Tim James is running for Governor of Alabama. Like his father, Fob James Jr, former governor of Alabama, he is a Republican and is hoping to make it through the primaries in June.
I’m neither Republican or Democrat. I tend to look at various issues, listen to what the candidates have to say and base my decision that way. Most of the time I tend to vote Democrat but I have been known to back a Republican or two. Because I cover my entire county for Examiner.com and because I want to make an informed decision, I’ve been keeping up with a variety of candidates in one way or another.
Take a look at the latest ad campaign of Tim James by clicking this link. Go ahead, I’ll wait. It’s only 33 seconds long.
On the outside, this seems like a perfectly reasonable thing. I agree that Alabama shouldn’t waste money on having the tests in 12 different languages. I mean, twelve languages?! I was shocked. I understand why some might think it necessary but when you’re in an economic crisis such as we are in, you have to cut costs. I agree that cutting it down to 2 languages, at the least, is a good idea and a good cost cutting measure.
But this is an easy thing to do. It’s so mundane, in fact, that I wonder why Tim James would spend the money to run an ad campaign about it. When I really thought about the reasons behind it, it made me physically ill.
“This is Alabama,” Tim James says in the video. “We speak English. If you wanna live here, learn it.” Wait. What?
I suddenly had flashbacks of an incident that happened in a nearby grocery store a few years back. This grocery store was the place to go to for check cashing if you didn’t have a bank account which a lot of folks didn’t around these parts. I was in the store on a Friday, notorious pay day, waiting in a check out line near the window that did the check cashing. A sign had been posted at that window that stated, “No Dinero.” A white man walked up to the window and asked the woman behind the counter, “You don’t have any money?”
“Oh, we have money, we just don’t have any dinero,” she stated with a sickly laugh.
It’s discrimination. It’s hate. Whether you call it racism or xenophobia (like my friend, Councilman Bill Potter), it is what it is.
I also agree that there needs to be something done about illegal immigration. The problem is widespread and growing. Alabama’s Hispanic population has been growing steady over the last several years. I know particularly in my area, there are almost as many Hispanics as there are white folk. But not every Hispanic is illegal. Many of them have the necessary documentation in order to be in the country legally. To group them all together in stereotypical fashion is just wrong. And again, it portrays hate.
And when you listen to Tim James’s statement, it is clear that he’s appealing to those people who are discriminating against Hispanics in general. This is despicable to me. This has nothing to do with cutting costs or working on the illegal immigration problem. This is a statement meant to play off of people’s hate.
For as much harping as I’ve done about people who make fun of or down Alabama, calling us all slow thinking, racist, redneck hicks, Tim James does no favors portraying us as anything different. He will not get my vote.
I’m pretty sure my European ancestors didn’t know English when they first arrived in the United States. As a matter of fact, my Native American ancestors who already lived here didn’t know English either.