Instead Of Resisting Change Alabama Should Embrace Change, Hold It Tight, Not Let Go - U2 Feedback

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Old 06-16-2003, 08:33 PM   #1
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Instead Of Resisting Change Alabama Should Embrace Change, Hold It Tight, Not Let Go

I voted for this guy and I am glad that I did. Honestly, I voted for him partially because I KNEW that he would raise my state income and property taxes, and I see that as the first step in moving this state forward. He's bringing about major tax reform in all areas; some will pay more, some will get relief. He is offended that a family of 4 making $4,000 annually is currently subject to state income taxes, and he is relieving them of that (up to a much higher annual income). Timber interests will now have to pay more than the current $8 per acre annually for their expansive holdings. We will still have the lowest property taxes in the country.

He has gone against many of his campaign donors from the business sector and an organization that calls itself the Christian Coalition of Alabama, and therein lies my unfortunate prediction: he will not be re-elected to a second term; he probably won't even make it out of the Republican primary in 2006. If his tax reform package passes the will of the voters this fall, this state will be a better place for it as early as 5 years from now, and 10 years from now we will have moved from #49 and #50 on many of the national rankings. All of the opposing campaigns, Republican and Democratic, will focus on him sponsoring the biggest tax increase ($1.23 billion) in state history.

The irony of the "Christian Coalition of Alabama" opposing his tax plan is that the state's two largest Protestant denominations have endorsed tax reform. The Southern Baptist Convention of Alabama has passed a resolution saying that tax reform in general needs to be accomplished to make the system more fair to everyone. The Alabama/West Florida Conference and the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church just last week passed resolutions SPECIFICALLY endorsing Governor Riley's tax proposal. Yet the "Christian Coalition of Alabama" has stated that they are "Biblically opposed" to any more taxes on working people. What church does the "Christian Coalition of Alabama" represent that is opposed to a fairer system that will actually give tax RELIEF to many of the poorest, hardest working families with children?

I'm sure most of you here can find something to hate about Governor Riley (beginning with the fact that he is a Republican and had a conservative record in the U.S. Congress), but I am honestly impressed with the guts he has to do what he is doing. He has reached out to groups such as the black caucus of the Democratic Party whom Republican predecessors ignored and whom Democratic governors couldn't stay in good graces with, and with the help of the caucus and suburban Republicans and moderate rural Demcrats in the State House and Senate, he has gotten most of his plan through the legislature and on the road to a statewide referendum.

He has a lot of guts, and I hope he gets to share in the glory of his accomplishments of his reform plan. This is just the first part of it; the next step is Constitutional Reform, a plan to modernize our currently racist and loathsome document from the early 1900s that was crafted by segregationist post-Recnostructionists. Good luck, Bob.


From The Birmingham News

Riley wants state to leave the past

Governor: Change will brighten future


News staff writer

As a gubernatorial candidate and a governor, Bob Riley has talked about changing Alabama so fundamentally that it will never be the same.

His massive tax and accountability package may be the most prominent example of that aim. Riley knows that package, which voters will accept or reject in a September referendum, is up against what he recently called the state's historic resistance to "change in all its forms no matter how right or moral or needed that change must be."

That resistance is a major part of Alabama's image that Riley wants to change. More than once since becoming governor, he has said that image will change when Alabamians no longer let themselves be hobbled by a preoccupation with the past, in particular the strife-torn years of the civil rights era.

Riley made the point again last week. The occasion was the closing program at the University of Alabama's observance of the 40th anniversary of Gov. George Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door" a largely symbolic and an unsuccessful attempt to stop two black students, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood, from enrolling at UA.

The governor, who as a UA student watched the historic June 11, 1963, events, praised the courage of Jones and Hood, saying "they tore down walls that had stood in this state for well over 100 years ... and created a more decent and moral Alabama.

"I believe that instead of resisting change, Alabama should embrace change, should hold it tight and never let it go," Riley said.

Rain forced Riley to shorten his speech, but he spoke long enough to reflect his concern that the state must change its way of looking at itself and his frustration with how others those in the media look at the state.

"We need to remember our history and celebrate what is good about it and regret what is bad about it ... ," reads a passage from the prepared text of Riley's speech. "The Alabama of today is vastly different than the Alabama of 1963," the text continues. "Just look around the crowd tonight, and you'll see a diverse group of people that 40 years ago could not have come together without creating controversy ... without creating fear ... That is the Alabama I know ... and that is the Alabama the rest of the nation needs to know."

Afterward, discussing why he wants the state to put its recent past in perspective, Riley said, "Probably as much as anything because I am tired of seeing Alabama portrayed through these black-and-white grainy images that we all have seen for the last 30 or 40 years."

