cops from those permitless carry laws that the state passed?”

“Nope.”

“A new way to protect seniors from online scams?”

“Pfft.”

“How about just a way to stop the calls about my car’s extended warranty?”

“No. It’s none of those. You’re not close. The guy’s talking about Alabama coming up with a revolutionary way to kill a human being. His entire press conference was to celebrate the fact that we successfully – if you count 20-plus minutes of struggling for breath before dying as a success – smothered a guy to death.”

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“That’s what he wants to help other states with?”

“Yes, because from our high maternal mortality rates to our embarrassing infant mortality rates to the off-the-charts gun death rates to our 300-plus-deaths-per-year prisons to high rates of death to a lack of access to health care to our low life expectancy rates, if there’s one thing Alabama knows, it’s death. Now we’re going to start exporting it.” 

“That’s messed up.” 

“Only if you lack basic human compassion.”

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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