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Alabama Politics in 2022

Alabama Republicans mock the institutions of man so heartily and with such fervor.

The Democrats are rebuilding in Alabama. Maybe? Ballotpedia says that they are running candidates in only 47 of 105 state house races, 14 of 35 state senate races, governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Nobody running for lieutenant governor or auditor or treasurer. Simple math tells us that no Democrats are standing in 58 state house districts or for 21 state senate seats. There are candidates seeking the nomination for US Senate, while for the US House, Democrats will contest only five of the seven seats.

Republicans are running in all statewide races, all national races, in 83 of the 105 state house seats, and in 29 of the 35 state senate races.

Not great. The best case for state Democrats for the next four years is as a minority party that can sometimes influence legislation if the Republicans are fractured or perhaps fixing defects the Republicans overlooked in generally acceptable legislation. None of the statewide candidates are well-known or in a strong position.

Most of the Republican candidates run on made-up bullshit issues that have no relationship with reality (the FOX News ticket), much less with the offices they seek. They talk about CRT or disliking Spanish, none of which has anything to do with running the government or drafting meaningful legislation.

The big-ticket item from the governor, which she’s not even running on, was funding and plans to build new prisons using COVID funds so that the state can keep locking people up rather than educating them and building a better tomorrow. But like Biden’s infrastructure work, the prisons won’t be built for some time. So she’s making up some crap and yelling about it. She’s another George Wallace type, vying to be seen as loudest dipshit in the pack. Taking pleasure in pissing on and pissing off the libs. And most of her opponents are doing the same.

That’s also what the Republicans running to replace Senator Richard Shelby are doing. They bring up state issues that a federal legislator has no influence on, or they make up some grievances against the president or against the politicians from other states.

There’s a fairly weak offering of media in the state, and while what exists makes some efforts to push for a better way, it’s mostly ineffective. They have the power to break a scandal, but not to turn the ship.

Alabama Republican politics are works of fiction, any resemblances to reality are accidental, unintentional.


Doug Jones helped the Democrats adopt new charter rules which may help structurally at some point, but the state party is still not very animated. National politics and national political brands are too dominant to give much room for them to break out, apparently, and they don’t have the funds, manpower, or candidates to do it.

Maybe they’ll get there some day, but in 2022 it looks like a pretty weak party, in a weak state that doesn’t have many short-term prospects for reform or improvement.

There are Republicans in the state who would be Democrats in other states, but they can’t afford the association down here. That stifles the growth opportunities for the party, which keeps us on a trajectory of Republican primaries deciding statewide races on phantom issues and hate and bile. And the same Republicans block reform efforts, gerrymander the districts, and don’t set the state on a real growth trajectory.

That means a lack of state leaders tethered to truth and compassion. It means deprioritizing human welfare, education, and environment, all of which mean less liberty.

It’s so dumb and why it looks to stay that way, at least for four more years. I’ve voted in every government election I’ve ever been eligible to, and I want everyone to vote, believe it would make things better, but it’s always bothered me that my vote never really counts at any level of government, living in a backwards state with broken politics.

Earth Day 2022

Another year in the books for the planet we all call home.

Please register to vote (Vote.gov). Please vote for candidates who will fight carbon pollution.

Month after month, year after year, we read about the climate crisis. The greenhouse effect was taught to me in school so long ago I barely remember the teachers’ names. And every year more carbon goes up, while many politicians still do not take the problem seriously.

Even as we face catastrophe, we learn the fascinating bits: how tree rings can tell us wet and dry years, or how layers of sediment in the oceans hold tiny shells that confess the atmosphere of their day, as do bubbles trapped in polar ice. (See Wikipedia: “Paleoclimatology”: Proxies for climate.) And it feels like sitting in a doctor’s office, being told of the scans and chemistries used to diagnose us, the doctor waving a slide rule as they tell us our odds of survival from a cancer or a heart attack unless we make a change.

We learn when distant cities will be underwater. How they will be flooded, first during storms, then tides. After that it won’t be flooding, it will have become part of the sea. There are maps showing the water moving in, from a centimeter every few years to a centimeter every year and beyond, if the carbon keeps flowing. The waters will skip the hills and makes them islands, for awhile anyway. If the waters keep going up, the new islands will be drowned. We see an artist’s rendering of what a mall looks like under ten feet of water.

The other disasters: major hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, the arctic vortex, droughts and floods. The own-goals: deforestation, methane leaks. And all the tips for reducing our carbon footprints. Less meat, reusable bags, changing lightbulbs, recycle, buy used. The media talks them up and then moves on to the latest politics, celebrity. We forget long enough to feel better, partying between hangovers.

The people making decisions aren’t worried, because they’re not paid to cut carbon. They’re paid to make sales. There are few jobs on the planet where the compensation goes up if the carbon goes down. They are renewable electricity generators, mostly. But the world has not put a price on carbon pollution. If it did, most everyone would earn more by cutting carbon, and the crisis would end. That’s the theory.

For those selling carbon offsets to wealthy people seeking to allay their guilt, there’s no extra money for lower carbon. Car makers don’t get a better price for making a more efficient car (though in some markets their days to sell carbon-powered vehicles are numbered). Oil drillers don’t have to pay for venting methane, as farmers don’t pay more for wasting water.


On Earth Day 2022, the situation looks the same as it has for decades. There are some modest efforts, far short of what’s needed. At the rate we are going, we will reach carbon neutrality later than needed, but we will get there. Not so optimistic, but not so pessimistic. We’re betting that knock-ons won’t turn out worse, that there’s no domino effect that will push us over a cliff.

It all feels like a missed opportunity, a lucrative one that the business community and the politicians were too dumb to take up. One that many of them agitate against out of some bizarre obligation to a sick system. There are many solutions that all miss the mark in one key area: the votes needed to pass anything.

Please register to vote (Vote.gov). Please vote for candidates who will fight carbon pollution.

A-a-ama

A poem to respond to the Republi-can’t anti-liberty legislative harassment of students, teachers, communities, and families.

They took five whole letters out the A-blank-Cs,
In science they banned the birds and the—Jeez!
Of Shakespeare at the Globe, you must gag,
That Juliet was played by a boy in drag
Next door in art, keep your paints apart:
If kids knew colors mixing makes another,
That we’re each of us a pretty hue,
They’d be glad to know Sami’s got two mothers,
Heck, Pat’s being reared by her adult brother,
And that we all make up one great tableau.

Now we all want what’s best, don’t know what,
But these mean old laws are a punch in the gut,
To kids whose bodies feel all kinds of wrong,
Who know the other bathroom’s where they belong,
Nobody’s saying to teach first-graders about S-E-X,
But you can’t treat kids like they’re under a hex,
Growing up, school is hard enough without
Goat hill jerks adding division and doubt,
The kids and teachers deserve our support,
Not callous laws to be debated in court.

As for the doctor bill, it says no treatments allowed,
Another small-government effort that’s made the news,
That says false Christian-supremacists get to choose,
What happens with the bodies of the rest of the crowd,
Freedom and property begin in our bones,
Of our own bodies we sit upon thrones,
If our mortal vessels impede our lives,
It is our right to alter them until we thrive,
Wisdom says go a step at a time, cautious and slow,
Which is a far different outcome than a bigoted “No.”