I live in Alabama. I was born in this state, and have lived somewhere in Alabama for all but about 9 1/2 years of my life. There are many things I love about my home state. We aren’t all married to first cousins, and there are many intelligent, interesting, gentle, loving people in this state. But lately, I’m experiencing deep sorrow.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised much by recent developments. After all, I am old enough to remember George Wallace blocking the door at the University of Alabama; I even have vague memories of Bull Connor and his dogs and fire hoses. So, why be surprised at the actions of the Alabama Legislature now? Maybe I’m not so much surprised as disappointed and saddened.
It’s not just this stupid, malicious immigration law that was passed recently. It’s not just the idiocy of the death penalty. True, it is embarrassing to make a new friend in a different state, and then to tell them it would be a bad plan if they came to visit because it’s a really bad time to have skin other than pasty white in this state right now. Really doesn’t matter if you are legal or undocumented if you look like you might not have the proper ethnic background. I read about those who have decided it is too dangerous to stay here. I wonder about my own church community which is probably close to 50% latino. I worry about the children who will be ripped out of schools — and for those they will leave behind.
If that weren’t enough concern, the legislature decided to change the rules for things like health insurance for teachers who retire after December 1. There are many stories in the news about the loss of personnel from school systems that will result from this. I know people who have suddenly decided to get out now… and “now” means in the middle of the school year. To finish the school year as a teacher or administrator or lunch room manager means losing ground. The timing is insanity for teachers, principals and students.
My snarky, dark side sits back and thinks: Well, maybe we won’t need the teachers, etc because there will be fewer students. Could be.
The sad part is that those who think these laws and changes are good, are probably not going to see the effects first hand. As best I can figure, politicians and legislators inhabit a different universe from the one I live in. They will find a way to blame the innocent and the victims for the problems they themselves have created and fostered.
I cry for Alabama. I fear Alabama will get what she deserves.