Rooting for Alabama from North Dakota

Former U.S. Congressman from Boston and House Speaker, Tip O’Neil coined the truism, “All politics are local”. That fact of life is presently playing itself out in the state of Alabama. Alabama has a unique history. It is exhibit A as to the diversity of the American public. Alabama seceded from the United States of America in 1861. Its reason was that in Alabama it was legal to own other human beings of a different color. That was worth fighting and dying for. Many poor white people from Alabama fought in the civil war to defend the institution of slavery. They were apparently unaware that black slaves were working cheaper than white laborers, thus keeping wages lower for white people. That mental lapse in and of itself is fairly compelling evidence that white people may not be the master race. Judge for yourself.

After the northern army overran the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy was moved to Montgomery, Alabama. Although the slaves were freed by President Lincoln in 1863, it wasn’t until 1965, when Congress passed the voting rights act, that blacks were allowed to vote in Alabama. Needless to say, it has taken some time for that law to be fully implemented. Some would argue that it has not. In the 1960s, I remember Alabama Governor Wallace standing at the door at the University of Alabama to protest the admission of the first black students to be admitted there. I was in high school at the time. To this day there is an embarrassing disparity regarding the funding of primary and secondary education between white and black neighborhoods in Alabama. Many white kids in Alabama still attend private schools for obvious reasons. Sunday mornings in Alabama are still the most segregated hour in America. This was described as fact by Martin Luther King, Jr. King in the 1960s. It is still part of the southern culture.

I was a junior in college before the legendary University of Alabama football coach, Paul, “Bear” Bryant, was able to find a black student-athlete with adequate athletic ability to play for the Crimson Tide. In the 1960s, blacks in Alabama were murdered, beaten, clubbed, urinated upon, fire-hosed, firebombed, and bitten by police dogs for such heinous activities as exercising their right to vote after having waited patiently for a mere century. Blacks were also uppity enough to assume they could eat at the same lunch counters as white folk. To many younger Americans, this is all ancient history. Not to my generation. These shameful events are seared into our memories.

In 2017, there is an interesting election for the vacant U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. Many of the religious right in Alabama don’t believe in evolution. We will see in the upcoming Alabama senatorial election how many voters in Alabama have evolved. The people of Alabama have a right to vote for anyone they choose. John Lennon once wrote that “Woman is the n#$%%#r of the world”. In 2017, is estrogen the new black? There is a fine line between politics and anthropology. Alabama is part of America. We all want it to succeed. Are there enough good people in Alabama to push the state into the 21st century? Their football coaches finally got it and it’s working. Would they be nationally ranked if they were still all white? Roll Tide! This is your chance to be on the right side of history.

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Jim Maxson

Mr. Maxson is a retired Minot attorney, former ND State Senator representing Minot's 3rd District from 1986-1994, and former ND Democratic National Committeeman from 2000-2008. He speaks two languages, English and Metaphor, and is cursed by a long memory.

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