Ever since Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill made public his bid as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, the phrase "Alabama Values" was uttered. Whether it was meant to coincide with the slogan "Make America Great Again" by the current occupant in the Oval Office is anyone's guess.

To a trained observer, particularly one from a community of color who also happens to be from a working-class community, the gist is gotten. If "Alabama Values" means a return to segregated policies with regard to access to education, economic opportunity or voting rights, refusal to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, ecological segregation and environmental unconformities that effect the health and wellness of its population, which would result in developmental issues in its children, his values are sadistic. If such values include maintaining the status quo in favor of the wealthiest residents of the state without equal opportunity or justice against its residents of color, women, the poor and those in the LGBTQ community, Sec. Merrill is your champion for maintaining white privilege.

"Alabama Values" are not new to this state; they have existed since this state's foundation, from its role in the slave trade, its rank during the Civil War onto Reconstruction and up into the Civil Rights era, where George Wallace stood in front of the entrance of the University of Alabama having stated, "Segregation now, segregation forever"--until 1972 when an assassination attempt took the use of his legs. It did, however, caused him to rethink his "Alabama Values."

Being that this is Alabama's Centennial year, its history--good or bad--should be fully evaluated. Sec. Merrill's "Alabama Values" are not American values. A rising tide can't lift all boats if they are in the everlasting dry-docks of social, economic, ecological, misogynistic, and environmental segregation.

Sanford S. Williams

Geneva

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