There may be someone on this planet who doesn’t know what’s happening in Alabama today. Those folks need to patent whatever they’ve been imbibing to reach that state of obliviousness.
We’re not saying that to be coy, silly or insulting — and the answer is the special U.S. Senate election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.
We’ve just lived through the last month plus a few days since the Washington Post’s initial report (of the many that followed from the Post and other outlets) about allegations that Moore behaved inappropriately with teenage girls back in the 1970s.
We’ve seen Alabama placed in the kind of spotlight it’s not seen since the 1960s, another culturally and politically polarized time in this country’s history.
We’ve seen outside political operatives on both sides who normally wouldn’t waste time either defending or contesting such a set-in-concrete GOP stronghold treat this race as Armageddon, because of the heat surrounding Moore and the potential ramifications for who’ll control the Senate.
We’ve seen media not just from the U.S., but from around the world descend on Alabama — and Gadsden in particular — looking for “stuff.” Too broad a word you say? OK — looking for answers to countless questions, most of which start with “why”; looking for what makes the people here tick (and what makes them so innately stubborn); looking for dirt (we aren’t naive).
It’s almost over.
Pause and rewind: We’re aware that there will be a week or two of proctological analysis after today’s vote and, depending on who wins, the prospect of controversy and turmoil in the Senate. So it may not be time for those who have been praying for Dec. 13 to arrive to cue the balloons, horns and streamers.
Still, it will be so much noise once Alabamians vote — and we hope you do that.
We’re not going to tell you how to vote — we haven’t endorsed political candidates in years, and we doubt anyone would listen to us now if we changed course — and we’re not going to question or criticize anyone’s motivation for picking Jones or Moore, whether it’s over sheer party loyalty, a single issue or an assortment of reasons.
What we’d like to see is a true reflection of the wishes of Alabama’s voters. A weak turnout for this race would be embarrassing, and not just because it’s drawn so much attention. This is too important to be decided by a quarter of the electorate.
We know some folks just want this to go away. We know others are disgusted by the way the campaign and the media coverage have gone. We know others have thrown up their hands at the two choices.
Our message: Pull yourself together and do your duty as a citizen, whether you vote for one of the major candidates or make a statement with a write-in vote.
The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Be there and let your voice be heard, in the key of your choice.