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You, DK. You. The good friends I have here that give me hope that we can finally learn to talk to one another civilly, that we can learn from one another and that we can "all get along" someday. It matters to me here in Alabama more than you can appreciate. And when I see diary after diary that has in it's headline some trashing of Alabama, when every show leads with some mockery of Alabama and it's people I can't imagine how it's ever going to change. Then I remember that it already has changed. Over and over it changes, every time we have that dialogue and march arm in arm. Every time we speak out and every time we get a blast from the past that reminds us that time is on our side.

That song. Time is on our side. Why do you think the songwriter wrote it in the way he did.? Why were the lyrics and the music so forceful? Why was it necessary to say something so simple? Because the one word in that song that isn't emphasized is OUR side. We all live in a yellow submarine. We are all targets if we try to be different. We can't be different and not be obvious. It's the nature of things. And so the artists among us find ourselves eitiher ostracized by someone, or they find that we are too radical to sehear our message, read our words or join in our songs.

It sucks sometimes being an artist. Especially if your message spans generations and is universal. It isthrilling when the message becomes clear to one person at a time but you become too passionate for some people and passion is sometimes not appropriate to the message eing heard.

A norweigan visitor to the bistro where my art is hanging right now said it best: You are in a difficult spot being between generations - I think I know what he meant. I'd dress like the "hipsters" if I thought I'd get away with it. I used to do that at art school befrore I became a graduate student and had to represeent the school in a different way. I was fond of wearing men's oxford shirts with writing on them and image transfers that said what I couldn't say out loud. It was the time and the season for messages but no one around here wanted to hear them.

I have been back in school during several national events. I returned to school as soon as I could pick myself up off the emotional floor where I was left by the Bush V. Gore -- Idecision - prior to that I'd been creating a website for a jewish friend of mine named Stephen Goldfarb. The webiste is in the archives now. It was called LeoFrankLynchers and I did it anonymously because of the pollitical firestorm it caused in the area where I lived and other places. The fact of the matter is that I was afraid of people ike Bob Barr and Newt Gingrich. In those days, if you were a progressive and lived in marietta, Georgia you might have reason to be afraid of these men.

When I see the mail come in to this house where a 96 year old Republican lived until her stroke a few months ago, I see the claims of people like Bob Barr, John Bolton, Ollie North, and so many others trying to terrify an elderly woman into donating more money to save the Republican party from itself, using fear to try to change the world, and ponder what it is that they want her to be afraid of, I really do realize that the delicate edge of their precarious balance is that they kn ow that the elderly mostly just want us to all get along. hat's all that matters to them.

The Republican National committee finally called the house yesterday in person. I was so glad to finally be able to explain to the dittoheads that she is too old to support them with the money that she has left. She is going to need all of it to take care of herself most likely. I hope she lives to be 200 and gets a chance to see the world she believes in. come to pass.

She loves cats. Wouldn't turn a stray cat out if her life depended on it. She is not a cynical hateful woman who wants that black man to be defeated. She's not afraid of his religion either. She really doesn't have a dog in this fight at all. She no longer listens to the TV because she can't hear and she isn't really interested in the arguments about whose side is right and whose side is wrong. She isn't even a legacy republican like those in my family. She came from nothing, from a family whose father abandoned them and then died, and she was the one who raised the rest of them and worked at Brookley Field until it closed. She was one of the last employees. Her husband, who died a few years ago, was also a Brookely Field employee and they lived a good life here in Mobile, but like most of this town, the closing of Brookley Field was a shock that never stopped hurting.

Mobile is a town that has had many Tsunami's of ecomonic shock and the gulf oil spill is just another one. We are always dependent on things we can't control whether it's torrential rains flooding downtown Mobile or Hurricanes wiping out the city. My adopted town of Mobile (I'm from Fairhope, and there is, despite what I've written before a difference) b has a reputation that sadly is tarnished by the constant avalanche of bad news and economic impact that only the devoted are able to stick around to record.

Those of us who, like myself, have five or six generations of family buried in Magnolia Cemetary and who have sloshed through one too many swampy funerals in that to bury yet another proud member of the family, people who have had positions of power as well as those who silently supported them and died without their stories told, (I'm workign on it, trust me) and yet you have to wonder why my immediate family is not buried here. My mother is in Montrose and my father in Tampa, and I don't know where I"ll be buried. I don't care though as long as the story I have to tell gets told before I'm done.

