By Lindsay Fernandes
Last night, the state of Alabama voted a Democrat into the United States Senate.
That’s a sentence I never expected to write. And yet here I sit, a jumble of emotions and thoughts, trying to make sense of it on paper. Because emotions this massive, this overwhelming, only come out of me in words and stories. I’ve been absent from the blog lately – my family moved to Georgia and life has been a wild ride, so in a way I’m a fraud on Birmingham Raw. But today, I had to let the words come.
Alabama is a state of deeply held loyalties. It’s a state of black and white. Auburn or Alabama. Republican or Democrat. It’s a state with extreme opinions on good manners. Rivalries run deep and compromise is slow. I can’t begin to explain why that is. Probably Carl Carter, with his impressive historical knowledge would know better than me. Maybe it’s the heat. But what has always confused me is that the people I know in Alabama are GOOD people. They mean well. They do kind things for one another and they love their neighbors. I have dear, blessed, kind hearted friends who Roll Tide and vote Republican and there isn’t a force on Heaven or Earth to change their minds.
Many of those friends of mine did not vote for Doug Jones because to check a box for a Democrat was simply more than they could do. And that’s okay. Because neither did they vote for Roy Moore. Nearly 23,000 Republicans in the state of Alabama chose to write in a candidate, and it amuses me that thousands of them chose Nick Saban.
And that is okay.
Because it’s enough that those good people, those decent people, those people who love one another, chose to draw a line in the sand and say ENOUGH. Whether they chose to write in or cross the aisle, the message was the same. We won’t vote for a sexual predator, or a total incompetent. Enough embarrassment. Enough stupidity. Enough incompetence.
It was torturous to me not to be an Alabama voter yesterday. Alabama has long been a source of both pride and frustration to me. It’s a difficult place for outsiders to understand. If Alabama were a person, I would roll my eyes and say, “Well – she’s complicated, bless her heart.”
But as it turns out, goodness prevailed yesterday in Alabama, and the state of my heart gave the nation a glimpse into its own heart. It may be stubborn, and loyalist, and intractable. But deep in there, deep in the deepest part of the Deepest Red South, there is goodness and love and the world saw.
And today I feel proud of my home state.
Thank you, Alabama, for giving us all just a little bit of hope.