On Tuesday, Alabama voters showed that many of them are genuinely interested in living in the 21st century by approving an amendment that could start the process of removing 119-year-old racist language from the state’s constitution.
From the Montgomery Advertiser:
As of 10:48 p.m., Amendment 4 had 878,300 yes votes (66%) in incomplete, unofficial returns. About 456,867 Alabamians (34.2%) voted against the measure, a symbolic measure that proponents said would allow the state to show the world that it was trying to move beyond the sins of its past.
The amendment will let the Legislative Reference Service (LRS) start a recompilation of the Alabama Constitution, which will reorganize amendments to reflect the county they affect and consolidate scattered economic development language.
The main purpose of the measure is purging the state’s governing document of racist language, reflecting its undemocratic origins. The 1901 Constitution was framed to disenfranchise Blacks and poor whites, and includes language that bans interracial marriage and requires public schools to be segregated.
Wait a minute...
Don’t get me wrong: It’s a wonderful thing that a strong majority of Alabama voters are not quite racist enough to believe that Black and white kids going to school together is a thing not of God. But how is it that, in the final quarter of 2020, the “keep thine Blacky hands off my heavenly white daughter’s undergarments” passage in the state’s constitution is still OK with so many people? (I don’t know the exact language in their constitution and I’m pretty sure 19th century Alabamans didn’t know the word “thine”...I’m just saying.)
According to the Associated Press, the amendment received 67 percent approval once all votes were counted, but the final number who voted against it is over 585,000.
Mind you, we’re not even talking about an amendment that directly makes the changes to the constitution which, by the way, was written in 1901, according to AP. We’re literally talking about an amendment to recognize future amendments.
In fact, AP reports that Alabama voters rejected similar proposals that were on the ballots twice since 2000.
So it’s progress and that’s great, but damn, a lot of Alabamans still appear to be adhering to the true spirit of “Make America Great Again.”
Anyway, according to WSFA 12, Amendment 4 is one of six amendments that were on the ballot in Alabama. Two of the amendments deal with changing the language of the constitution while others applied to specific counties and districts. Five out of the six measures passed. Amendment 2—a measure to make the rules for governing the state court system “less confusing” (Yikes!)—is still pending, WSFA reports.