I keep referencing this quote from Mark Twain: “Politicians are like diapers and should be changed just as frequently.” And at times I feel like I’m simply using a new stick to beat the same dead horse ad nauseum to no effect. In this case the dead horse is the Alabama Legislature and the stick is my advising voters to start listening to what they stand for and less how often they kneel and their church attendance.
That’s great; you’ve got to believe in something or you will fall for anything. However, there comes a time when the pious lip service actually begins to turn Alabama into a detrimental state. Case in point a recent article posted first by Alabama Political Reporter then opined upon by al.com referencing a billion-dollar payoff the state received to help combat lost resources while fighting COVID-19.
According to the article, the state was given $1.8 billion to better prepare Alabama in case another (read much worse) wave of the ’Rona comes knocking. The Republican-led legislature apparently put together a wish list — heavy on their wishes and light on actual prevention.
I guess they were working with the mindset of an ounce of prevention leads to a pound of cure. I think that’s the saying, or maybe I just made it up.
Now don’t read this and think I’m using this as another opportunity to bash the Baptists; I’m not. I’m bashing those who — when given an actual opportunity to benefit the state — chose to benefit themselves instead. In each of the campaign ads, a majority of the politicians walking the halls in Montgomery (now there are some I actually respect, don’t get me wrong) touted their tithing over their actual stances on issues.
Broadband access to the economically depressed (read Black Belt) communities and urban areas would benefit the state by providing education opportunities and the chance for those areas to interact with physicians using Teledoc or telemedicines technologies. This is a benefit for the state.
A new statehouse benefits only those in power. I’ve walked the halls and I know the problems they are citing such as abysmal cell service and cramped quarters which have become especially prevalent and realized during the battle with the coronavirus and terrible audio/video resources. Those are problems that need to be addressed and can be addressed at any time.
Hey, you know what would provide ample income to build a statehouse and no one had to die because of it: A state lottery, a deal with the Poarch Creeks, legalizing marijuana sales within the state.
Turn the least dangerous of the drugs into a cash crop. Treat it like tobacco.
I digress. There are issues facing this state, serious issues this money could be used to better benefit: Healthcare for the underserved and LGBTQ communities within the state, mental health resources or the fallout for businesses that have been shut as a result of this pandemic and the governor’s stay-your-butt-home order.
There’s also a prison problem. But that’s a can we just kick on down the road.
The legislature is good at that. That’s not a fair statement because we have some young blood in there which has inherited that line of thinking. Hopefully as we near the elections later this summer and fall, the voters of the state will actually look — really look — at the people they are voting for and not just mark them because they have an ‘R’ next to their name and used church attendance as a selling point in their commercials.
Politicians are like diapers and should be changed just as often. Remember that when career politician No. 43 holds a fish fry or a barbecue and assumes you are going to vote for them.
It’s that simple.
Griffin Pritchard is a regular correspondent and columnist for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.