In Alabama this week something unexpected happened. For the first time in 25 years a Democrat won a Senate seat. The odds were stacked against Senator Jones, but despite this, he won with a 1.5% lead over his opponent, accused sexual predator, Christian extremist, and twice removed from office, Judge Roy Moore.
If you’ve read my blog you can probably gather that I voted for Jones. I’m not a Republican, but even if I were, Moore would not have had my vote. Unfortunately Roy Moore represents an unsavory and downright disgusting offshoot of conservatism that terrifies many of us, as it should. So, Tuesday’s special election results brought about late night phone calls and happy dancing all around my house, social circle, and neighborhood (I’m very fortunate to live in a small pocket of blue in an overwhelmingly red state).
As these things tend to go, every time I have happy news or sad news, there is one phone call I want to make, but can’t.
Before her death my mother had left the Republican party. A lifelong Christian Conservative, she’d had her beliefs challenged repeatedly by her environment and her social circle. It was easy for her to be a Conservative Christian in the 90’s and early 2000’s, when I was growing up, because we lived in small southern towns that were predominately white and Christian. But, when she moved to Memphis a decade ago her entire perspective was challenged. And she came out wholly transformed. She was a Christian until her death, but she leaned far more liberal than she ever had. And when she got cancer and relied on the ACA for healthcare coverage, she walked away from the GOP entirely.
My mother passed away before she had to watch Donald Trump win the presidential election in 2016. I have many times thanked God for this. I’m so glad I didn’t have to make that particular phone call. I’m glad we never had to have fearful discussions about what this would mean for her cancer coverage. My mother died believing that Bernie Sanders would win the DNC nomination and then win the presidency. She died with hope for this country. So, I’m glad she never knew the truth.
But, the events on Tuesday night would have made Mama proud. She would have excitedly voted Doug Jones (Roy Moore would have enraged her…I can almost hear what she’d have been saying about him, likely while she slung dishes around.) Roy Moore represents the controlling, abusive marriage she walked away from in the late 90’s. He represents decades of manipulation and Christian extremism she fed into for the first part of her adult life. She would look at Roy Moore and see the life she escaped. And then proudly voted Jones.
So, that is a phone call I wish I could have made. The phone call to make sure she’d seen the news that on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Alabama did something right. And as I’ve said before, there will always be those phone calls. For the rest of my life there will be news, both happy and sad, good and bad, that I’ll wish I could tell her. Regardless of anything else she was or we went through because of her choices, she was my mother. And her absence leaves a space unclaimed on my Recent Calls list. And that will never not hurt.
I miss you, Mama. I hope Alabama made you proud this week. I hope I make you proud too.