Saturday, May 07, 2016

The GOP and the Alabamafication of America

Likely soon to be removed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

As noted before, I once lived in Alabama many years ago - George Wallace, who I once met - was still governor at the time - and in the years since I moved away, first to Texas and then back to Virginia where my family had settled, things have gone steadily downhill on the political front in Alabama.  Not coincidental, in my view, the decline in Alabama has directly correlated to the rise in the power of the Christofascists and Republican Party in that state.  Now, an editorial at looks at how the Republican Party and its demented "conservative Christian" base are poised to take the nation down a similar road if they are not stopped.  Here are op-ed highlights:
Dear America,
Here's where Alabama currently stands: Our governor is under investigation. Our House speaker is under indictment. Our chief justice is suspended from duty and awaiting trial, again. We're one of the poorest states in the country, living off the federal dole, and we sit at or near the bottom of most empirical rankings of quality of life. Our leadership is non-existent and our government is on the brink of collapse.
But don't think for a minute that you're better than us. Donald Trump is the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, and you put him there. You're closer to Alabama than you care to think. 
Maybe you still think this Trump thing is a joke. I am here to assure you it is not.Perhaps you think voters cannot be so politically masochistic. You are wrong.
Don't hope for a minute that those behind the scenes — you know, the Establishment — can fix this game. It is beyond their control.  The Worst Case Scenario is not a possibility. It is a probability.
I have seen it. The saying "stuck on stupid" does not begin to explain our predicament. This is more like doing a handstand in a tar pit.
And this Thing that has corrupted my state, robbed us of common sense, poisoned our decency, and made us loathe our neighbors — it is contagious and you are at risk. Call it the Alabamafication of America.
Let me share with you what it has done to us.  Six years ago we elected Robert Bentley governor because most voters were under the impression that, despite lacking other qualifications for the job, he might be a good man. He was so gracious that he promised not to draw a paycheck unless Alabamians reached virtual full employment. Also, he had once been Bear Bryant's dermatologist.  Since then he has abandoned all sense — and his wife of 50 years.
There were lots of warning signs, first of which was, on inauguration day, he told a congregation in Montgomery that if you aren't Christian you couldn't be his spiritual brother or sister. During six years in office, that piety did not prevent him from groping a senior political advisor and later talking dirty to her on the phone while his soon-to-be-ex-wife recorded the conversation.
Before Bentley, there was Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who stormed the Alabama Statehouse, deposing more than a century of Democratic control there. He pushed through what was, at the time, toughest-in-the-nation ethics laws and, according to prosecutors, broke them.  Not only is he accused of breaking the laws he passed, but since then he has argued in court that the laws he passed don't apply to him because the laws he passed are unconstitutional.
On Friday, the Judicial Inquiry Commission charged [Alabama Chief Justice Roy] Moore with abusing his authority by directing Alabama probate judges to disregard the United States Supreme Court's decision that same-sex marriage is a right under the Constitution. That action means Moore is suspended from the bench and will face a trial before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary and possible removal from office.  For the second time. . . . Moore doesn't only believe God's coming back, but he thinks until then, the Almighty given him power of attorney over his affairs.  
The saddest thing is, this state has so much potential. In person — one-on-one — our people are decent and selfless. We make great music. We cook good food. We tell funny jokes. We love our children and would sacrifice everything for their futures.
But growing up in Alabama is like growing up in a broken home. We expect better of others instead of demanding better of ourselves. Rather than holding our elected officials to higher standards, we lower our expectations. We can't get over our insecurities, and we're suckers for anyone who comes along saying we're better than somebody else.
Maybe you think Alabama is a joke. I'm here to assure it's not.  If you're not careful, America, this could happen to you.

Alabama truly did not use to be this dysfunctional and corrupt.  The decline of the state directly tracts the increased influence of the godly folk and the GOP's willingness to pander to them and engage in shameless self-prostitution to them.  Now, it is happening nationwide.

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