• 32°

Pause the holiday just long enough to vote Tuesday

It’s the holiday season. People want to focus on lighted trees, the sound of carols and the bustle of Christmas shopping.

This is not the time for politics — that’s probably how most folks feel. December is about decorating and baking, about families and friends, nativity scenes and reindeer. Thinking about an election is the last thing on the minds of the majority.

It’s not particularly what I want to focus on in the midst of this sparkling holiday. Still, there is an election next week, and it’s an important one for our state.

On Tuesday, we go to the polls to choose a person to represent Alabama in the United States Senate. It’s a special election in more ways than simply the time it is happening.

I think this particular election is a mandate on what matters most to us. Whether we turn out to vote and how we vote is going to say a great deal about our state. And, the rest of the nation is watching.

As is the case in politics in 2017, this senatorial campaign exposed the deep division that exists in our state and in our nation. People lined up on opposing sides like football teams making a goal line stand.

Sometimes supporting the candidate with the “D” beside his or her name feels a bit like being a member of a high school team lining up to play the Crimson Tide. Underdog does not begin to describe it.

I’ve said before that I appreciate that Roy Moore talks openly about his faith and where he stands on the issues based on that faith. I’ve also said that making judgments from that place rather than based on the constitution and law is not something I appreciate.

Unfortunately, this election, in some instances, seems more about voting against a candidate rather than voting for one. So, I am not going to list the reasons I think Mr. Moore is not the best choice for Alabama’s future.

Instead, I’d like to share why I think Doug Jones is a better option. First, while Jones is a Democrat, he is not what I’d call a “far right” Democrat. In fact, on some issues he sounds almost more like a Republican.

He’s from a working class background. He practices Christianity as his faith. He owns guns and is a hunter, which is important to know in this state.

Most importantly, he stands more in the middle on issues, not to the far right or the far left. That, I think, is where compromise lives and where we need our politicians to stand.

I’ve heard more than one person say that they don’t really support Roy Moore, but cannot vote for Jones because we do not need a Democrat in the senate. When I hear that, I resist the urge to ask why I’m so awful because I lean more toward the Democratic Party. I’m not a villain. Democrats are not evil. We are different, but we love this country too.

Even as I type these words, I know it is futile to talk to a lot of Alabamians about Doug Jones being the best choice to move this state forward. We are a red state, and to try and change minds already made up is a waste of energy.

Therefore, I won’t go into a list of pros and cons in relation to the candidates on the ballot next week. Most folks already know how they are going to vote and nothing is probably going to sway them.

So, instead I am simply encouraging people to vote. Yes, I hope voters give Doug Jones a chance, and at least consider a candidate that is more in the middle when it comes to parties.

More importantly, I am hoping Alabama voters hit the pause button on Christmas long enough to cast their ballots. Voting is a gift. Being an American is a gift.

Go vote Tuesday, and then enjoy the holly, jolly of this season.

 

 

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.