Mean words will hold us all back

Published 2:23am Saturday, November 6, 2010

With every election cycle comes a wave of negative campaign ads that prove why politics is referred to as a “dirty game.” One of the more distasteful ads I heard was the robocall made by Senator Hank Sanders. Sanders, who represents Alabama’s 23rd District, said in the call:

“Hello this is Hank Sanders, Alabama state Senator, and I’m still mad as hell. I say hell no! I ain’t going back to the cotton fields of Jim Crow days. I’m going forward with Ron Sparks, Jim Folsom and others who would do right by all of us. I hope you are mad as hell and will not go back, and you have the power to choose. I will stand until hell freezes over for Ron Sparks for Governor and Jim Folsom for Lt. Governor on Nov. the 2nd. “

The ad was paid for by the Alabama New South Coalition. Sanders is President Emeritus of the group. In a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, Sanders said he experienced Jim Crow-type discrimination growing up and said he feared it could happen again. Cooper pressed Sanders for facts about how a victory by Robert Bentley (Sparks’ opponent) and Kay Ivey (Folsom’s opponent) would take blacks back to “the cotton fields,” but Sanders had none.

Unlike Sanders, I’m not “mad as hell,” but I am disappointed that someone who represents me in the Legislature would stoop to such dirty tricks. “Fear mongering,” as Cooper called it. Others have called it “race baiting.” No matter what you call it, Sanders’ attempt to strike a chord with voters fell flat, and is very disappointing to me.

What Republican control of the Legislature means for Democratic strongholds such as the Black Belt, I don’t know. But I fear the part of the state we call home will continue to be ignored by those who have the power to institute real, meaningful change for an area that has been referred to as “Alabama’s third world.”

I can only hope the days of using horrible events from the past as an excuse why someone can’t succeed today becomes a thing of the past. We should remember the past, but until people like Sen. Sanders decide it’s time to throw away that crutch, the “mean spiritedness” that Sanders said was the reason for his ad will continue and the divisiveness it causes will continue to hold all of us back from greatness.

  • D-Man

    Aren’t Hank and Rose true Selmians? omg (in lower case letters)

  • yellowroseofTexas

    Popdukes, I assume you consider only Selmians who are born here to be capable of leadership and service. You confirmed what I was told years ago—to be accepted in Selma you have to be born here or at least married to someone from here. This fact is a stumbling block in the progress of Selma. Plenty of talented, able, willing people have moved to Selma over the years I have been here; some have given to the community through volunteer work as well as their knowledge and skills. Being clannish is not something to be proud of; if Selma wants to progress, its native people need to change.

    • POPDUKES12

      A true Selmian can go by a car lot and borrow a car for a month from another true Selmain and never owe them a penny (I’ve done it). That is what I am speaking of when I say clannish. I’ve had a Selmian come by my house on Sunday (more than once) and ask for the keys to my business because he needed to get something he needed right then. My answer to him while giving him the keys was, “write down what you get and leave it on the cash register”. Now that’s clannish. I had a Selmian give me a bill of sale on his boat, when I didn’t give him any money. After his divorce (a year later) he came by and picked it up and thanked me. Now that’s clannish. As you know, I’m white but I feel I could walk Lapsley St.from Jeff Davis Ave. to Highland ave. at 2:00 in the morning and not have a thing to worry about.
      Being a true Selmain give one such a feeling of entitlement to “all things good” in Selma and that feeling just can’t be explained. I’ve heard people that have lived in Selma 30 years ask the question, “when will I ever be accepted as a selmian?” The answer given was “if you weren’t born here you won’t”. I was born on Mechanic St. in East Selma, Moose Perry and Bob Street were my baby sitters when I was a youngster. Now you just can’t be more of a Selmain than that. I’m proud to be from Selma. While I’m not defending this feeling, it is what it is and won’t ever change. popdukes12

  • One_Voice

    well I always feel better when I can try help some one out of being country stupid to just being stupid, but there are some you just can’t help in Selma and marion junction but that falls in the relm of enbread stupid.

