Every Monday at Reran Tragedy, Editor-in-Chief Cal Alabaster Jr. draws on his considerable experience in Southern politics to round up news, notes, and blatantly pasted-in press releases that readers may have otherwise missed.
MONTGOMERY — Human paperweight and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley drew some strange looks last week when he referred to the Affordable Care Act as the worst law ever passed by Congress after the Supreme Court the extensive health care overhaul.
Immediately, detractors pointed out to the governor that congressionally cleared laws like the Prohibition amendment and the Alien and Sedition Acts were much worse than a bill that, among other things, eliminates companies’ refusal to insure those with preexisting conditions. Many charged the governor with preying on the anger and ignorance of many Alabamians about the law to make up for waning confidence in his administration in advance of the 2014 election.
Fed up with negative reaction, Bentley held an impromptu press conference on Sunday in which he defended what many consider the worst and most unjust piece of legislation passed by Congress, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, against the ACA.
“The difference is one [the Fugitive Slave Act] simply enforced the Constitution as the Framers intended it [referring to slavery provisions in the national charter], and the other is expanding it in ways that would make the Framers roll over in their graves,” Bentley said. “It’s just unconscionable to think that we are gonna chase people down and make Alabama pay for them to have health care by having taxes that are gonna kill our economy because no one wants to come to Alabama unless we don’t have those.
“It’s going to create an absolute humanitarian crisis that will make the world wonder about the nature of the American spirit if we keep letting graduate students stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t know how anyone on Capitol Hill can look themselves in the mirror after supporting something that devalues what it is to be a human being.”
Asked how he could say that, given that the Fugitive Slave Act fined federal and state officials if they did not acquiesce to what was often the kidnapping of otherwise free human beings, Bentley said: “Well, it’s much better than them fining actual people for not having health insurance just because Alabama doesn’t want to pay for their Medicaid.
“The fugitive law, I mean, nobody’s getting taxed if they don’t do something if they’re not a federal or state person. Fining people in government for hunting people down like animals and forcing them back into working eight hours a day without pay, that’s just good government. That’s enforcing the law, plus it creates a new source of governmental revenue that isn’t going to interfere with business, but help business.”
Despite the visible discomfort of some of his aides, Bentley went on.
“Plus, the fugitive slave law created a booming new market for bloodhound salesmen. It was a job creator, not a job killer. It helped small businesses.”
Asked how he could describe himself as anything other than racist for his comments, Bentley said: “Now, I don’t want any of you all to go and write that you can’t be enslaved and be happy. You can definitely be slaves and happy, even if you are some poor free black person in Missouri who was kidnapped and taken back to Alabama in the 1850s, you could be happy with all the sunshine and exercise you’re getting as you’re working your way into being a dead slave. It’s good for the soul.
“But no, I think anybody who’s grown up poor in Alabama can tell you you can be a slave and be very happy here.”
While most believed Bentley’s comments very ill-advised, some state officials said they “admire[d] the governor’s general effort toward leadership.” They noted that his ability to defend indefensible laws that go against the ideals America was supposedly founded on has improved immensely since the passage of HB56, the state’s toughest-in-the-country immigration law.
Alabamians celebrate America’s birth by threatening to secede
Alabamians said they are proud to be Americans this holiday as they blusterously threatened to secede from the union because of Supreme Court rulings last week that went against the state’s voters’ stances on state immigration laws and health care reform.
“I love this country. I would die for my freedoms as an American,” said Dale Hall, 47, of Dothan. “But hell, we gonna have to secede because I don’t want to pay for no loser’s health insurance just because he acted like a loser and lost his job in a layoff. My friends ain’t gonna do that neither.
“Sounds like it’s time for Alabama to do what ol’ Honest Abe would have done and set out on his own.”
“Our founders risked their lives and their livelihoods to fight for a country that was free and always right, a place where people were willing to come to our shores for a new and better life,” said Terry Mitchell, 37, of Vestavia Hills. “But by God why in the hell do we have to let so many goddamn illegal Mexicans run all over us all the time? I’m tired of seeing them — that offends me, the way they are talkin’ down at our Walmarts and even some of our Targets. I think that our immigration law has done worked pretty damn fine — y’all come out to ‘I Love America, Day’ in Vestavia and I bet y’all won’t see one damn Mexican-looking bastard one.
“It’s time to honor all those people who came here to fight for a new life by startin’ a new life on our own where we can put up a sign at the border that says ‘Get out and stay out’ to anyone we don’t think deserves to live here.”
