The Alabama Senate last week narrowly passed a new lottery bill for the state that is being referred to as a “clean” bill that defines the lottery without all the extraneous issues that has held it back in the past. It’s now on track to the Alabama House where speaker Mac McCutcheon says they are ready. McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, speaks of the bill as though he expects it to pass. If the bill does pass the House it would go before the people for statewide approval in March of 2020.
The last time Alabama had a lottery bill before the people was back in 1999 when I opposed the lottery as what some referred to as a “degenerative tax.” The bill was defeated. Well, I rarely flip on issues but, this one is a no brainer. Since that time I have become increasingly aware of affinity cult extremism in Alabama. We all knew about Roy Moore, but I figured he was a South Alabama anomaly that when finally busted wouldn’t rear his ugly head again. But, he did.
More over, the hypocritical religious zealots that follow Roy Moore came out of the woodwork over gay marriage and their ranks have grown even in Huntsville and North Alabama which is usually considered to be more progressive. I count myself as a moderate conservative and I have had my own misgivings in regard to gay marriage, in part because I assumed there would be a backlash – and in fact, there was. Nevertheless, I have always supported the basic rights of LGBTQ.
Invoking the name of Roy Moore in the debate is important because it is important to remember that Doug Jones didn’t win the US Senate seat he now occupies – Roy Moore lost. And then it’s important to understand why Roy Moore lost. He didn’t loose because the hypocritical religious zealots had diminished faith or numbers, he lost because he caught the wrath of the “me too” crowd while they were on the crest of their euphoric wave. In other words, some of the “me too” crowd are actually conservative females that would otherwise support the extremism of Roy Moore.
Alabama, by the way, is one helluva conundrum because now that same conservative lobby is successfully driving some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. They already know the pro-life bills are dead on arrival because they are automatically unconstitutional under the current architecture of Row V. Wade. The new laws are being pushed when no one is paying much attention and many don’t really believe and can’t remember a time when abortion was illegal. With the currently conservative Supreme Court which is likely to stay that way for as long as forty years, it is actually very probable that Roe V. Wade will loose it’s weight if not be overturned completely, thereby returning the issue to the states and allowing Alabama state laws – making abortion a felony – to kick in. I also note, that my pro-life stance isn’t based on religious anything and in fact lots of people, and increasingly liberals, are coming to the same conclusion.
And so, the conservative coalition in Alabama is alive and well in part because of the extremism, even if Roy Moore, and Jeff Sessions for that matter, have been deposed. What does all that have to do with my support for the lottery at this time? The fact is “Alabama the Backwards” has been held back for far too long by the extremism that is essentially a left over vestige of the Old South. Maybe the lottery is a “degenerative tax” but, if the state moves forward by loosening the shackles that are what actually cause the economic and cultural disparity in the first place, better economic times will almost surely be enough to pay that tax and still have some left in the balance to improve the overall quality of work, life and culture in this state.
If the lottery comes with it’s own set of evils, it’s a trade off for the better and we’ve had enough of the extremist cure-worse-than-the-disease in the first damn place. And make no mistake, the state of Alabama is politically embattled and if a state lottery can also help to break the clutches of the hypocritical cult extremism that has left the state frozen in it’s own draconian past – the sooner the better.
© 2019 – Jim Casey
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