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Opinion | Stop acting like the Alabama Supreme Court ruling was a shock

Alabama has a long history of doing the worst. It continues to happen because Alabama citizens allow it.

The Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building in Montgomery.
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Here we are again, Alabama, the national cautionary tale. 

Once again, the state is the center of national attention for its twisting of laws to achieve a preferred outcome. This one, of course, involves declaring frozen embryos to be children. But this isn’t our first time down this pathway. Far from it. 

Alabama set the bar for twisted Supreme Court opinions and court decisions and legislative acts that have disenfranchised, demeaned, scared and vilified any number of minorities over the years. Hell, we’ve somehow managed to hold onto a state constitution, and guiding language, that recognizes white supremacy. 

So, this is our wheelhouse. 

Sure, it would be nice if just every decade or so, we took a questionable law and used a court decision or legislative act to do something good. Feed some kids. Clothe some poor people. Give health care to the needy. Readjust the way school funding is doled out to ensure impoverished kids get the most benefits. 

But no, it’s never that. Ever. 

It’s always this shhh…tuff. It’s always using court creativity, or just blatant disregard for the basic tenets of the constitution, and molding it into the absolute worst possible thing. And, of course, using the Bible – but never, ever the red parts – to justify it all. 

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What’s possibly worse, though, than this rinse-and-repeat embarrassment is the typical response from people all around the state. This phony shock and phony outrage and phony excuse that there’s just nothing we can do about it all. 

These politicians, amirite?

It’s BS. 

You’re the problem. You. The voting age citizens of this state. You’re the cause of this. 

Every one of you who has ever walked into a voting booth and cast a straight-ticket ballot, particularly a Republican one. Every one of you who has sat home on election day. Every one of you who has, with pride and a smile, expressed glee at not knowing “anything about politics.” Every one of you who can recite the intricate (and fake) details of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal but has never attended (or watched online) a school board meeting, a city council meeting, a county commission meeting or ever read a piece of legislation. 

Every one of you who knows the name of the final play of last year’s Iron Bowl but not the names of any person who represents you in state or city government. 

You. Are. The. Problem.

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None of the people who did any of the embarrassing things I mentioned got into the position to do those things by virtue of their bloodlines or by royal mandate or by divine intervention. They were elected. By voters. 

In many cases, they were elected by a tiny, tiny fraction of registered voters. A few years ago, a state representative in a district serving more than 40,000 people was elected to office in a special election by about 3,500 people. I’d bet good money that more people in that district voted for the MLB All-Stars that season. 

In the last election cycle in 2022, less than 40 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. More than 60 percent of you sat at home. Couldn’t be bothered to spend 20 minutes or so (in the majority of cases) to travel to a local polling place (or request an absentee ballot) and vote for people who shared your interests and beliefs. 

Maybe even worse, some 60 percent of the people who did cast a ballot simply checked the straight-ticket option at the top and walked out. Many of them had no idea who they were voting for or what views those people held. 

Well, guess what? At least eight of those people you blindly voted for don’t give a damn about the constitution and religious freedom. One of them – the CHIEF JUSTICE – has never hid his ridiculously religious approach to legal decisions. At his swearing in ceremony, he said, “The very God of Holy Scriptures, the Creator, is the source of law, life, and liberty.” And then almost immediately spoke at an event hosted by a radical Christian group, where he railed against abortion and homosexuality – calling both sins.

Another justice had a campaign ad with a little girl saying a prayer. Another had an entire church choir singing behind him. Another filmed an ad on the church steps. 

This is what you voted for. Or didn’t vote to stop. Or didn’t care enough to even know who was even running. 

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But now, when you or your friend’s IVF treatments are threatened, you want to know how this could happen? How could we be so stupid? Why didn’t someone stop this? What can we do? 

You can vote. You can care. You can pay attention. 

Look, I’m not telling you to vote for one political party or one ideology. I’m telling you to figure out the issues that matter to you, to research candidates and vote for the ones that best align with your opinions and beliefs. 

But most importantly, be involved. 

I think we all see now the consequences of not.

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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