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Dec
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Surprise: Faith, Hope and Pride from an Election in Alabama

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“The people of Alabama have shown the rest of the country the way.”

Doug Jones victory speech on December 12, 2017

After months of national ridicule for our Senate election, I was surprised to receive thank you’s from friends and family across the country because Alabama elected Doug Jones. Hope, faith and pride were the words of the night and grownups hugged and cried at coffee shops and bars when the results were announced. It was a night where black and white voters cheered an election together. In Alabama.
It was a strange day. All of the signs, literally, pointed to Jones and it was hard to find a Moore yard sign from Mobile to Elberta. A protestor in Bienville Square started Women Against Roy Moore with her last $5 because she had been a victim of sexual assault. One voter was excited to see more “black folks and queer folks” at his polling place. People signed up to be on the South Baldwin County Democrat’s mailing lists and signed the petition for Mark Johnson to run as an independent for governor in 2018. Today the state that hosted the first rally for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign sent a message of change. Political analysts called it a “transformative election.”
This election is transformative for the image of Alabama and for the many people who believe that Alabama can be better, despite our politicians. Those who held on to hope for change in Alabama when it would be easier to live somewhere else. People like Lisa Singer who knocked on 74 doors and walked 8.4 miles yesterday to encourage people to vote for Jones.
There were rallies with Steve Bannon, Moore in a cowboy hat waving a pistol, and protesting handmaidens. The national media was here so often that we got to know them by name. Vaughn Hillyard of NBC predicted that Jones couldn’t win because “If the ballot had a picture of a squirrel next to the R, the squirrel would win.”
But it feels so good to read this from Thomas Friedman, one of my favorite columnists:

“There are so many things I could say right now after watching Doug Jones defeat Roy Moore in the Senate race in Alabama, but for me it comes down to just two words: “Thank you.”

Thank you to the majority of Alabamians for loving our country more than you hated Democrats. Thank you for voting as citizens, not as members of a tribe.

God bless every one of you. Yours was a deeply patriotic act.”
 
A French reporter spent a week in Alabama trying to understand Roy Moore and why the people of Alabama would vote for him. He asked, “Why is this guy in the center of attention of U.S. politics and the world? This election is important because if he wins or loses affects decisions in the Senate and symbolizes a lot of things about what is going on in America today.”
I hope he writes a new ending for his story because Alabama now symbolizes something bigger than politics. Hope, faith, unity and pride. This is our time to help show the country the way. Congratulations Alabama.
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