That story, that saga, that you all have been reading and commenting on, those images and artwork that depict the sad trajectory of three generations of the Douglass-Warley-Hales family those paintings that are so "creepy" to the young kids because I used dolls to represent the children who were sent off to war, to be maimed and killed and somehow they all survived and came home to increase the family tree one more time. We made it by luck -- one made it back from the Civil War with one arm and "sired three children" which used to be a famliy joke, and others made it despite shocking breaches of the social order, defiantly being forced to live as bankrupt has beens, widows, or worse. But we all made it somehow and thanks to my aunt who is no longer with us we actually know each other.

I attended a funeral for one of my prominent uncles and met some of Mobile's blue bloods. This was during the Bush -Gore election and was right before the primary as I recall, and I can remember that my cousin told me that I had better not open my mouth about being democrat. I had a hard time that day in that living room where they all felt so free to trash the very people I was helping to elect. I didn't dare tell them (my aunt strong armed me this time) that I was a Kucinich delegate...And later, when my art was hanging in a local restaurant and I ran into the woman who informed me of why they had moved away from the farm in St. Elmo (which had something to do with dark skinned peolple who couldn't be trusted not to steal as she so unabashedly proclaimed) I had to go outside for air! I really wasn't prepared for how clearly the message was being broadcast that the world had better remain on the "W" side  until I realized that those little tiny black stickers that I couldn't have cared less about were all subtle "signs" that meant we were in the "in crowd" of supporters of the man who meant LEGACY to these people. He's one of us, that W said. I couldn't have thought of it because I don't think like that.

They were members of a secret society. The elite. The wealthy. The powerful. That meant that they had to be careful and not speak ill of the "other" within the hearing of that "other" but it gets more difficult when you can't easily tell which is which.

That's when I realized that it was going to have to change slowly. But that was then. There's much more at stake now, and the stakes are much higher. We are all in this together now. Many many people are not that afraid any longer.

C'mon, Alabama. Show us what you really are. Come to the table together and show us how you really think for yourselves. Be the Alabama i grew up in, not the one that divided over hate but the one who rebuilt after that. Be the Alabama that came back together and supported the Southern Poverty Law Center, that helped Selma become more than just a bridge to nowhere, that celebrates both the high stepping black bands and the high jumping black athletes as well as the rest of them. Be the Alabama that loves every single person from all walks of life and really fears no one that we meet face to face. Be the Alabama who elected Don Siegleman because he was the right man for the job and the Alabama whose governor Wallace lived to regret many of his decisions. Be the Alabama of Tallulah Bankhead, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Buffett, Rick Bragg, Fannie Flagg, and Eugene Walter. C'mon. Stop the hate.

I'm counting on you.

Originally posted to alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Beautiful piece. (14+ / 0-)

    I'm from Kentucky, still live here.  We are not the deep south, some argue that we aren't the south at all, but I feel where you're coming from.  It's hard sometimes to love these places we live without people assuming that we aren't working hard to change them. :)

  •  Typed without my glasses on. Get over it...lol. (6+ / 0-)

    I can do everything but earn a living.

    by alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:28:51 AM PDT

  •  Not a bad tune to start the day with ... (8+ / 0-)

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:57:33 AM PDT

  •  Nice Piece (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing. Are you going to go out and vote today? Who are you voting for?

  •  Thank you for this, it's beautiful.Hope the Rescue (4+ / 0-)

    Rangers get a look at it and cue it up.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

    by FarWestGirl on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 12:14:19 PM PDT

  •  Change in Alabama (9+ / 0-)

    I voted today in the Sixth District (Spencer Bachus) which hasn't had a Democratic candidate this century. This year we have two.

    It felt good to be able to vote in a congressional election again.

    •  I asked a question on Left in Alabama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Southcoast Luna

      that I'll ask here as well...Do you have someone named Ward running? A neighbor across the street just told me that his brother is running trying to get folks to wake up to the fact that they are buying up land for a toxic waste dump or something. He was pretty damn upset.

      I would be too.

      They were hightailing it out to vote. I didn't get to because of transportation issues but we don't have anyone running in the district against Bonner so I can't do much damage by sitting at home. Still I hate not being there in line - I always have so much fun watching everyone try to "read" each other...and relax when they find out they are on the same side...lol.

