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Alabama editorial roundup

September 11, 2019

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

Sept. 5

The Dothan Eagle on how a wall on the southern border of the U.S. could take money from military projects in Alabama:

The most controversial domestic issue of our present day — illegal immigration at our southern border — should soon become even more contentious, at least in the Wiregrass area.

This week, al.com reported that the Trump administration plans to divert $3.6 billion set aside for 127 military projects toward continued construction of a wall at the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Among those projects is a $38 million training support facility at Fort Rucker. Other Alabama initiatives on the chopping block are $5.2 million earmarked for the construction of a weapons repair shop at Anniston Army Depot, a $15.5 million expansion of the Judge Advocate General School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, and an $18 million air traffic control tower at Maxwell.

Border wall controversy aside, the prospect of having almost $80 million meant to fortify our military operations at Alabama installations redirected is unsettling.

We implore our elected representatives — U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, Sen. Doug Jones, and Sen. Richard Shelby, primarily — to present a unified front to deflect the potential poaching of federal investment in military operations in our state. The projects underscore the importance of the facilities in Alabama, and their loss would have a negative effect on local economies.

Online: https://www.dothaneagle.com/

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Sept. 5

The Gadsden Times on a blackface scandal involving Gov. Kay Ivey:

We’ve often talked about how politics in the U.S. has become a perpetual Armageddon-like battle between opposing forces who believe all means are justified in combating “the enemy.”

Part of that trend is opposition research — going through people’s personal and professional histories to find dirt that can be used as a “Gotcha” to compel them to do something, or silence or even drive them from public life. It could be a microbe or a truckload; each is equally effective, particularly in the social media era where anyone with a smartphone and a bunch of followers can play Javert. And there’s no statute of limitations or consideration of anything the violator has done since.

It sounds like we’re building up to a defense of Gov. Kay Ivey, the latest public figure to be caught up in such a furor after revelations that she appeared in blackface during a skit 52 years ago at Auburn University’s Baptist Student Union.

Nope. There is no defense for Ivey’s actions, even so long ago. It’s irrelevant that it was a “different time” with “different values” and “different sensibilities” where “people didn’t get so upset or ‘politically correct’ about such things.”

The Civil Rights Movement was active and already had scored major victories that had changed this country, the South and, in particular, Alabama in righteous and absolutely necessary ways. One of the ways — although things already were heading in this direction separate from the movement — was establishing the impropriety of people donning blackface to get laughs. People in Auburn (including Ivey, who was in her early 20s, no kid) should’ve known better, even in 1967.

The same applies to any other prominent person — like Virginia’s governor and attorney general — who gets busted for the same thing. Outrage and indignation should be applied fairly and with bipartisanship. (Yes, we’re dreamers.)

Ivey apparently understands the score and has pretty much owned this situation, which is as it should be. She was proactive in releasing an audio recording of her former fiancé describing the incident (no photos exist), even though she still maintains she doesn’t remember it. (Ivey also was quizzed in February about Auburn’s 1967 yearbook showing some of her sorority sisters in blackface for a different skit; she said she didn’t remember that, either.)

The governor apologized after the revelation, and doubled down this week by saying (a.) she shouldn’t have done it; (b.) it doesn’t reflect her current values; and (c.) she has no plans to resign despite calls from Alabama’s NAACP for her to do so. We’re satisfied with that, plus driving her from office would only be a gun barrel notch for someone, it wouldn’t suddenly or dramatically change this state’s political compass.

People also have poked at Ivey for signing a bill two years ago to preserve Confederate monuments in Alabama, and have called upon her to show penance for her actions by supporting initiatives (generally liberal ones) they believe would lessen racial discrepancies and promote reconciliation in the state. That leads us back to our comments about opposition research and what it seeks to achieve — especially in a place like Alabama where, at least right now, what those folks want from Ivey has little chance of happening via the political process, even if it’s stuff that merits consideration.

Again, we think people who do indefensible things should own it when they get caught. Those who dig in dirt should be equally honest about their motivations.

Online: https://www.gadsdentimes.com/

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Sept. 4

The News Courier on a 14-year-old who authorities say shot and killed family members, and how it has impacted the community:

While most of us were winding down after a long Labor Day weekend, an unspeakable tragedy was unfolding at a home in Elkmont.

A 14-year-old boy used a handgun to shoot and killed his father, his stepmother and three other children, the youngest of which was still a baby. It’s the kind of horrific tragedy we read about in other places.

This week, it happened here.

We, like all of you, are stunned and shaken. As the investigation into what happened unfolds, there are still more questions than answers. Why did this happen? How could this happen? What on Earth was so bad in this young man’s life? How does a 14-year-old have access to a handgun?

We feel confident some of these questions will be answered in due time, but it’s likely we may never know the whole story.

What we do know, however, is Limestone County knows how to come together during times of immense tragedy and grief. We are, above and beyond everything else, a community. We are a family.

As a family, we need to rally around and comfort not only the extended family, but those who took the call, responded to the scene and processed the scene. We should also pray for and comfort those investigating this tragedy. Hopefully, some understanding will emerge with time.

It’s tempting for some to stir up trouble and make false accusations on social media. There are those who live for and feed off drama surrounding a tragedy.

There is never a time for such foolish behavior, but now is especially not the time. Let those whose responsibility it is to do so — i.e., law enforcement — be the ones who release facts about the suspect and the victims.

This tragedy is unparalleled in its scope for Limestone County. It’s hard for anyone to wrap their mind around.

We, as a community, will shed tears for this family. We will also pray for this family. In time, we may heal.

For now, we simply ask there be a moratorium on rumor, blame, half-truths and conjecture. The victims deserve better. We are capable of better.

Online: https://www.enewscourier.com/

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