Voters motivated by fear, racism, and Jesus

While enjoying my preteen years in Bibb County, Alabama, I first heard of the concept of “wet” and “dry” counties. Bibb was dry then and has stubbornly remained so throughout my life.

Early in this century the state finally allowed individual cities within counties to vote individually on alcohol sales. In Bibb there are four municipalities that currently sell demon rum while the rest of the county is dry and being saved from the ravages of Hell. Hope the city limit boundaries are well drawn.

I remember a phrase from those years that explained the issue. My parents were good Baptists and non-drinkers, even when no one was around, talked of the coalition of Baptists and bootleggers – two disparate groups that worked independently for their own interests, but helped each other keep legal alcohol from being available in Bibb County for so long.

Jesus draped in the flag holding his shotgun beside still waters-F

Currently in the state of Alabama there is a coalition that works very similarly in keeping my home state firmly locked into the bottom five American states in nearly every measurable life quality category. Conservative Christians, including the Baptists, have locked political strategies with several disparate groups to keep Alabama from reaching any semblance of progress.

The recent draconian abortion law, which includes instances of rape and incest, is getting national headlines, but there are several other issues that fit into the same mindset – closing health facilities in poor in mostly black counties, eradicating voting places in those same locations to “save taxpayers money,” and following the national playbook for conservative issues across America. Alabama fits comfortably into the mold of unrepentant Red State right down to the majority populace that continues voting against their own best interests to save the state from Outside Agitators, Hollywood Elites, Secular Liberals, and Illegal Aliens.

The Alabama Legislature also refused to hear a bill that would have allowed yoga to be practiced in state schools even after it was watered down to keep the Religious Right from attacking it for spiritual reasons.

When Muslims make laws based on religious belief it is evil Sharia law. When Christians suggest it, it is right and proper. If a recent story in Rolling Stone magazine is accurate, Donald Trump’s popularity is primarily based on a deal made with Jerry Falwell Jr. to help fix a questionable and very un-Christian situation in exchange for his endorsement.

Christians, both in and out of Alabama are rallying around our current president to keep America Conservative by cherry picking religious beliefs that fit into political beliefs. All kinds of folks are quoting the Bible to justify hating minorities and LGBT folks, but I’ve yet to hear of anyone quoting scripture from Matthew, Mark or Luke about how hard it is for rich men to get to Heaven. The issue is controversial but so is the Bible’s take on homosexuality. Many religious scholars point out that the abomination of the Sodomites wasn’t same sex relations but greed and failing to help the poor.

The irony is that the current presidential administration, and the political party that supports him without fail or question, is eroding the First Amendment, weakening the press, threatening reporters with prison, making a fortune for the president and his cronies off government policy, and refusing to cooperate with normal rule of law. Yet, the proud citizens that continue to vote Republican are worried about Democrats turning America into some kind of Socialist Banana Republic.

Don’t expect this to change in Alabama or any other red state in the union. The only way to defeat voters motivated by fear, racism, and Jesus, is to outnumber them.

A story that came to light as I was writing this says it all. An Alabama auto dealership is offering an unbeatable deal for America’s Independence Day – anyone buying a new vehicle before July 31 will receive a 12 gauge shotgun, a Bible, and an American Flag.

Make America Great Again, indeed.


Image Credit: Jesus draped in the flag holding his shotgun beside still waters is parody – a composite image created by inspired by an image represented to be from an unsafe site (; the background image is a painting by © Simon Dewey  found at (promotional image/parody); the shotgun from (promotional image/parody); and the flag is an image by © Mark Nazh licensed by at with contributions by generous readers like you.

Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.