With another election gone by, many voters are left bewildered by the behavior of many, especially in the state of Alabama. Like many other Southern states, Alabama struggles with an existence that could only be described as image versus reality: in the minds of many, there is a reputation to maintain, while in reality, there is only one reputation that people see. Students, professors, small business owners, and other professionals pontificate on how to turn Alabama in the direction of progress, but they are held back by those who prefer the image instead of harsh truths. In reality, constituents will have to return to the issues in front of them before the state can regain its footing in today’s society.
First and foremost, infrastructure is going to mean the difference between which states encourage investment and which are going to be ignored for bigger fish. In Alabama, there are very few major cities upon which the state can rely, as the state is more of a combination of farming entities and rural communities. With public works being questionable in areas that have previously been segregated, many bigger entities – or even newer smaller entities – will be less inclined to spend the money that would bring the city current. If the state wants to gain attention, road conditions and the digital divide are the biggest challenges for Alabama.
Education is also a big question for a state that has a couple of good universities, but is largely unknown in the world of education. There are many who homeschool, but in a state where the digital divide is more common than swamp vegetation, many citizens are put at a disadvantage. Theoretically, it is less important what people actually learn than whether people learn how to teach themselves. Consequently, it is crucial that highly trained educators and the proper resources allow more Alabamans to instruct themselves rather than debate the possibilities of an education overhaul.
Finally, the state of Alabama will have to return to a dialogue with its residents that enables it to communicate with the rest of the country. Differing values are never problems within themselves, but the state will continue to be in flux if government entities and residents are unable to participate in meaningful discussions about progress. Many marginalized communities are found within Alabama, and without resources or proper information, the citizens will be unable or unwilling to build the political will to change those circumstances.
Truthfully, the state of Alabama will have to return to the issues. There are several ideologies that garner massive attention, but a state cannot be run by whatever fad is popular. States are run by people and their relationships to resources and accessibility to infrastructure. Without direct focus, Alabama will fall into such disrepair that it would be impossible for it to recover within the lifetimes of its residents.