To the Rest of America, From an Alabamian

By Catherine Miele

You guys—scratch that, Y’ALL—we did it!

We campaigned, we spoke up, we raised funds, we got out, and we voted to defeat an extremist, self-serving man—and alleged sexual predator—twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court.

I am not sure outsiders realize how monumental the election of Doug Jones is for both Alabama and America.

It’s yuuuggge.

For the first time in years—possibly ever—I can boldly and non-ironically say that I am proud to be born and raised in Alabama.

As I go about my business today with an enormous grin on my face, I am hopeful. I am cognizant that margins were much too close for comfort—and that, as of now, Roy Moore has yet to concede his loss—but I am full of cautious optimism, pride, love of my sisters and brothers, and, yes, an invigorated sense of hope.

Last night as the results poured in, I felt the sting of defeat and the waning of hope dance within my butterfly-filled tummy. I had flashbacks to the anxiety and disappointment of the 2016 presidential election, where it all seemed like the world was crashing down and we’d never wake up from our collective nightmare.

And, yet, I knew that the urban precincts had yet to be counted, and I was glued to the New York Times and NPR like, well, glue.

Alabama is a special sort of animal (a horse named Sassy, perhaps?).

For one, it’s a beautiful, ecologically diverse state.

We have sugar-sand beaches, mountains and caverns in the north, and some of the most fertile soil and deltas in the country.

We build rockets in the north, cars in the center, and aircraft and ships on the coast.

And yet, Alabama’s heart lies elsewhere, in the places we build—and walk across—bridges.

The soul and heart of my state—my home—lies amidst the dichotomy of right and wrong, red and blue, Governor George Wallace and Rosa Parks.

Ever since I became passionate about Civil Rights, I’ve believed that Alabama is itself a crossroads.

It is in Alabama that some of the most atrocious crimes and sins against humanity have occurred, but it’s also deep within our state lines that kindness and justice have historically prevailed.

I admit that we have a long way to go. White men and women overwhelmingly voted for Moore despite his ineptitude and absence of a moral compass, and only time will tell if Doug Jones can live up to his promise and potential.

It’s easy to say “thank you!” to the minority voters and millennials who showed up—against historical odds—to vote in this election, but it’s a greater challenge to follow through with our thanks and actually advocate for the folks in our margins.

Alabama—you may have dodged a bullet on this one—but America is still watching.

I am aware, and I am encouraged, optimistic, and ready to #resist. I’m emboldened to continue this fight, because, if ALA-freaking-BAMA can do it, anybody can.

Catherine is part of the Contributing Writer Network. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.

Featured image via Unsplash.

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