REWRITING ALABAMA HISTORY
Harvey Jackson, head of the history department at Jacksonville State University, is torn between wanting to be right in his new book on the history of Alabama politics–in which he explains why nothing much ever changes–and hoping the state is about to enter a new, progressive era.
What if the people of Alabama actually approve that son-of-a-gun? That sure will make me look silly.
Why, some folks will ask, couldn’t I see it coming? Why didn’t I see that a man with no meaningful experience in state government, a man with a reputation for fiscal conservatism that made supporters of the status quo salivate and reformers shudder–BOB RILEY–would come in, recognize the problems facing the state, and propose to solve them in a way that turned Montgomery-business-as-usual upside down?
Why didn’t I see that?
Why didn’t I see that Bob Riley, the Big Mule’s poster boy, would convince some of the biggest that his plan was as good for them as it was good for Alabama, and in the process split the Big Mule coalition into just about everybody on one side and Alfa, the Forestry Association, and one big bank CEO on the other?
And why didn’t I see that Riley would motivate ministers to motivate their flocks to support his plan because Jesus would support it if Jesus was registered to vote in Alabama (wonder what ID he would bring to the polls)?
Why didn’t I see all this was coming and wait to end the book after it did?
Well, if this happens and Amendment One passes, my only excuse will be–“Who’d a thought it?”
And then I’ll call Alabama Press to begin talking about a sequel. Because if the Riley plan passes, folks like me had better get ready to write a whole new history of Alabama.
And I’ll look forward to that.
Unfortunately, as Kris reports, passage of the massive tax reform amendment now appears doomed. A similar opportunity was lost a few years ago when a lottery to fund education was defeated. This measure appears to have more upside and lacks the religious baggage, but the potential losers have a lot of money to invest and inertia is on their side.