Ballot issues create excitement for election

By Staff
Scot Beard
Columnist
Alabamians are passionate about many things.
Some are passionate about football while others are passionate about religion.
There are a select few who are so passionate about football that it has become their religion.
One thing I have noticed in my nearly 30 years of living in Alabama is that my fellow citizens are very passionate about politics, although most people are hesitant to express their personal views in a public forum.
I think this will change this year because of a pair of potential items on the ballot.
One item is legalized alcohol sales in Russellville and the other is a gambling amendment for the entire state.
Both of these issues tend to cause everybody to throw their two cents into the argument, which creates quite a bit of tension leading up to election day.
People supporting the legalization of alcohol and gambling will paint the picture of a bright future where every child will be given the best education in the world.
People opposed to the legalization of alcohol and gambling will paint the picture of a dark future where everybody is either killed by a drunk driver or gambles away their money and ends up homeless.
In reality, the truth lies in the middle.
Yes, legalized alcohol and gambling will increase tax revenues. That extra money could be used to fund schools, create jobs or rebuild roads.
That, of course, depends on how the people in charge of that money decide how to spend it.
What starts out as money for education can quickly be diverted to give the folks back home money for a goofy festival — UFO Days — that should not be subsidized by the state in the first place.
Yes, legalized alcohol will make it easier for teens to have access to beer and liquor. There might be a few more drunk drivers.
If a teen wants alcohol, however, he or she will get it and somebody driving drunk from Littleville to Russellville will be on the streets more time than somebody who has to drive two blocks away.
Because people only view the two extremes of this issue, the citizens of Franklin County and people across the state are in for one intense election year.
The opposing sides do not like each other and will do everything possible for their side to prevail.
There will be trash talking. There will be accusations of cheating. There will be sore losers in the end.
That occurs in every election, which is like the average Alabama or Auburn football game.
This year is different though. People will pick their sides publicly and the rancor will last for years to come.
It is like a yearlong Iron Bowl.
Elections are great — especially when such divisive issues are involved.

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