Commentary: It’s really Sweet Home Alabama with the Doug Jones win!

Commentary: It’s really Sweet Home Alabama with the Doug Jones win!
December 21
03:00 2017

Organizations and people take polls to decide who has the best chance of winning contests. It could be about an athletic contest or in this case, a political race.

Leading up to the presidential race last year, most polls had Hillary Clinton winning the White House. As we know, that didn’t happen. The polls were wrong. Some would ask, should we trust the polls? That is a good question and it does make you wonder about them.

Last Tuesday [Dec. 12], all of the polls had Roy Moore as the winner in the Alabama senate race. This seat became vacant when Jeff Sessions vacated the seat to become Attorney General of the United States of America. You remember Roy Moore don’t you? He had multiple allegations against him for sexual harassment. Reports also say that young girls were his victims as well. Moore has admitted no wrongdoing and that it is just our imaginations running away with us. You know, fake news!

Despite all of this chaos and confusion, many people in Alabama held him in high esteem. Some on the outside, like former White House operative Steve Bannon, sang his praises. Why would anybody listen to Bannon, who has a questionable relationship with the current White House?

Not everyone fell for his rhetoric. Mainstream Republicans like Mitch McConnell told, or maybe I should say pleaded, with the people in Alabama not to vote for Roy Moore. What it showed me was that even McConnell had his boundaries of decency and that Roy Moore had clearly crossed them. Senator Richard Shelby, the other senator from Alabama also said that in good conscience, he couldn’t vote for Moore.

But the polls said differently. Doug Jones, the Democrat and Moore’s opponent, didn’t listen to them. He plowed through and didn’t submit to the poll numbers. Many didn’t know that Doug Jones was accustomed to dealing with controversy. Doug Jones was the judge in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing trial. Some would say this incident was a defining moment in the Civil Rights struggle. If you know anything about the Civil Rights Movement, the state of Alabama was at the center of discrimination and segregation. We can only imagine the number of death threats that Doug Jones and his family received.

Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race on Tuesday night. For the second time in a hotly contested election with national implications, the polls were wrong. If you had just listened to the polls, the people in Alabama would have never voted.

However, they decided as voters they had the power and not the poll takers. They believed their votes counted and they did count. As a result of Doug Jones’ apparent victory (it still has to be certified), the Republican majority in the Senate has dwindled to 51-49. This margin will make it even more difficult for this White House to pass laws related to health care and to tax reform. If you thought it was contentious before, just wait as it is going to get even more interesting. The Republicans hold the advantage in both the House and the Senate yet have been unable to pass any significant legislation.

Critics of the White House say that with the Doug Jones win, they have suffered a huge setback. It is my opinion this loss by Moore shows how disjointed the current administration is. They can neither agree to agree, or agree to disagree. As The Temptations sang many years ago, it’s a ball of confusion!

If you wanted a Jones victory and for Alabama not to be the laughing stock of America, you were on the right side of history. To paraphrase Jones, “He said Alabama has taken a lot of detours but it took the right road tonight.”

He will carry himself with dignity and will certainly be respectful, however, he will need patience and be able to compromise. These two attributes have been in short supply on both sides of the aisle. Those senators with a “my way or no way” attitude have found themselves hung up and caught up in a no-win situation. While they may have the theories in concrete, the implementation stages are in sinking sand. Therein lies the failure of this Congress. Holding the advantage only benefits you when you know how to win.

Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama should give voters in red states a ray of hope. The vote unlocks the door to a new day. Look at where we are now. Do you want to remain there?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.” It’s bending now.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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