Alabama must vote policy over hypocrisy

Emma Daniel
Staff Writer

Alabama likes to consider itself morally perfect compared to other states, since it is smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt.
Sadly, it seems our supposed morality is a cover-up; Alabama was named No. 1 in political corruption by Illinois State University’s Institute for Corruption Studies. We take the first spot in “legal corruption,” in which political behavior is legal but unethical, and we are second place for “illegal corruption,” behavior which is straight-up unlawful.
Why do our politicians tout such a supposed moral attitude when they obviously are anything but ethical? Why do we blindly trust politicians only considering whether they’re Christian or a Trump supporter?
The entire state government has been compromised by corruption only in the past two years; twice-removed Chief Justice Roy Moore was dismissed from office after prohibiting same-sex marriage licenses, thus violating federal law (once before for refusing to remove a massive display of the Ten Commandments); Robert Bentley resigned after an affair with a member of his staff and the questionable use of money and state resources; former House speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted of 12 felony corruption charges (but was reelected right after his indictment).
Still, many were quick to defend each ousted lawmaker, often before and after their removal.
With the midterm elections upon us, we Alabamians must task ourselves with not putting immoral and shady politicians in office — especially since it has already cost us.
According to a 2014 Public Administration Review study, governmental corruption opens the door for more deplorable practices throughout the administration. The study found that construction and infrastructure — avenues for private gain — were breeding grounds for corruption, thus leaving institutions such as healthcare and education lacking funding.
All this fooling around is hurting us — but no one seems to really care.
Alabama ranks #46 nationwide in healthcare and #47 in education — college education is even worse: #49 in higher education, all of this information is according to U.S. News.
This could be solved if we voted for candidates with concrete policies on issues in which Alabama is lacking, which seems to be quite a lot of them.
Many seem to be excited to vote, but they’re only gung-ho for the people who stick their political signs alongside highways and on billboards.
Transparency also proves to be an issue in the huge corruption scandal which is Alabama’s history.
It is unlawful for city councils to meet privately when discussing public affairs and making legislative decisions, but they can use loopholes such as caucuses to keep the doors closed on those meetings. By expanding open meetings laws, we could make legislative affairs much more public.
Plus, Alabama is infamous for terrible public records policies.
The records office often uses the “we don’t want to” excuse to not disclose information, some institutions even charging exorbitant fees for trying to get access to these documents.
Alabamians should take initiative and actually consider a person’s character and track record of transparency before making decisions about voting, especially since our state tows the lower ranks for most issues that are important.
By electing officials who have a history of being as honest as possible, whether that be disclosing acquisition of funds, championing laws which allow the public to be more informed or focusing on issues the state needs dire help with, we can change the fact we are the #46 state in the nation.
Alabamians are tired of dealing with a government that cares more about lining officials’ pockets than helping the state. Voting for the right policy is the way to eradicate corruption.

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