      I can do everything but earn a living.

      by alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 03:13:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I enjoyed your writing. (5+ / 0-)

    Your description of the family fits as though it were my own.  I grew up in the outskirts of St. Louis - but it was also the south where the prejudices were concerned.  But it also had the prejudices against Italians on the Hill.

    I never followed the "keep your mouth shut to keep the peace", so many of the "gatherings"  I attended were less than pictures of harmony.

    It still, after all of these years, brings home the fact that you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your relatives.  The relatives are the ones that you feel you should be the closest to, yet many times are the ones that you have absolutely nothing in common with, other than a name.

    If cats could talk, they wouldn't.

    by gypsytoo on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 12:38:58 PM PDT

  •  Mobile is nice. (4+ / 0-)

    My grandma on my mom's side was from Mobile (Mobeel as they used to say). We visited many times as children. Back then Alabama was more Democratic as my grandparents were Democrats until Reagun came along. Do you know who Will Kimbrough is? I love his stuff and he lives in Mobile. http://www.willkimbrough.com/

    The thing that I have witnessed throughout the years is that the more conservative my uncles became the nastier they were. No longer friendly to us since we are not from the south and Repug.

  •  Walker County and the civil war. (5+ / 0-)

    I just came across the story of Jones County Miss and it's resistance to the confedarate government. I am currently reading a book Tittled "State of Jones". Basically, this part of history is something that I had never heard about. It has really opened my eyes in ways about the south and opened my mind alot about the south.

    I had also heard that there was the same resistence to the Confederates in Walker County in Alabama. The restistence to the Confederancy was centered in a place called the hill country.

    Maybe if the school down there taught about the 25 negro law and the way that the confederates collected taxes and oppressive means they used then it would help to take the luster off the "Lost Cause".

    •  No one here really remembers the "lost cause" (0+ / 0-)

      as such. They just have residual angst from the families that did resent it and lost so many and so much. Many of the  ones that lost were of course the newly rich like the O'Hara's of Margaret Mitchell's tour de force. I don't think that people appreciate that movie as much as they might if they could see that Mr. O'Hara's losing  his mind is more the point - the horrors of war and the undoing of all that he had worked so hard for, regardless of the reason (after all, he didn't import the slaves, nor invent the plantation, but he merely did what was being done by everyone and he was an old Irishman who had seen his share of misery (we don't really see this but we "know" it just the same) --

      I'm trying to make a connection which is clear in my mind between the story of the soldiers traumatized by war, (I almost said just or unjust, but I don't believe in any war, so it isn't something I can really say) the people battered by the disconnect that exists in our world in every way that we know is happening, and how the forces conspire to cause people to "snap" and do something that is ultimately and immediately detrimental to everyone.   PTSD and cognitive dissonance are real. I'm about to go back to another diary on this one...  

      Many areas had the type of opposition you speak of.  The war has been simplified in our time (and partly I suppose by the movie I just mentioned, as well as other works) but your comment is appreciated, and I'd love to recommend another book to you - it's an old one called In a Dark Garden and I think you will find it deals with similar issues. Also, Greeneville, TN is a historical place (home of Andrew Johnson) where half the town went north and the other south.

      I can do everything but earn a living.

      by alabamaliberal on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 04:35:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keep the faith. (3+ / 0-)

    I know what it is like to be one of the few progressives in a community of right wingers. The place I grew up in there were certain things that everyone around me accepted as gospel truth. God was a Republican and Ronald Reagan was his chosen instrument. And if you even had the audacity to even question these assumptions then you were either evil or at best stupid and deranged.

    Hell, if the local Democratic candidate got anywhere near 45% we would celebrate this as a positive trend. Usually we got about 38%-43%

    It was a frustrating and lonely expereince to say the least.

    Then all of a sudden a few years ago, the impossible happened they elected two Democrats as state representatives. One representing the neighborhood I grew up in. I would have never bet that this could happened. I was sure that this was a sign that Hell had froze over.

    Now the place is a toss up and much more open and open minded than it was.

    So, keep on pushing and just when things seem impossible the impossible can happen.

  •  Love the line about Selma (3+ / 0-)

    and the bridge to nowhere.  That should be totally swipeable by a poitician!

     "Our bridges don't go to nowhere, they go to Selma, Alabama!  And Montgomery, and Birmingham!  Then they go to the  world!"

