Back in the dim, dark past there was a cartoon about a character named Popeye. As I seem to recall, he was a sailor man. At any rate, his perennial nemesis was a huge brute named Bluto and these two seemed to fight ALL the time. For the most part, Bluto knocked the snot out of Popeye. But after taking blow after blow Popeye got sick and tired of being used as a human punching bag. At that moment he'd say to himself, "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!". Then he'd pull out his trusty can of spinach, find SOME way to open it, chow it down with great gusto, and thereby become this human dynamo who would then dispatch Bluto with great alacrity. Last night, Alabama had a Popeye moment!
Alabama hasn't exactly been blessed with enlightened political leadership over the years. OK, I know. How ironic for someone from Illinois to cast aspersions at the quality of Alabama's government. But it seems to me that the difference between the two states is that with corrupt Illinois politicians, the issue was greed. For Alabama the focal point has always been race.
At any rate, Alabama has elected any number of race-baiting, hate-mongering politicians over the years which has earned it a deserved reputation for less than sterling political leadership. But last night the people of Alabama showed the world that they had had their fill, that they had taken all they could stand and they wouldn't take it any more. A "Popeye" moment!! They rose up in righteous indignation and rejected a politician who couldn't pass even THEIR political sniff test.
The Doug Jones/Roy Moore contest was remarkably free of content. There wasn't much discussion about public policy or political ideology. I don't know if Roy Moore even mentioned Doug Jones' name. Certainly Alabamians didn't hear much about Obamacare, tax cuts or our policy toward North Korea. No, this time the focal point of THIS election was character, or lack thereof. And Alabama proved that even in the "Heart of Dixie", they would go so far but no further!
Hopefully this will start a trend. I have always believed that the single most important attribute for a political candidate is character. We Americans tend to go back and forth on issues. One day we're all FOR tax cuts, the next day we're against them. One day we're rabidly pro-war hawks and the next day we turn into anti-war doves. Twenty or so years ago several of our states were passing amendments to their state constitutions making gay marriage illegal, today it's the law of the land. Perhaps we should trade the bald eagle as our political symbol for the flip-flop!
But the single constant in any political campaign is character. When the people of Alabama put Roy Moore's character under a microscope and closely examined it, they found it lacking and they rejected it out of hand. If only the residents of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania had done the same thing in last year's Presidential election. If they had we wouldn't be saddled with a Trump in the White House. The point is that when a bad person has to choose between good and evil, evil has this tendency to win like ninety-six percent of the time. The BEST thing about the Doug Jones victory last night is that it represented a victory for what political pundit Steve Schmidt calls "the coalition of the decent". Hopefully we'll continue to see many more such victories in our political future!!
Filed under: Politics