A love letter to Alabama: On Valentine’s Day, let us count the reasons to adore this state
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Feb 13, 2013 | 3471 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Deonte Williams, 13, and Ronald Smith, 10, play basketball as the sun sets in Greenwood Park in Birmingham. Photo: Mark Almond/The Birmingham News/Associated Press
Deonte Williams, 13, and Ronald Smith, 10, play basketball as the sun sets in Greenwood Park in Birmingham. Photo: Mark Almond/The Birmingham News/Associated Press
Oh, Alabama, we love thee.

On this Valentine’s Day, you give us hope amid our frustrations. Your spirit buoys us. Your people’s grit and determination motivate us when we fight for the common good of all.

Your beauty is to die for. Your rolling hills and Southern-style mountains are gorgeous. Your beaches are among the nation’s best. Your rivers and streams, even with the damage caused by man’s mistakes, are pleasant. Your forests, those protected and those not, are hikers’ dreams.

Your weather, despite its depressing days, is one reason why we live here. If only the hand of God would do away with the terrorizing winds of your tornados.

Your spirituality and camaraderie are an inspiration. By and large, Alabamians love other Alabamians in almost-biblical ways of stewardship. Alabamians stick together; in times of need, there is no left and right; there is only us.

Your air is clean, mostly free from the smog and grime of large cities and industrial towns. There is nothing like the breeze felt on a spring or fall day in Alabama. It refreshes the soul.

Your past is troubled — racial strife, dumbfounded leadership — but your future holds promise, if you will grasp it. You possess the opportunity to cast away the sins of yesteryear and select a path of progressiveness and equality. The choice is yours.

You are neither Mississippi nor Georgia, your east-west neighbors. Mississippi wishes it were you, while Georgia is often overshadowed by its monstrous capital city. You are Alabama — proudly so.

You are uniquely positioned to become the next Southern star. Low taxes, pleasant weather and a sizeable Gulf Coast port make you a pin-up beauty for industrial recruiters. You have opportunity, you have possibilities, you have a future others wish they had.

But, oh, Alabama, as much as we love thee, you also are hard to love. We wish that weren’t the case.

Your Legislature is in a funk. Infiltrated by small-minded politicians who won’t stray from ideological pits, the Legislature takes you down wrong paths. It hinders your growth. Your governor is Gov. Shrug, a man who governs down, not up. Your state is drifting in a leadership-less abyss.

Likewise, your government is a fist to the face. It taxes the poor unfairly. It rewards the rich. It demonizes illegal immigrants. It operates its penal system in an inhumane manner. It devalues state services and social safety nets. If we were ever to break up, your government might be to blame.

But don’t fret, Alabama. For all your foibles and missteps, we’re hooked on you. There’s too much to love to have it any other way.
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