By James Rhodes –
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Before President Trump departed to Mar-a-Largo for Thanksgiving recess, he took time to criticize Doug Jones as being “terrible” regarding national issues of defense, immigration, taxes and somehow his election would prevent “making America great again.”
When specifically asked which was worse: Alabama voters electing an alleged child molester or liberal that has a long well established track record as being a champion of human and civil rights, Trump was clear in his assessment that Jones would not support a “Trump agenda” and that a “liberal Democrat would be bad for America.”
Meanwhile in Montgomery, the Moore campaign held a press conference in which it was proclaimed Moore was “the candidate of God” and that the “devil and demons were actively working against him.”
“The faithful” were reminded Jones favored “abortion on demand up and until delivery date” (not true) and that he “was a liberal bad for Alabama.” The translation of this for non-residents is that this is a reminder to the conservative base that Jones acknowledges the rights of all Alabama residents, including those of color and those not from here, which somehow is a direct contradiction to the alleged will of God.
For the past weeks I have been following the national news coverage of what is happening here in Alabama. Although most coverage is credible, confusion and ambiguity exist because “outsiders” just “don’t get it.” Perhaps some do, but they are not reporting it as the truth really is stranger than fiction. To report that reality opens the door to be challenged and discredited.
There are factors in play here that override all aspects of reality, our relationship to others, and the selection of our elected officials. I am “qualified” to make these observations as they directly reflect my own personal experience. The vast majority of my relatives were born in Alabama and have remained here most of their lives. Without exception, they support Roy Moore and Donald Trump, yet are outraged at the Clintons, Al Franken, and the Harvey Weinstein’s of the world. Mo Brooks and Kellyanne Conway accurately reflect their point of view “anyone (no matter what) is better than voting for a Democrat.”
Remember the Dixiecrats
Few remember before the Civil Rights Voting Act in the mid ’60s, the attitude in Alabama was just the opposite. The Dixiecrats and Southern Apartheid knew how to keep outsiders and “the blacks” in their place. How did we get to where we are today?
At the top of this list is “religion.” From the time I was a small child, Jesus — as well as “God” — were portrayed as dominant white conservative males. Women, for all practical purposes, are the foundation and source of all evil on the planet. After all Eve, according to most evangelicals, was THE source of ‘original sin’ and it was Eve who single handedly brought down the male gender.
According to Susan Haskins, author of Mary Magdalen, under Pope Gregory, Mary Magdalen was transformed where her true station and gender could be degraded: “And so the transformation of Mary Magdalen was complete. From the gospel figure, with her active role as herald of the New Life — the Apostle to the Apostles — she became the redeemed whore and Christianity’s model of repentance, a manageable, controllable figure and effective weapon and instrument of propaganda against her own sex … symbol of harlots and fornication…”
The Bible, like the Koran, has been effectively utilized as an instrument against the equality of women and many forms of women’s rights. Remember the recent history of the Equal Rights Amendment (1971) was effective killed by evangelical conservative women (led by Phyllis Schlafly) who felt that if politicians gave women equal rights status, that somehow would upset “God’s” plan for the earth, as according to their beliefs, women must be subservient to men — as a religious duty and an issue that is non-negotiable which is the reason we have an obligation to remove religion from every aspect of political governance.
Under Islamic law, if a woman is forcibly raped, she — not the assailant — is guilty of adultery and sent to prison. Fundamentalist Christians haven’t gotten to that point but they certainly are headed in that direction. ISIS, the Islamic State, kills those with different belief systems; fundamentalist Christians merely legislate people to die — in my opinion, no difference.
When Viola Liuzzo was murdered by the Klu Klux Klan here March 12, 1965, her tragic death was distorted, disparaged, and her memory smeared by carefully planted rumors that she was really in Alabama to have affairs with black men and that no “real” husband would have allowed his wife to go to another state unaccompanied. In other words, “she got what she deserved” for meddling in affairs that were none of her business.
As far as “inappropriate” contact with minors, remember regional icon Jerry Lee Lewis? “The Killer” got into all kinds of trouble when it was exposed (in London) that he had married his 13-year-old first cousin, Myra Gale Brown. What received no attention was the fact that he may not have properly divorced his other two child brides: Jane Mitcham and Dorothy Barton. The shocker here was that once again outsiders had conspired to deprive this Southern musician of his right to earn a living.
Religious intolerance and bigotry has given rise to the atheist movement and PSAs by Ron Reagan who espouses their principles in an effort to remove partisan religion from politics. The creed of atheist will surprise many church goers as they are more loving, forgiving, reasonable as anything put forward, to date, by the self proclaimed ‘chosen of God.’
Part of the secular principles include such platforms as:
*We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.”
*We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the disabled so that they will be able to help themselves.”
*We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.”
*We want to protect and enhance Earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.”
These are issues, I firmly believe, we should all embrace. But the vilification of women has strong fundamentalist roots here as does the fundamentalist distortion of race.
Cain and Abel
According to many fundamentalist, “God” allegedly cursed Cain with dark skin; therefore the color scheme goes something like this: milky pasty alabaster skin, especially with blondish hair is tantamount to great favor with “God”. Those dark chocolate skin tones, regardless of character, should get ready for “hell.”
“God” also approved slavery as the Jews were once slaves then after their freedom was secured actually owned slaves themselves; even our Supreme Court ruled (Dred Scott 1857) black slaves (property) were not actually people and were, since time began, inferior to lighter skinned races. This belief is still widely held here but it is something we don’t talk about especially to “outsiders.”