  •  Another liberal from Bama (5+ / 0-)

    Love this post... I dream the same dream you do.... there is hope for Alabama!!!   I am across the bay in Bay Minette...

    •  Interesting (3+ / 0-)

      I am noticing that many of the Bama liberals are around Mobile area.

      Is this area more progressive than rest of Alabama?

      How has the BP oil spill effected peoples perceptions?

      BTW: I once knew a girl from Mobile. She was very refined and nice but not quite as open minded as I would have liked. Spurned my advances as the genteel folk say.

      •  How I wish the liberals could come out here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell

        but it's just not that easy. They still faint and fallout when I open my mouth, so it must be touchy still. But I'm not gonna shut up.

        Pushed me over the edge it did when Dylan Ratigan & co. started talking about how Obama was so bad, while I'm getting robo calls from Bob Riley (Romney) and Jo Bonner and whoever, and of course Romney hisself...

        and then I hear the black woman say she's not voting, and my son says he's still registered in Georgia,

        and it's raining and my bicycle is not gonna take me where I want to go. And everyone around these parts is afraid to talk to their neighbors. You see a person coming up the driveway around here and it's just as likely to be Seventh Day Adventists or something and I've already had that experience once this week. Nice brochure that came in the mail talking about how afraid we ought to be.

        And I'm afraid all right. I'm afraid that the divisiveness will keep everyone at home. And I hope not, because there are some really pissed off liberals around here, and a whole lotta pissed off conservatives too. And we are all tired of being treated like country bumpkins.

        The money quote for me today (I'm typing too fast because I can't answer all you all (that's all ya'll to southerners) at once but I do appreciate everyone's comments) is this one I heard on MSNBC:

        The demographic in Alabama is Under $100,000 income, no college degree and something something...What the fuck are they talking about? The demographic is

        Under $40,000 and at least three degrees - unless they are republicans and then they are lawyers, bankers and chemical company executives who are sure as hell not opening their mouths in public.

        I can do everything but earn a living.

        by alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 03:01:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hell, I just had to answer the last line of your (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cv lurking gf

        comment separately. I can't find a liberal man around here who can stand up to me because I have this place to help me stay informed.

        Refined? Not likely. LOL...love ya!

        I can do everything but earn a living.

        by alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 03:06:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  liberals in Alabama? (0+ / 0-)

        I know very few liberals around here... Just 'super christians' and 'republicans'..   My parents were liberal educators and refined ....   The refinement and manners I do love.... I am called 'Miss Karen' by anyone under 30 and my sons say "Sir" and "Mam"...  
        I did have my Obama bumper sticker mutilated here.. Just helps the campaign because I buy more so I can replace as needed.  

        •  Karen (0+ / 0-)

          The night after the night of the primary is an interesting one. And I wish I could have gotten out today to see everyone creeping out from under whatever rock they were hiding under. I love the response that the voters made in Alabama and Mississippi - it couldn't have been better for the overall health of the state.

          It has everyone wondering who they've misjudged and how they've misunderstood what their neighbor, friend, and family member was thinking and saying all along.

          I'm fond of referring back to the idea of "know" ing someone else. We get puffed up when we think we know someone and start blaring at them as if they were the enemy and that's when we lose all opportunity to be heard. Exactly the thing that has been happening all along here.

          I'm amused that the phone has stopped ringing and the mail has actually slowed down to something reasonable today for the first time in months. The mail man and I just laugh at the hilarity of the whole thing because "they" not only don't know how to address the voters here, but they don't even know who "they" are...and that's the way it should be.

          Now maybe we can start getting together and listening to one another again...

          I can do everything but earn a living.

          by alabamaliberal on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 07:00:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Birmingham is very blue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cv lurking gf

        I live in Birmingham, in the city proper, which is 70% or so African American and very blue. The suburbs, as noted elsewhere by an AL-06 commenter, are very red (and generally white).

        I work at a major research university, attend a liberal Episcopal church, and live in an integrated neighborhood (by race, country of origin, sexual orientation ... the whole 9 yards). I'm a white Democrat myself. But unless I have business in the 'burbs, there's little reason to feel uncomfortable about it.

        My sample likely is biased by all of the above. But most whites I know in the city are Democrats. The conservative whites I run across are of the "country club Republican variety." Wingnuts tend to move out to the suburbs. They can't stand the diversity in the city.

