The lyrics of the song introduced at Carnegie Hall in 1964 by the genius Nina Simone are just as true today as they were 53 years ago:
“Alabama’s got me so upset,
“Tennessee made me lose my rest,
“But everybody knows about Mississippi, goddamn…”
Alabamians actually boast, when folks complain about that state’s worse-than-Third-World living conditions: “At least we’re not Mississippi.”
Indeed, in every demographic category — infant mortality, life expectancy, literacy, etc. — Alabama ranks 49th of 50 U.S. states in every bad measurement. Only Mississippi has a lower quality of life than Alabama.
But this month, in a bit of role reversal befitting only the Jim Crow South, Alabama stands to elect a creepy judge who would have been lynched several times for the behavior he’s accused of with girls as young as 14, if he were black. In Mississippi, a black man simply looking at a white woman could get lynched for a crime known as “eyeball rape.”
But Roy Moore, a Bible-thumping holy moralist who was removed twice from his position as chief judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, stood as a formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate, when he should have been run out of the state like Richard Pryor’s character “Mudbone” who had to leave the South to save his life.
President Trump has a part in this drama. After backing his Republican opponent in the primary, The Donald has now gotten on board, endorsing and campaigning via robocall for Moore, who has been accused by eight women — whose accounts were corroborated by 30 more witnesses — of predatory, abusive sexual behavior 34 years ago when the women were girls, between the ages of 14 and 18.
White Republicans back Moore, even those who claim that evangelical Christian teachings and beliefs guide their lives. They would rather have a pedophile who professes the 10 Commandments, rather than a Democrat, or any other kind of liberal.
Inside a recreated jail cell where civil rights workers were imprisoned in the 1960s, there was a checker board. It was made of bread given to inmates at the state prison, the red pieces were marked with blood from the beatings the innocent volunteers endured. Near there, the president spoke.
“The Civil Rights Museum records the oppression, cruelty and injustice inflicted on the African-American community,” 45 said. “The fight to end slavery, to break down Jim Crow, to end segregation, to gain the right to vote, and to achieve the sacred birthright of equality here. And that’s big stuff. That’s big stuff. Those are very big phrases. Very big words.”
But the Pres was snubbed by many officials.
Jackson Mayor Antar Chokwe Lumumba, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who represents Jackson, and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) all stayed away, attending an alternative event at another location.
“I believe that Trump’s presence is a distraction,” Lumumba said. “His policies don’t reflect his statements that this is a movement that will bring people together. Trump has not demonstrated a continuing dedication to the ideals the civil rights movement upholds. I didn’t want to share the stage with Trump.”
So even as worrisome as Mississippi has been lo these many, many generations, in 2017, Alabama just might be even more loathsome a place than Mississippi, with this implacable white political mindset which literally has made what everyone knows to be “evil fair seeming,” as the Scriptures describe their wicked behavior.
What is amazing about this contemptible set of circumstances — 45 is “draining the Washington swamp” and filling it with alligators — is the brazenness, the open contempt for any kind of common decency these characters exhibit.
Moore and 45 grew up about the same time, thousands of miles apart from each other, but both grew up to be dangerous sexual predators, who grope and feel women at will, and who lie about as quickly as they take their next breath.
If I may paraphrase Miss Nina Simone here: Alabama, Mar-a-Lago, Mississippi, goddamn! And I mean every word of it.