Consider this a suggestion to turn east.
Last weekend's debate on health-care reform in the U.S. House of Representatives was a show in the worst sense of the word. Congressional Republicans, out of power and unable to stop the Democratic bill, opted to go over the top.
Several representatives from Georgia, Alabama's neighbor to the east, vigorously took up the cause of opposing health-care reform.
Rep. Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican from Athens, said passage will "destroy America as we know it today." Earlier, he called the bill a "rotten, stinking fish," a vivid description of an honest (if imperfect) attempt by Congress to offer more Americans health insurance.
The bill is "bad for America," said Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Georgia Republican whose district stretches from the Alabama border to suburban Atlanta.
The prize for disruption during the House's floor debate Saturday went to Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Roswell.
As a collection of Democratic lawmakers advocated on behalf of the bill, Price repeatedly interrupted them, shouting, "I object. I object. I object. I object" (An online video is available here.
It was a pathetic and childish display, a mark of a political party left with little other than parliamentary tricks and rudeness.
Alabamians, however, can look at Georgia and breathe a sigh of relief.
Yes, Alabama's seven representatives, including three Democrats, voted against health-care reform Saturday.
Yes, one of those nays came from Rep. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, who is a physician. In a statement following passage of the House's health-care bill, Griffith said he opposed the measure's public-option provision, a policy aimed at "reforming a system around a scarcity."
Yes, Griffith missed a great opportunity to tell his constituents that the bill before the House has the potential to fundamentally improve health care in Alabama, where poverty and a lack of adequate health care are a fact of life for too many in this state.
Yes, he could have noted the current for-profit U.S. health-care system denies and limits coverage as oppressively as any government bureaucrat occupying the typical Republican's nightmares.
Yes, the delegation willingly chose to place themselves on the wrong side of history, the side of irrelevancy.
Was it for ideology?
Was it to please Alabama constituents who (a.) are generally fearful of government's role in health care and, in direct contradiction, (b.) are the beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, S-CHIP and other programs that could be labeled government-run health care?
Regardless, the vote is recorded and it's a shame that none of Alabama's representatives could support the bill, which heads to the Senate and an uncertain future.
All that's left to cling to is that Alabama lawmakers opposed health-care reform but had the sense of decorum to avoid the spotlight illuminating the sideshow antics of Georgia's congressmen.