        The suburbs are slowly changing, though (I grew up south of town in the 70s and early 80s). I think this is in large part because of the university. We are the economic engine of the area.

        The city schools do have a lot of problems. So those who can afford it (such as faculty and senior staff) live in the suburbs if they have children to educate. And they don't fit the red and white mold. I want our city schools to improve. But I can understand that those who have children now need a quality school system now.

        Incidentally, many of the liberal elite (LOL) are native Southerners, if not necessarily native Alabamans. We're more geographically diverse than we used to be, but our reputation as the City Formerly Known as Bombingham is still an issue.

        Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

        by susanala on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 05:59:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It seems we blue Southerners - (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          susanala

          and I don't mean blue blooded - tend to be in cities. Birmingham, New Orleans, Miami - don't think Atlanta is in there anymore, but hope I'm wrong as it was my home. When my beau and I evacuated for a hurricane, after Mississippi would not let anyone from Louisiana go through the state (don't you know we're all looters?), we stayed with my aunt after a 13 hour drive attempting to get to Atlanta and only got 60 miles or so into Mississippi. It was gracious of her. It was during the Repug Convention, and it was on her T.V. Constantly. Loudly. All day. She is one of those, and when CV asked her, after yet another defense of candidate Obama, if she'd buy a car based on the paint color and not the engine, she stared at him for a minute, hard, set her mouth to a thin line, and snapped, "Yes." Nothing quite like having a Southern, Republican, relation.

          "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

          by cv lurking gf on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:21:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I sort of know the feeling (0+ / 0-)

            My mother could not be left alone for a minute the last 9 months of her life. She was cognitively impaired from a ... doctor-induced medication misadventure (another story for another day). Until the April 2011 tornadoes hit her neighborhood, we tried to let her stay in her own home. She had sitters for a 12-hour day shift, and I stayed with her at night until I just couldn't do it anymore.

            Divorced and no kids so if I don't earn the income, nobody does. I was going to the office diligently but was not doing quality work much of the time due to sleep deprivation.

            Anyway ... people try to say what a saint I was, but I always tell them there was only one part that was really hard. Mama watched Bill O'Reilly and Nancy Grace every night. It was her home so I kept my lip zipped. And I knew the end was all too near.

            Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

            by susanala on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:04:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just noticed your reply. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              susanala

              The odd thing for me re my mom versus her sister my aunt, is how progressive my mom was. Mom still had some attitudes, but whereas her sister moved to a small town and is a "big fish" there, my mom stayed in a large city, and managed to be a pretty big fish. She was in real estate, and when the  first African American couple showed up at one of her open houses, she came home and said she'd deal with people like that rather than a lot of the white people - she hadn't encountered such polite, intelligent people in a while. (She specialized in houses at $250,000 and up, twenty plus years ago.) My aunt, she in her mid-eighties and I have an uncle just in his nineties, and they're both scary hard-core repugnants. I figure that generation won't be around much longer, so I can put up with it. But my cousins seem to share so much of their parents' views - how long before that disappears? Maybe the next generation after us. I can hope.

              "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

              by cv lurking gf on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 08:58:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Well we need to meet up. (0+ / 0-)

      Drinking Liberally would work for me.

      Or another idea I had today - the AL.com basketball bracket game - since everyone thinks there's no one in Alabama that knows anything about basketball, let's have some fun over there. My "group" name is AlabamaLiberal and you can find me on Facebook as susan.hales

      Should be an interesting few weeks around here...

      let the good times roll..

      I can do everything but earn a living.

      by alabamaliberal on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 03:03:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If we have more liberals in the deep south (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cv lurking gf

      it woul be better. Ya'll come on down and show some of the folks stuck on Fox how much better things can get.
      My ya'll is real.  I am from Georgia...moved to Florida.
      Deep south can be educated if we get enough liberals to invade.  Come on down, the weather is fine.  

      Great Diary !

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 04:34:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beautifully written and much appreciated. (4+ / 0-)

    I live in California, a decidedly blue state, but in a very, red county.  Not the red county where everybody is rich, educated, and repub for financial reasons, but one where we have our own brand of folks with an ignorance based fear of "the other".  Obviously not any comparison to your situation, but I can understand where you are coming from.  I wish you well.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 02:31:52 PM PDT

  •  Love your writing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cv lurking gf

    And Love your Grit even more. Keep the faith; change is coming.
    Thank you for a lovely blog and responses to other comments.

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