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If there’s one unifying mantra among Alabama Republicans, it’s that they absolutely hate the idea of the federal government ever telling the state what it can or can’t do. In fact, they’ve built their whole myopic platform and individual careers on the defiant and cynical concept of “We dare defend our rights”. Yet, the epitome of irony and hypocrisy is that these same folks feel it’s perfectly acceptable for the Alabama state government to rule local communities with an iron fist.

Want to raise the minimum wage in your small city in Alabama? Well, the state passed legislation that says you can’t.

Want to get rid of a monument to a failed, racist coup that’s in front of the courthouse? Well, the legislature says you’re stuck with it.

Want to prohibit single-use plastic bags that are an environmental nightmare choking streams and clogging landfills? Well, there’s pending legislation that will prevent local communities from having any say in that.

That’s right, HB 346 and SB 244 are identical bills moving their way through the legislature that will prevent local communities from banning single-use plastics. You know, like the bags of bags in a bag that seem to multiply on their own under your kitchen cabinet that you sparingly re-use to line the small trash container in your bathroom.

The bills’ sponsors don’t want you to look behind the plastic curtain to discover that they’ve taken money from the Koch brothers who, coincidentally, make a fortune from manufacturing… single-use plastic grocery bags. It appears that these Republicans dare to defend their rights to force the rest of us to use these bags rather than face the horrifying inconvenience of using a few cloth bags we keep in our trunk the next time we head to the store. God forbid that anyone might think that we could be in league with those New Green Deal hippie libtards! Wading through piles of plastic litter on the way to go fishing is a small price to pay to avoid the terrifying, shameful prospect of having to remember to bring our own reusable bags to the Kroger! How dare they take away our FREE bags that we stockpile by the hundreds to line our bathroom trash container? Oh, the horror.

Um, yeah, this is absurd.

It’s absurd because local communities realize the negative impact of creating all this plastic trash when they know that there are sensible, inexpensive ways that they can be better stewards of the environment. People see trash and litter everywhere and they are sick of it, and in some cases, getting sick from it.  Unfortunately, the legislature seems to care more about defending the rights of the Koch brothers to make money from destroying the environment, than our rights to do something proactive to clean up our local parks and overburdened landfills.

For whatever delusional reason, the Republicans think that any environmentally friendly proposal is somehow an egregious affront to the sacred altar of capitalism. No, it’s not. Local communities should have the right to decide if they want to ban bags without interference from the Goat Hill geniuses.

Let’s just say that it takes an incredible amount of hutzpah for Alabama Republicans to support any bill that limits communities from making their own decisions on issues like this. This is a perfect example of what’s wrong with our misguided 1901 State Constitution and why we need a new one as soon as possible. For a party that continually decries the evils of governmental overreach, they sure seem on board with it if it means making a few bucks from lobbyists.

Alabama Republicans have hypocrisy in the bag and you can bet that they’ll reuse that bag as long as we let them.

Clete Wetli

Clete Wetli is former Chair of the Madison County Democrats and a liberal political activist.
Clete Wetli