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Opinion | The real threats to Alabama’s children

Alabama’s children are under attack and face real, serious threats.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville
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Tommy Tuberville, Dale Strong, Gary Palmer, Robert Aderholt and Mack Butler have publicly asked to have a more comprehensive vetting process for youth pastors at Alabama churches. 

No, wait. 

There have been more than 30 instances in the past year alone of church-affiliated men sexually abusing Alabama children. But there was no public condemnation from any elected leaders, not even when it was reported that a mega-church in this state had implemented an entire “rehab” program to counsel serial sex abusers. Not a peep.

The safety of the children didn’t matter much. 

Tuberville, Strong, Palmer, Aderholt and Butler instead have called for more stringent gun laws, closing loopholes and implementing red flag laws. 

Oh, wait, no. 

While guns are the no. 1 killer of Alabama children, there has been no public outcry from our elected Republicans asking for more stringent laws. In fact, when children were murdered in their classrooms in Nashville, Florida and Connecticut, our elected conservatives vowed to fight any “gun control” measures. 

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The safety of the children didn’t matter much. 

Tuberville, Strong, Palmer, Aderholt and Butler have called for an expansion of healthcare availability in Alabama’s impoverished rural communities, where each year dozens of children die and are stricken with lifelong illnesses because they lack the means to get basic care. 

Actually, wait, that’s also inaccurate. 

In fact, these Republicans have steadfastly fought against any expansion of healthcare availability in the state, in particular the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. Not because such expansion hasn’t proven to be lifesaving in other states, but because resisting the healthcare bearing the name of the nation’s first Black president has proven to be far more politically advantageous for them than helping poor children. 

Because when it’s a choice between children’s safety and votes, the children don’t matter much. 

Tuberville, Strong, Palmer, Aderholt and Butler have drafted legislation that would expand sex education in the state, including providing teens with contraceptives and teaching them the proper usage. Such lessons have proven to drastically reduce the teen birth rates and rates of sexually transmitted diseases in states all around the country. 

Wait. Nope. That’s wrong too. 

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Instead, Alabama’s Republican leadership is considering legislation that would basically ask kids to pray away their pregnancies. An abstinence-only sex ed bill would essentially criminalize the teaching of how to use contraceptives and would forbid schools from explaining options for treating disease or obtaining a morning-after pill. 

Combine that with Alabama’s draconian abortion laws, which would force a pre-teen to carry an incest child to term, with utter disregard for what such a pregnancy would do to the mental state and physical wellbeing of that 12-year-old mom. 

Because … to hell with them kids, I guess. 

No, the only public statements provided by any of these men in regards to the wellbeing of Alabama children have not come in response to any of the real crises facing this state’s children. They haven’t uttered a sentence in response to the top killers of our children or to combat the actual sexual deviants who most routinely threaten them or to address the health care issues that most often negatively impact their lives. 

Instead, their only comments have been about a boogeyman fairytale conjured up in the bowels of a rightwing thinktank, where miserable humans spend hours every day trying to conjure up the next comfortable white people fever nightmare. This one involved an innocent transgender woman working at Space Camp. 

Not because she had done a thing in the world wrong. Even the original complaint, which appeared on Facebook from a guy with a much more troubled past than the targeted Space Camp counselor, alleged only that a transgender person exists at Space Camp. 

That’s it. 

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That was enough for Tuberville, Strong, Palmer, Aderholt and Butler to spring into action. To trash a law-abiding citizen. To call for an employee to be fired simply because that employee didn’t fit with what these guys – who are all currently proud members of a cult that recently attempted to overthrow the U.S. government – would deem “normal.” 

These are the people you have elected to serve at the highest levels of federal and state government. Men who have so little skill and intelligence that they must rely upon fear mongering through the denigration of society’s most at-risk communities. 

Which means not only are they failing miserably at actually protecting the children of this state from the people and things that do them harm and kill them, they are actually contributing to that harm, threatening real harm to a vulnerable, innocent person – a citizen that they have sworn an oath to protect and serve. 

A citizen that is far less of a threat to Alabama’s children than Tuberville, Strong, Palmer, Aderholt and Butler.

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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