As of this week, the state that was the very epitome of “The Deep South” stands not for bigotry or backwardness, but as a shining example of common sense and transformation.
A place where that renowned Lynyrd Skynyrd tune has been relegated from patriotic ‘redneck’ anthem to the annals of music history as the very fucking catchy song it is. And one that promotes unification no less, not division—as originally intended by the songwriters (none of whom were from Alabama).
And all thanks to a majority (albeit narrow) of Alabamians who this week rebuked a racist, evangelical, alleged-pedophile in favor of a man whose name you’re sure to forget, Doug Jones—their first Democratic senator in some three decades.
The much-maligned people, like the song, have been redeemed. Neil Young would be proud.
A Southern Man Don’t Need Trump Around Anyhow
Think about that for a second. This is the very same state that voted in droves for Donald Trump just 13 months ago. The very same state from where the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was born and contested. The very same state where white supremacists blew up the predominantly black 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, killing four little girls…
Today Alabama starts anew. Because some 55 years on, the citizens have elected a civil rights attorney: Doug Jones—the man responsible for convicting two of the terrorists behind that 1963 bombing. And the people did so in direct opposition to President Donald Trump, and his far-right puppeteer Steve Bannon. Shades of Oz indeed, where an egotistical and bigoted One Nation failed spectacularly in the recent QLD election, emerging with only one of an anticipated 11 seats. Queenslander!
Does your conscience bother you?
A collective sigh of relief from disenchanted Conservatives, Liberals and anyone with a conscience could be heard across the globe Tuesday—hopeful that an impending Civil War may yet be averted. Or, at the very least, stalled. It’s a sign the tide may finally be turning away from hate, race-baiting and vitriol, towards acknowledged mutual goals and a bipartisan government better able to achieve them. And for that reason, Alabama (and Queensland) have done more to progress the liberal pursuit of equal rights and opportunity in one night, than the Liberals have done for them ever!
Yes, Liberals (the ilk of Obama and Clinton, Hawke and Gough) have delivered policies that bettered the lives of Alabamians, the people of Middle America, and Australians alike. But they all too often come with judgement, verbal barbs and condemnation from liberal elite. Most who vote conservative are labelled rednecks, pig fuckers, yokels, westies, squinters, bogans, morons, deplorables, and even accused of incest (JNJ). So it’s little surprise the conservative-leaning citizens closed ranks. The Great American Dream was eluding them and there was little incentive to go blue (Democrats). Trump, however, promised them the dream. More importantly, he speaks their language and doesn’t condemn them.
Stop smelling your own farts
It’s extremely frustrating to see people vote against their own self-interest. But if more Trump and Pauline supporters are to rediscover their sense of decency, then so too should the Liberals revamp their base principles of modesty, compassion and empathy. A smug air of superiority, real or imagined, has been devastating to their cause, creating a dynamic that is counterproductive. And when have you ever known that dynamic to endear a person to another? It doesn’t work in a relationship, and it won’t work to mend a broken country—half stuck in the past, many in the present, and others in their asses (looking at you far left reactionaries).
We all did what we could do
If love is the way to combat hate when it comes to terrorism, then surely empathy and education are the best weapons to combat ignorance (yours, mine, theirs, everybody’s). Because ignorance isn’t always a choice. It’s informed by a level of education, geography, poverty, employment and opportunity—none of which are altogether choices, but often dictated by circumstance. As a society we live in two different eras—each until recently all but oblivious of the other, before the introduction of social media began serving as a time machine of intolerance. Off the back of voting decisions in Queensland and Alabama, it’s time to extend a hand and pull each other up, rather than keep pushing one another down—and towards the violence we’ve seen on US streets.
That fucking P word (pri*ilege)
Conservatives had just as little choice being born straight white men and women into highly religious families as blacks, gays and the transgender did being born into their respective circumstances. It’s certainly no excuse for intolerance, but it would be a mistake not to take it into consideration—as Bill Burr explains—when taking a bipartisan look at the ideological divide across the first world. Conservatives or liberals, NSW or Queensland, Pepsi or Coke; before all those things that divide us, we’re humans first.