Letter to the Editor:
By Peggy Wallace Kennedy –
When you spend you entire life in the world of politics, sometimes the longest walk home is from your mailbox to the kitchen table. Monday, October 29th, was one of those days.
Mixed among a utility bill, a church bulletin and three advertisements was a large-sized, four-color mailer from the Alabama Republican Party. At first, I was amused at the thought of the postage it cost to send a political flyer to the wife of the Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, but then I read what it said.
On one side was a picture of a screaming mob and on the flip, a picture of a group of white men with a large photo of President Barack Obama imposed on top. And there it was, a slogan that was made famous by my father, Governor George Wallace, when in 1962, he rose to power on the wings of hate and fear using a mantra for racism that would become his trademark, “Stand up for Alabama.”
Those words became the coded call to arms to whites in Alabama and throughout the south to protect the culture and values of racism and segregation.
As a child, I stood on the backs of flatbed trucks decked with red white and blue bunting and confederate flags and witnessed the power of the politics of rage that engulfed crowds as they chanted “Stand up for Alabama.”
And after all those years, it is hard to conceive that while my father came to terms with his past on his own road to Jericho and sought forgiveness from those he harmed, the Alabama Republican Party has reached back into history and has become what my father ultimately denounced.
The 21st Century version of “Stand Up for Alabama” should be a proclamation of inclusion, a hope for the end of economic discrimination, a call for the protection of the rights of those that have no voice, and a commitment to a future where honest conversation and the exchange of ideas douses the flames of hatred and exclusion.
Often it is not what is said that is important but rather it is what is not said that marks the character and heart of a person or a political party. The George Wallace of 1962 did not have to be explicit in his political rhetoric of racism because the phrase “Stand up for Alabama” said it all.
There is no question that our President is African American. But for those that may have doubt, refer them to the leadership of the Republican Party. They will be more than happy to remind you.
I encourage you all to go to the polls today and to stand up for what is right about Alabama, and that is clearly not the vision offered by the leadership in the Alabama Republican Party.
Peggy Wallace Kennedy is the daughter of George C. Wallace and Lurleen Wallace, who both served as governors of Alabama. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband, Judge Mark Kennedy, the Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party. They have two sons.
© 2012, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.