I wrote this a few weeks ago. I tried to submit it to AL.com, but after no response and reading this article, I thought it was worth trying to spread on my own:
I will be the first one to defend my home state until the bitter end – a state full of culture, hidden culinary gems, and some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
As a Huntsville native, I was lucky enough to grow up in an innovative environment – focused on fostering new technologies, with the added bonus of the wonder that comes with being the rocket city. Which begs the question – what happened? How could a state so focused on innovation and progress all of the sudden decide to take 5 steps back?
When I picked up and moved to Liechtenstein – the 6th smallest country in the world – back in August, I could have guessed that my nickname would have become “Alabama.” But, in light of my home state apparently feeling a need to give the rest of the world something to talk about, this has morphed into “Alabama” + a laundry list of questions.
The most notable of these questions being related to Kay Ivey signing off on the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban, and only escalating with the sign off on the chemical castration bill. Politics aside, these bills don’t just represent a gross violation of human rights, they represent a direct affront to our country’s values – not to mention the fact that they are flat out unconstitutional.
Purposefully challenging Roe? Cruel and Unusual punishment? – Really? Is Alabama deliberately trying to live the novel “Brave New World”? Depriving a woman of her right to choose whether or not to have a child she might not be able to afford binds her to an unwritten caste system, limiting her potential for upward mobility in a state already stricken by poverty. Then, there is chemical castration targeting men, presenting an instance where the government is permanently altering your body without your consent. Further, the movement towards legalization of marijuana amid all of this could be likened to the dystopian novel’s provision of soma to the masses – dope us up enough that we are too passive to understand the rights we are losing.
Based on your personal political convictions you might feel that the abortion ban was justified and that movement towards legalization of marijuana is abhorrent, or you might have the inverse opinion. But I would like to leave you with this:
Sometimes it takes stepping out of the bubble in order to realize what is actually happening inside the bubble. Question everything, accept nothing, only then can you live free from the restraints of accepted truths. Travel – become not only an Alabamian, but that Alabamian that is able to dispel the stereotypes and teach the rest of the world about all the things there are to love about home.