Alabama has always been at the bottom of the barrel. Last in education spending. Last in infrastructure spending. First however in STDs, obesity and out of wedlock births. WooHoo!. The only thing good you could say if you were from Alabama is that at least you weren’t from Mississippi!
What about Politics? Well all you needed to know is that we had George CORELY Wallace. Surely you remember him?? He stood in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama to prevent a black student from enrolling. His slogan was “Segregation yesterday, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.” He also ran for President of the United States a couple of times. Eventually he was shot and paralyzed in an attempted assassination. Alabama politics has come a long way since George hasn’t it? Hasn’t it? Well…..
See, I was a political junky from an early age. Maybe it was being 5 years old when President Kennedy was shot. Maybe it was having working parents leave me at home in the summer of 1972 where I was transfixed in front of the TV set watching the Watergate hearings. Those hearings hooked me on politics for life. But before them, there was one event burned into my memory about politics in Alabama.
In 1968, I was watching TV when a political reporter in Montgomery introduced a State Representative who was introducing one bill or another. I don’t recall the topic. What I do recall was that the reporter said that this Representative was from Walker County. My father was from Walker County, Alabama and my grandparents still lived there. They might know him!
About that time, my father walked in. I said “Daddy, this Legislator on TV is from Walker County.” My father looked from around the paper bag of groceries he was carrying at the TV set. He said “yes buddy he is. And he is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg”. I was startled! My father was smart and as direct as the day was long. This legislator was a crook if my father said he was. All the civics and government I had studied went out the door right then, and I would be cynical and suspicious about politicians thereafter.
That was the height of the Wallace years. Those years seemed to never end. After George served his first term and hit his Constitutionally mandated term limit he had his wife Lurleen run for Governor where he could keep running the state through her. Lurleen died of cancer, however, and Albert Brewer became Governor. After changes were made to the Alabama Constitution, George ran again and beat Brewer. He served for a total of four terms not including the time his wife was a puppet governor.
Alabama politics would be different after George wouldn’t they.? Well, let’s see. 1993. Governor Guy Hunt is convicted of misusing campaign funds. Hunt was a former preacher. 2006. Governor Don Sieglemann was convicted of corruption. What’s happening now in the great state of Alabama? Let’s see.
The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives goes on trial for corruption in a couple of weeks. The Governor is being impeached because he was having an affair with his chief advisor (who was being paid over $400,000 per year and no one knows where the money was coming from). Governor Bentley’s trial will be presided over by the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who has already been removed from the Court once for putting a monument to the 10 Commandments in the Court rotunda. Chief Justice Roy Moore is currently fighting a second removal proceeding; this time for instructing Alabama Courts to ignore federal court orders on gay marriage. What a state. National politics are so much more civil aren’t they? Aren’t they? Let’s see….
I mean our national system would never tolerate all this meanness and corruption. Would it? Well where George Wallace wanted to stand in the school house door to keep blacks out, “The Donald” wants to stand on Ellis Island throwing any Muslims trying to enter the good old USA into the Atlantic. He also wants to March 11 million Mexicans into the Rio Grande in a 21st Century Trail of Tears (yea, marching the Native Americans to the wilderness out west is part of Alabama history too). Then he wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico and make the Mexican’s pay for it. George Corley Wallace never thought of that. Dammit!
Well, that’s just the Republicans. The Democrat has to be better. Really? Hillary? Corruption just seems to follow her around, bless her heart! Remember that movie “Stripes”? Remember when Bill Murray was joining the Army and the Sergeant asked him if he had ever been convicted of a felony? Murray said, “convicted?….Mmmmmmm…….No.” Well, that’s our Hillary!
Whitewater? Never proven or at least not charged or convicted! Insider trading with agriculture futures? Not proven. Hubby Bill was impeached, but not convicted. I’m not sure if George Wallace kept an intern under his desk or used his cheap cigars for immoral purposes (forgot about that hadn’t you? Don’t worry, Trump hasn’t) but current Governor Bentley has come pretty close based on the released tape conversations of his affair. Benghazi? Nope. Emails? Not yet! Panamagate? Still to come. No convictions, but a lot of “leaving the scene of the accidents” on Hillary’s part.
So to the rest of my fellow Americans, I say, “welcome to politics Alabama style”! Thanks for catching up with how we’ve been doing politics in Alabama for the last three score years or so! Just think about how far we haven’t come in that time! Bless your hearts! Ya’ll come back now! Ya hear?