Doug Jones and Alabama – what does it mean?

By Reade Brower | Dec 21, 2017

Watching Doug Jones rally against Roy Moore in the Alabama special Senate election this month was fascinating.

Jones surged ahead, after falling behind, and though it stayed extremely close, was proclaimed the winner with the majority of the precincts reporting before 11 p.m. Dec. 12.

The fact that it was a race surprised many, as Alabama’s religious right has a stronghold; Jones is the first elected Democratic senator in 35 years.

Captain Obvious: this race was lost by Moore because of his scandals. He couldn’t distance himself through his denials, and his claims that he was a righteous man. It was not fake news that he was thrown out of a mall and asked never to return, or that his accusers were many and believable. Should he be presumed innocent of sexual misconduct with underage women? Of course. That’s not what doomed him. It was not who did not vote for Jones, rather who did.

Watching political returns is recreational sport; dissecting results is more science. The numbers told the story; what ended up putting Jones over the top was voter turnout – specifically, the black vote and other minorities; I think I saw a graphic showing that he garnered 98 percent of the black vote.

When the minority are galvanized, they can be unstoppable. Perhaps that’s what worries some of the white elite in power (who want to stay there by divide and conquer, counting on apathy and the disenfranchised staying on the sidelines).

While all other factors played into this narrow victory, the larger-than-normal turnout of black voters put this race in the win column and is the roadmap to the future of the Democratic Party. Perhaps this will provide those who have given up on the system hope, and the understanding that they can make a difference.

This election was “black power” at its rawest.


My column of Nov. 30, “The case of the missing principal,” got some attention from a couple of readers who felt I overstepped. A former RSU 40 School Board member representing Waldoboro asserted in his comment online that “voyeurism had no place in the process” and that “Mr. Brower appears to desire more salacious and sensational reporting than simple, fact-based journalism.”

A reader added he hoped “Reade will re-evaluate this article and perhaps offer a more legalistic explanation to align with the process as being followed by the school board."

I have done just that, reconsidered my position. With the recent resignation of the principal, my position shifts, but the premise of what I wrote doesn’t.

While I understand that policy should be followed, the current policy doesn’t serve the students, teachers, parents or community.

I could care less about the details; the comment that I desired “salacious and sensational reporting” is off the mark and diverts from the real issue; truth.

Not explaining why your principal is AWOL opens the door to gossip, innuendo and unfairness to the AWOL principal. All we’re looking for is a statement of who is in charge and a simple and honest explanation of what’s happening; neither was provided.

In this case, there were closed meetings with no information shared; it felt like a coverup. They were most probably blindsided by the situation, didn’t know how to respond, and just said nothing, leaving doubt and worry in everyone’s mind.

What they did seemed unprofessional (it’s your job to step up when crises occur) and a little bit silly. The statement that the district had concern for the “safety of the students” was cryptic and not helpful.

Protocol and policy do need to be followed; consider changing the policy to better help everyone understand what is happening (no details needed).


Hits and misses

Patrisha McLean hits the mark in the Camden Herald with her “Home for the Holidays” column on life after divorce and her discovery that home and heart collide.

Paula Sutton hits and misses the mark in her commentary “Legislature did not thwart voters’ will with changes to referendum bills.” While she makes legitimate points about fixing errors in legalizing marijuana and reinstating the tip credit, she conveniently leaves out the mandate that Maine’s wealthiest foot the bill for education with a 3 percent surtax; she and the Republicans flat-out won’t do it and don’t care about the citizens' mandate. With ranked choice voting; if it’s not constitutional, fix it – that’s what Mainers voted for.

Tom Seymour swings and misses in his Republican Journal column; “Trump the Promise Keeper,” crowing about all the Trump promises kept, most memorably a replica of his promised wall (a wall that would not have kept out any terrorist attack I know of) and of candidate Trump’s promise of no more “happy holidays.” Instead, Tom writes, “Merry Christmas now rings through the White House”. Do these fulfillments of promises really move us forward? Let’s drink to it anyway; pass me some eggnog, would you?


“All human beings should try and learn before they die what they are running from and why.”

--- James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

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