Remember the Charlie Brown cartoon where good ol’ Charlie is perennially frustrated from kicking the football? Lucy places the ball and pulls it away at the last second, putting Charlie Brown on his back. Real funny.
Well, we have two examples right in front of us right now and we the voters are Charlie Brown. With a 90 percent positive poll in support of a lottery, we are once again being teased by the prospect of having that vote.
So what’s stopping us? The Lucys are the governor and the legislature. Either entity could put forth a special election; it would pass by a wide majority. Why do our “representatives” continue to block a state lottery? Clearly it is not a moral issue; the state of Alabama has legalized the purchase of tobacco, fireworks and alcohol. In fact, the state sells alcohol. Any of those three items are infinitely more hazardous than a lottery ticket and none of them have the potential of a financial upside for the buyer.
Clearly it is not about protecting the poor, as the state declined to expand Medicare, a program directed to the poor. The governor can call for a special election at any time and could easily stipulate that initial lottery income be used to offset the cost of the election. I’ll wager it’d be paid for in the first 24 hours of ticket sales.
Now the other side of public opinion — The Outlook reported 60-plus percent of respondents are against the city’s purchase of the former Russell Sales Office. And, yet, the city administration is confident the city council will approve the purchase. Feeling more like Charlie Brown?
I really urge our elected representatives to represent. Less than two generations ago, the Democrats occupied nearly every seat in the Alabama Legislature and the governor’s office; today Republicans fill those seats. Democrats of that day did not respond to the will of the voters and were voted out of office within a very few election cycles. Just sayin’.