Positive reaction:

He said the audience reacted positively when he said Alabamians ought to move beyond thinking of themselves as blacks or whites, Democrats or Republicans, but as Alabamians who have achieved much. Yet afterward, the image problem came at him when a black man "I think he was from Indiana" asked if he could have his photo taken with him.

"He said, `I want to take a picture with the governor of Alabama ... because the people will not believe that a black man can come up and get his picture made with the governor of Alabama,'" Riley said. "I think it reinforces what I'm trying to say. We've got to get past that."

Debate over history particularly history that has been full of wrenching changes seems to be an ongoing feature of the present-day South. To Alabamians, Riley seems to be saying, "Don't forget the history, just don't become so hung up on it that you can't see how we've changed and how many more things we have in common than things that divide us."

Clarence Mohr, a Southern historian who heads the history department at the University of South Alabama, said he could understand Riley's frustrations with the state being reduced to a one-dimensional image of racial conflict.

"I would probably feel the same way if I were in his situation," Mohr said. "But you deal with that ... by not dancing around it but by making it a part of the moral compass that you follow.

"I think there's a fine line here that has to be walked," said Mohr, who grew up in Decatur. "We don't want to be obsessively focused on a particular moment or episode in the history of segregation but, on the other hand, we can't pretend that segregation didn't exist and that it wasn't the evil institution that it in fact was."

The history of the movement that overturned that institution is still too fresh, too many of its participants still among the living, too many of its monuments not too long in the Earth, for it not to be remembered in prime-time ways. For many black Alabamians, observing the civil rights era anniversaries is way for them to celebrate a heritage that, until recent decades, was not acknowledged with the monuments and holidays that whites had established to observe their own history.

Indeed, a century ago, Civil War anniversaries were observed with great fanfare, because the memory of the war was fresh, many veterans were still living. But Mohr said those commemorations generally focused on the valor of the soldiers and not on the underlying causes of the conflict, particularly slavery.

"Southerners have spent, in my own lifetime, a good deal of effort trying to escape their own history and deny their own history," Mohr said. "I guess I would agree that we shouldn't be imprisoned by the past, but if we are going to transcend the past, we first have to confront it and come to terms with it."

At last week's UA program, Vivian Malone Jones spoke of her experience in 1963, making it fresh for those who did not live it. But Jones also said history that is fresh today can go stale tomorrow, particularly if it is painful.

"Things that are very painful, we forget them easily," she said.[/b]

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Old 06-16-2003, 09:36 PM   #2
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I think you mentioned his Democratic opponent here once, and he sounded like my concept of a Republican. Likewise, this guy sounds like my concept of a Democrat. You also know that I hate the Christian Coalition to the furthest extent I can hate an entity and here's a further example for people.

I don't know much about him or his policies, aside from what you've written thus far, but so far, so good!


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Old 06-16-2003, 10:03 PM   #3
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Yet the "Christian Coalition of Alabama" has stated that they are "Biblically opposed" to any more taxes on working people.

Are they not just whoring religion for their selfish motives?

A few months back I read a lengthy article about how old and out dated your state constitution is.

I recently read an article about your tax system and how many live in such abject poverty. The article stated that the Republican Governor would propose raising taxes.

I thought about you and wondered what you would think about these issues. I think you are right in supporting these changes.

I have heard many in the GOP go on about how much they hate all taxes.
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Old 06-16-2003, 10:43 PM   #4
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I feel for Southerners like you, Bama. Saddled with such a history, a history that you didn't create, but one that must be lived down and atoned for anyway. This guy sounds like the one who may be able to start the ball rolling toward that atonement. The people who oppose him based on his tax stand are using taxes as a smokescreen. Soon no one will be fooled, and their true agenda will be revealed and rejected.

Even if he isn't reelected, the steps he's helping your state take are steps in the right direction, and once that starts to happen, it's very hard to go too far back.
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Old 06-16-2003, 11:48 PM   #5
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good stuff bama.
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Old 06-17-2003, 02:47 PM   #6
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I'm also from Alabama, and I think this guy is really making some great changes. Our present state constitution is a dinosaur (it dates from 1901). Our previous governors have been dinosaurs if you ask me. Now you know why I'm an independent. Voting Democratic doesn't always cut it in this neck of the woods if you're looking for real progress. I don't like the Christian Coalition. They are a bunch of dinosaurs too.
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Old 06-17-2003, 09:49 PM   #7
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Well, the Constitutional Reform movement is happening sooner than expected. They legislature ended their special session at midnight last night and, finally, after 102 years, passed legislation to remove all references to the poll tax! This was one of the first archaic items Riley pointed out when campaigning for Governor; lack of local control of local ordinances is another. Small but significant steps...

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Old 06-18-2003, 06:30 PM   #8
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Cool! No more stupid poll tax! Keep up the good work Bob!

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