Elected leaders said they are also open to the idea of secession.
“I like America-place a whole lot, but I wanna be Fart-King of Farts-Berg,” said State Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, who has introduced legislative measures both aimed at counteracting the federal health care law and scaring off illegal immigrants. “I talked to the Kansas Secretary of State [Kris Kobach, who wrote Alabama’s immigration law], and he said he thinks it’s a good idea to secededin’, and obviously he has Alabama’s best interests at heart!
“Maybe we can get rid of the Jewborigines. What with their chopsticks and all.”
Other elected officials, however, said that while some public support seems to be there for Alabama’s secession, they would prefer to wait and see whether interest wanes. They also said they would look to Gov. Bentley for leadership on the issue.
Because of the latter point, it is expected that Alabama will be invaded by Tennessee later this year.
Birminghamians enjoying doing stupid shit in record heatwave
As a heatwave scorched the country, setting new temperature records around the Southeast, Birminghamians said they were really enjoying not having any common f—ing sense during the hot weather.
“I tell ya what, it’s a hot one,” said Kyle Connell, 28, of Homewood, while greasing himself with Crisco before going for a “fierce, long-form sprint” without any hydration at around 3 Sunday afternoon. “It’s times like this that I just love to throw caution to the wind, pour all my bottled water down the sink, turn the air conditioner off and see if I can give myself the baddest-assed heatstroke you have ever seen.”
“I woke up this morning, felt the heat coming from the window, and just thought, ‘You know, I’ve never tried slowly moonwalking while jaywalking across Highway 31 before,’” said Martha Phillips, 34, a mother of two from Hoover. “Sure, I could do it fast, but Lord it’s hot out. I’m sure the drivers will appreciate me taking my sweet time.
“Maybe I can do it while walking with a cane or even one of those walkers with the tennis balls on it.”
“Who would ever expect it to get hot in June in Alabama?” said Mike Clemons, 24, of Birmingham, before he ordered another oversized glass of salt water and another stack of jalapeno cornbread from the deck of Moe’s Original BBQ in Lakeview. “I’m sure I’m supposed to be doing something to make it through this heat, but eh, whoever heard of anything bad happening because of hot weather.
“Now, if you’ll hold on a moment, I need to make sure my car is still running with the air conditioner full blast and the hood opened to expose the engine to the maximum amount of sunlight possible.”
Residents said they cannot wait for cooler severe weather, in which they say they plan to drive straight into flash-flooded roads or play “slip-N-slide tag with the trailer truck” on icy roads.
Weekend headlines from Alabama papers
The Birmingham News: “Holy sweet mother of God it’s hot f— here’s a story about some people in Hoover holy f— they’re hot and in a kiddie pool filled with Aloe Vera holy shit we all gonna die who knew it got hot in the South hottttt.”
Mobile Press-Register: “Welcome and hand over your money, Independence Day tourist cattle!”
The Huntsville Times: “MOTHER OF GOD WHY ARE YOU TALKING MORE ABOUT HOW IT IS HOT OUR ASS IS STUCK TO OUR UNDERPANTST WE CAN’T LET THE ROCKETS LIVE LIKE THIS—“
Daily Mountain Eagle: “Jasper author pleased to announce her newest hometown inspired work, a racy romance noel titled ’50 Sheds of Grey’”
Also Daily Mountain Eagle: “Sakura Japanese Restaurant unveiling a new ‘Jasper Roll.’ Chef says it’s potted meat wrapped in Copenhagen, with just a hint of meth.”
The Cullman Times: “Cullman residents celebrate July 4th by doubling number of Confederate flags attached to four-wheelers”
This week in Alabama history
On July 5, 1819, the convention that drafted the first of Alabama’s six state constitutions began in Huntsville.
Delegates admitted that developing the right charter for the state would be a process of trial and error, writing that they “have to get the balance of racism, classism, and administrative dysfunction just right if we are to live up to the kind of state we and our descendents [sic] would hope to live in.”
Reran Tragedy is Weld’s satirical blog about politics and life in Alabama and the South. Much of what you will read here is fictionalized, except for all the parts that are unfortunately true because they are about politics and life in Alabama and the South. You can follow it on Twitter @ReranTragedy. You can reach the blog’s author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The artist known as Cal Alabaster Jr., if that is his or her real name, may or may not also be the author of the Alabama humor blog called “King Cockfight.” If true, you may read Cal’s work there at kingcockfight.wordpress.com