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Thu Dec 7, 2017, 03:39 PM

Harper Lee, then 78, warned about Roy Moore: "I dread the advent of the Roy Moore administration."

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12 years ago, "To Kill A Mockingbird" novelist Harper Lee, then 78, warned about Roy Moore: 'I dread the advent of the Roy Moore administration." http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/12/harper_lee_roy_moore_and_alaba.html @aldotcom @mlh_holmes

Harper Lee, Roy Moore and Alabama values

By Guest Voices
on December 05, 2017 at 11:47 AM, updated December 05, 2017 at 11:51 AM

By Wayne Flynt, an historian of Alabama who has written nine books about the state, the most recent being Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century and Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee.

After reading a copy of my book, Alabama in the Twentieth Century, novelist Harper Lee wrote me a letter on February 18, 2005, expressing her fears about the direction her beloved state was headed based on its past: "It looks like to hell if we don't get some things changed. . . . I dread the advent of Roy Moore's administration but its coming sure as doomsday. What is wrong with us? Are you old enough to remember when people were less ignorant? I am."

Eighteen months later, on the day she received the Birmingham Pledge Foundation award for a lifetime devoted to racial reconciliation and justice, I arranged for her to talk with high school students, half of them black and half white, half from one of the poorest schools in western Birmingham, and the other half from Mountain Brook High School in one of America's wealthiest suburbs. They had joined their remarkable musical and acting talents to produce the play To Kill a Mockingbird. What she perceived of their kindness toward each other, their mutual respect, and their genuine friendship forged in months of rehearsals changed her pessimism about the state's future. ... She wrote me on September 17, 2006, that she had seen "a side of Alabama that didn't exist a quarter century ago: determination to face up to our history, to claim it and profit from it. If our generation can't rise to the challenge of change, perhaps those young people and their generation can."

Those young people are grown now, and the ones who remain in Alabama are no doubt registered to vote if only because of that transformational time spent with one of our exiled prophets, of reading and performing her vision of the beloved and just society. And because they understand the stakes in the U. S. Senate race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore. And make no mistake about it: that election on December 12 is not just a meaningless backdrop to national politics played out in a provincial state. It is a window through which we will gaze into America's soul, understand its deepest anxieties and its most confused religious and moral values.

Based on my continuing contact with those students now grown up, none of them will vote for Roy Moore. To them, he represents the old Alabama of Robert E. Lee Ewell, of lynching and the sexual abuse of women. Law to Moore is merely an instrument of exclusion and oppression, whether of women, teenage girls, African Americans, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, or homosexuals. He is a deluded theocrat who believes that God's conversations with him determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, not the words written by the Founding Fathers or their interpretation by the U. S. Supreme Court.

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