“Alabama Politics-A Game of Shadows”

Whenever most adults refer to someone being “Shady” or standing “In The Shadows,” I believe we usually think of “The Dark Side, Evil, Corruption.” And, over the last few years, Alabamians have been become very familiar with the term “Dark Money” when talking about certain “Alabama Politicians.”

But, what about “The Philanthropists”? Don’t Philanthropists often want their actions to remain anonymous? I believe these Saintly individuals are usually thought of as “Silently standing in the background”.

Thought: “Dark Money” or “Philanthropy”? Identify the “Intent” and the “Recipient” of “The Fruit.”

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[Philanthropist: a wealthy person who gives money and time to help make life better for other people.]

During my tour-of-duty in the Alabama State House I have become increasingly aware of the “intent” and the “recipients” of “Political Fruit”. And, without a doubt, I have never detected any Saints silently standing in the background. What I have detected are very powerful people intrenched with years in Alabama politics skillfully playing “A Game of Shadows.”

Should we blame the lobbyists representing Big Business for playing a lead role in “Alabama Politics’ Game of Shadows”? I don’t think so. Now, they are key players in our state’s political game of darkness. But, I believe it’s the Alabama Politician’s arrogance and greed who have worked very hard over the years to develop and fine tune this game to be what it is today. I see Alabama Politics as a POLITICAL SYSTEM carefully designed by Alabama Politicians to disguise “The Voices Coming From The Shadows” as “The People’s Voice”. But, it’s actually a very well designed machine that skillfully directs “The people’s Money” to selected groups of individuals.

Genesis 27:22 (NIV) Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “This voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”

Let me make myself very clear: Lobbyists representing Big Business should not be blamed for the darkness that has consumed Alabama Politics. They are just lobbying to promote legislation that will benefit the business, or businesses, they were hired to represent. They know there is no law against “Making Friends.” Heck, neither the lobbyists walking in the shadowy halls of the Alabama State House or their clients can cast one vote on any legislation. However, they do have the resources that can hopefully establish “Friendships” that could be instrumental in their “Friends” voting for legislation they want passed. And those resources of “Friendship” aren’t always campaign contributions. I have colleagues who have taken free trips to “conferences” across the United States, and traveled to several foreign countries in the name of “economic
development.” (Remember, it takes at least TWO to have a “friendship.”)

Thought: Under the current system in the Alabama House of Representatives, the House Speaker is really the only person a lobbyist in the Alabama State House needs as a “friend.” When you have a system where one person can dictate which legislation will be heard in a committee and which legislation will not be heard in a committee, well, how much power do the other 104 elected State Representatives actually have? (Not much!)

Alabama doesn’t have a lobbyist problem. Our problem lies in the House Rules that have been tweaked, amended, and passed down by career politicians for decades. Politicians who have enjoyed the “Perks of Friendship” for looking the other way and allowing a “One Person” system to control all of the legislation in Alabama State Politics. It’s Alabama Politicians playing a well designed Game of
Shadows. Their “Friends” are in the shadows and the citizens of Alabama remain in the dark.

How can Alabamians remove the people who have stood in the shadows and motivated Alabama Politicians for decades? They can encourage their State Representative to elect a new House Speaker who will turn the lights back on in the State House hallways and give the “Voice of The People” back to THEIR elected Representatives.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the many friends who helped me get elected to the Alabama Legislature. It’s hard to accept that I’m a part of a system that has been designed to diminish and often times remove the voice of the individuals who trusted me with their voice.

A few days ago I opened a book a dear friend had sent me just after I was first elected. When I opened the book entitled “POOR BUT PROUD, Alabama’s Poor Whites”, I discovered a letter my friend had slipped inside the pages. Knowing that my friend Steve Kennedy is now home with Jesus, I felt a huge tug at my heart. A Christian brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend to people he had never met. Steve was a reflection of the good that is all around us in this great state. Steve Kennedy did not stand in the shadows manipulating others so he could benefit. (He was a big man that worked very hard to create a shade for a lot of people he loved.) My friend did stand quietly in the background looking for ways to help others he didn’t know. He truly was a Godly Man who I miss having the opportunity to talk to. But, in typical Steve Kennedy fashion, his recently discovered letter has touched my heart and strengthened my conviction to stay the course for the people who elected me to be their voice.

In Steve’s letter he wrote: “ Allen, I don’t know much about present day Alabama politics, but I do see the effects of past politics everywhere I look in Alabama that have held the state down for so long. This is one of the reasons I am so excited to see people like you in office; there is hope.”

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard a voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

God Bless America!!!

Allen Farley represents portions of Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the Alabama Legislature’s House District 15. Representative Farley can be contacted at allenfarley@bellsouth.net, or (205)-960-7526.
Representative Farley’s blogs can be viewed at
allenfarley.wordpress.com