  • SEAOAT

    POPDUKES12, we Selmains are very clannish and I understand your concern which is justified. However true Selmians are few and far between and weekly our number becomes less and less. Check the background of those in charge and I think you will find that most are not “True Selmains”, but outsiders who would like you to believe they are one of us. I prefer the term ” Carpetbagger” to describe these “NEANDERTHALS” we currently have serving as our leaders. Congresswoman Sewell is a “True Selmain” and deserves all the help and support we can give. She is three times a minority ie; she is black, she is a woman and she is a democrat. The STJ can and should do everything they to help her and I as a “True Selmian” expect that of my local paper.I don’t think the current Leadership can offer her much qualitative advise.

    • POPDUKES12

      Seaoat, I agree, I’m just saying the paper doesn’t need to get involved as they are not “Selmians” (by our definition). I’ve seen the the “progressive liberal” footprints on opinion articles coming out of the STJ, and I wouldn’t want this to be presented to Terri as representative of the real Selmians. popdukes12

  • POPDUKES12

    Seaoat: Please also remember that the STJ hires from the “outside”. I can tell by the articles that they have hired someone from from Lowdnes (probably misspelled) county. This is probably a reflection of the journalism department at the Jr. college. Do you really want people who are not real Selmians (you’ll never be from Selma unless you were born there) to influence your representatives, I think not. Real Selmians (black and white) are very clannish. It is a common experience that can’t be learned and understood in a matter of months, or even years. Let the STJ report the news and leave Terri Sewell along. Just one man’s opinion. popdukes12

  • SEAOAT

    Dennis, I agree with most of your well written article; however, what are the underlining problems with Selma and Dallas County? What have our leaders over the last two decades accomplished for our area? You cannot continue to hold your hand up yelling for help from the top level. Continuing to elect poor leadership will continue to produce the same results. Somehow we need to elect leaders who will get out of the can and think outside the box and stop waiting on the “MOON PIE” to fall on Selma.
    Let’s just hope that our newly elected Congress Woman will not be influenced by the current power structure. Renegade is correct when he says the STJ should “Mentor” her.

    • POPDUKES12

      The STJ has “reporters”. They take snapshots of history. Journalist take history and attempt to provide understanding. Columnist provide understanding with their dispositions and “spin’ woven in. None of these want to get involved enough to become part of the story. Politicians come and go, but the dignity of the STJ must not be deminished by becoming involved in the story. popdukes12

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  • smallville

    Dennis, why does the STJ pull news articles when they don’t like the comments?

    For example, the story about the Edmund Pettus Bridge being named for a Confederate Rebel…. where is the story? Why was it pulled?

    It was poorly written, and published in bad taste. Was the effect intended to incite? When it did, why was it pulled? Inquiring readers would like to know.

    • POPDUKES12

      The article was a mistake and should have been buried like a dog would bury a bone. Consider it one of those “learning moments”. I’m sure someone was up on the carpet about it. popdukes12

  • Renigade

    Dennis, you as managing editor of the STJ of all people should know what needs to be accomplished. Don’t be “sheepish” in your approach to avoid criticism from those who create the problem. If people see the STJ jump out there and provide bold leadership supported by fact then we have a start. You have stated before “heads need to roll”, now’s the time to pull out the “Saber”. The enemy is starring you dead in the face and has exposed himself to the entire nation on CNN. This matter belongs to Selma, Dallas County and the entire Black Belt. Don’t wait on Republicans to solve the problem. That’s our job and the STJ like it or not is part of the solution. You have the support now, the question is do you have the will to fight the “Battle”. Make sure you “mentor” our new Congresswomen or the “Battle” will be lost!!!

  • fred

    salute, dennis

  • POPDUKES12

    “using horrible events from the past as an excuse why someone can’t succeed”, is the “free pass” used by many as their “get out of jail free card” when there is no other way to legitimize their position on a stance they are taking. Mr. Cooper took Senator Sanders to the wood shed and Hank came out rubbing his backside. If you watch the interview a second time, you can tell that senator sanders was starting to dance like Bill “bojangles” Robinson in a Shirley Temple movie. I’ve heard that the definition of demagoguery is to appear to be as stupid as the people that you are trying to impress,and I feel that this identifies Hanks intentions with this Robocall. popdukes12

  • FLO

    Well said!!

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  • jis1999

    Sanders is a Racist in the worst way. Plain and simple.

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