A point proven
From the Anniston Star
In our opinion
09-02-2008

Just imagine what the authors of the 1901 Alabama Constitution would have thought.

Last Thursday, Alabamians were talking about undoing their evil schemes. The occasion was the 2nd annual Bailey Thomson Awards Luncheon, which was sponsored by the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation.

Guests gathered in two places — Mobile and Birmingham. The sites were connected by a video signal.

As much as the advances of technology would have stunned the 1901 constitutionalists, the crowd's makeup would have seen them in a catatonic state. The crowd — men and women, blacks and whites, young and old — gathered in the spirit of reform, in hopes of improving the state they call home.

Why, the landed gentry who wrote a love letter to racism and economic self-interest in the form of a state constitution would have needed a fainting couch.

The races were mixing. Strong, talented black women like Barbara Drummond, ACCR Foundation trustee, spoke with force about fixing what ails Alabama.

The luncheon honored Bailey Thomson, a brilliant writer who died in 2003. A series of editorials in Mobile's Press-Register successfully called out the ways the state's governing document shackles people and good government.

The event's keynote speaker, retired Alabama congressman Jack Edwards, interjected how the filthy document rejects the Biblical commands so many Alabamians hold.

Wayne Flynt, noted historian and recipient of the 2008 Bailey Thomson Award, spoke of constitutional reform's enemies. The modern-day descendants of the 1901 crowd, Flynt said, have hit a wall. Their arguments are intellectually bankrupt. They play on fears that are losing their sting as the glories of the enlightenment take hold.

So, you bet the 1901 Constitution authors, a pale and male group dedicated to racial segregation and scare tactics, would have been shocked.

Sort of proves the point of how times change.

Tragically, the 1901 Constitution hasn't.

The speakers last Thursday assured the crowd that change in the form of a constitutional rewrite was not too far down the road.

If that happens, a 107-year-old burden placed by constitutional writers will finally be lifted from the backs of Alabamians

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