I grew up in Alabama. Spend any amount of time with me after a few drinks and you’ll never doubt it twice. I moved from Alabama to Chicago in 2007, then Chicago to LA in 2010, and ever since moving, when I say, “Alabama” after I’m askd where I’m from they all have the same response:
Over the last couple weeks the spotlight has been turned to my home state’s Senate race, specifically one key figure: Roy Moore.
Roy Moore is the type of scum that is used as an example of the extreme right that liberal minded people like to trot out and show what the other side is like. Know why? Cause he’s the perfect example of it: Racist, misogynistic, hates any and all parts of the rainbow, and uses Jesus to justify it.
As you’ve no doubt seen there are those that support him. Won’t leave his side, even when he was twice removed as a judge. These people blindly, and to an absurd degree, follow him like he’s the pied piper of the Passion. The lengths to which they have gone to defend him don’t just leave you confused, they leave you wondering if you’re even sure you’re awake. Surely they know how his actions betray the word of the book they pledge their blindest devotion to. Surely you must be having a nightmare. You aren’t. Those people exist. They exist in a system they’ve helped master manipulators like Moore prefer to keep broken.
In a state ranked 44th in the country in education, some with power often prey on ignorance, often under the façade of faith. They vilify higher education that inevitably keeps people trapped in a prison of ignorance and in a voting pattern that lets men like Roy Moore retain their power. This beating heart of misinformation creates further chaos in that it oppresses women, while making their oppression seem like their choice. It allows for systemic and cultural racism to thrive. It has done nothing but hurt my home state. It’s the extreme that has plagued Alabama for generations and it’s why people offer their sympathy when I tell them where I’m from.
….but that extreme is not the state.
While his supporters have not helped show otherwise there are good people in Alabama. Some of the most inspiring people I know are from Alabama. Teachers that believe in what it truly means to be an educator. They are fueled by the idea that you never stop learning. I’ve seen teachers that would march right up to the School Board, risking their jobs to fight something they felt wasn’t fair for all, not some. Fuck the stereotype, some of the most brilliant minds are from Alabama. People that are working daily to open up the possibilities of science through medicine and technology, both on earth and in space. There are parents there that treat every kid the same and welcome them into their home regardless of who they are. They are people that believe that “Southern Hospitality” means something but is only real if it applies to everyone, not just those who look and think like them. I’m not just saying that because it sounds nice, I’m saying it because I’ve seen it. I’ve met those people. They are the people that make going home worth it.
I understand my experience back home has its foundation within privilege. I understand that because of the color of my skin, and my gender I have been afforded the opportunity of a better life experience in a state as deeply divided throughout its history as Alabama. But in growing up in Alabama Jewish and gay, I have seen, first hand, the ugly of the other side. I’ve seen the darkness and how it lives to spread through generations that keep this cycle going but I’ve seen the good that exists to break it.
I want Doug Jones (Editor’s Note: Considering the dramatic effect this one seat could have on the balance of the Senate, WERRRK.com made a contribution to Doug Jones’ campaign this morning. If you would like to do the same, you can do so here) to win for a great many reasons, even before Roy Moore was his opponent. Now, however, I want him to win for another important reason, I want the people of Alabama to truly show that they aren’t what people outside the state believe them to be. To show that they know the difference between right and wrong, that they know who is good and who isn’t. I hope that by Roy Moore losing, a part of the darkness that he, and those of like mind, tries to permeate throughout the state will lose with him.
This election isn’t a done deal. Roy Moore, despite everything, can still win but when the election comes and goes, one of those two will win. If Jones wins then Alabama defies its critics and shows the decency that exists within its borders. If Moore wins then it’ll be viewed as a sad, yet predictable outcome that shows there is more work yet to do.
…but the work for a better tomorrow, regardless of outcome, will keep going.
We can’t ignore the bad but I can ask you to believe in the good that does exist in the people of Alabama. They are the ones that will always try and make it a better place because the way that darkness spreads through generations, so does good. I ask people outside of the state to not ignore the good to spite the bad. Your support from afar will go farther than you’ll ever know. Good will always work harder than evil because it knows a better future is not as easy to build but it is much more worth it in the end.