The War of Northern Aggression (the Civil War) crushed ‘states rights’ here and forced self respecting white folk to accept inferior blacks in positions of political power and government. This is why Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the Klu Klux Klan, is not seen as a racist; but, instead a freedom fighter supporting the God given rights of what should have been the ruling class now suppressed by a foreign power (Washington).
Race also tarnished one of our state icons, George Wallace who promised Alabama we would have “segregation now and segregation forever.” Then came the infamous 1963 University of Alabama school house door moment. Our beloved governor succumbed to the will of someone named Nicholas Katzenbach, an outsider Jew of all people. This was “humiliating” and a moment that put a chink into the Wallace armor. But, at the same time, yet another example of the suppression of state’s rights at the hands of an out of control federal government.
Charalatans and Hucksters
We, here in the South, dearly love and revere our charalatans, hucksters, frauds, and carnival barkers otherwise known as preachers and deacons. Take, for example, another first cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart — since 1971 on the dole of well meaning fundamentalist (beats working for a living) who continue to support his “ministry,” television, radio, publication network, schools. In 1988 Swaggart’s affair with prostitute Debra Murphree was exposed which lead to his February 21st fundraising “I have sinned” speech where he reminded the faithful THEY had an obligation and duty to forgive and support him — which they did.
Then in 1991 his affair with prostitute Rosemary Garcia was exposed — this time, no real speech but the obligatory reminder to the faithful of their duty to forgive and support him yet again, and they have.
Let us not forget the Sunday school teaching Newt Gingrich, the bastion of adultery who married Jacqueline Battley then decided to have an affair with Mirianne Ginther, who he later married, after allegedly serving Battley with divorce papers, while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer.
Gingrich would later cheat on Ginther with current wife Callista Bisek (now Trump’s ambassador to The Holy See). In order to marry Bisek, Gingrich had to convert to Catholicism. He explained his conversion due to his positive impression of Pope Benedict.
Pope Benedict resigned February 28, 2013. According to Catholic historian, Michael D’Antonio, he did so due to his direct involvement “since the 1980s … as he was the center of the church’s child abuse crisis …”
It is a proven fact that for decades, beginning when he was a cardinal, Benedict covered for and shielded child molesters at the expense of their victims. His actions cost the church millions of dollars and caused them to lose their global moral compass. Victim Sinead O’Connor, I firmly believe, is correct: “Benedict should be in prison.”
Too Liberal for Alabama
Although Alabama fundamentalists are a forgiving folk, their forgiveness is conditional and would never extend to a Clinton or liberal as they don’t fall into what I have labeled “The DuBose Factor.”
Although George Wallace was damaged by state integration, the one person who was not affected was the University of Alabama coach “Bear” Bryant — the number one icon in this state past, present, and future.
After the University of Alabama had to accept black students, recruitment of black athletes followed. I remember a political cartoon during this process. It pictured the “Bear” talking to the university’s new black athletes, the caption was: “I want to welcome you Native Americans to the University of Alabama.” This was a coded indication that Bryant was to be given a “pass” on a situation he had no control over and never affected his standing/reputation in the state.
Mike DuBose was on Bryant’s 1973 national championship team. In the late 1990s he became coach of the University of Alabama’s football team — fate had destined him for greatness.The Sunday school teaching, family values, conservative Christian, according to court documents, created a hostile work environment in which secretary Deborah Gibson felt she had to have sex with Coach DuBose which later cost the university $300,000, which came out of DuBose’s salary.
An uproar followed; Christian talk radio pushed for total forgiveness while sports fans saw this as a distraction and disgrace to Bryant’s legacy. I wrote, at the time, as long as DuBose keeps winning forgiveness will always be available; but, once the winning stops, DuBose will not be able to find a Christian ally. I was viciously criticized.
Then for the first time in years, Alabama defeated Florida 40-39. Christian fellowship and forgiveness flowed like milk and honey throughout Tuscaloosa and the state. Later Alabama would meet Florida in the SEC Championship game and Alabama would win 34-7. It was a fundamentalist lovefest. DuBose could do no wrong.
In the Orange Bowl, Alabama would lose to the Northern Yankees at Michigan 35-34 … we could see trouble on the horizon.
The following season DuBose would lose to UCLA, Southern Mississippi, then Arkansas. A heated battle broke out between the forgive all fundamentalist and hard core sports fans. It got ugly until the Central Florida game. No disrespect to Central Florida but this event was seen as a big top tier university playing someone at the high school level except Central Florida defeated Alabama 40-38. Now the tar and feather and run out of town group prevailed.
Ask anyone today who Mike DuBose is, and chances are they won’t know. As long as he was useful and served a purpose, DuBose was tolerated — this is also the state of politics in Alabama.
The problem with Doug Jones is not that he lacks character or qualification but who he represented as a prosecutor. Four murdered black girls — we don’t talk about that much here and now; but, it is a factor. We say instead he is not “Christian” enough and would not “represent our values.”
Governor Kay Ivey actively supports Moore — outsiders don’t understand this. Here is the reason. Ivey called for this special senate election as she felt Moore would win and therefore not be her primary opponent for governor — simple as that. Ivey is a partisan, self preserving political hack. Few politicians care about the allegations or victims as long as the “DuBose” factor is in play. Until we can alter this mindset, little will change here.
Exclusive, never before seen video discovered: Alabama Football Coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant interviewed in 1973 in Birmingham.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.