Who is the queen of your double-wide trailer?
Country artist Sammie Kershaw said it best: “Sometimes she runs off and I've gotta trail her, dang her black heart and her pretty red neck.”
Those lyrics were in his 1993 hit, “Queen of my Double-Wide Trailer.” The song follows his love interest, who keeps running off but always comes back. He has to really work to get her where he wants her. It’s not okay to have to struggle that hard in a relationship or even in politics. Heck, if it is that difficult, just move on. Love should be easy and so should policy decisions. But it seems all too often our leaders are muddying the water by focusing on things that don’t really matter.
For example, over the past year of campaigning, at least two candidates in Alabama have pointed out the fact that they lived in a trailer in their younger years. They are striving for a humble look but to me, it looks as cheap as the “polyester curtains” hung in their single-wides.
First, former Senate Candidate Jessica Taylor made it a point to say her life all began in a trailer park. By the way, I really liked Taylor as a candidate until she dropped out of the race this week. She seemed to have more substance than I’m used to seeing in a politician. Just this week, Governor candidate Lindy Blanchard released her campaign commercials saying she started out life in a trailer.
Ok? So did I.
I get it you are trying to act like you remember how hard it was to make a life for yourself after years of growing up in a mobile home, but really that doesn’t mean much to me. Here’s why.
I did start out in a trailer in Anniston and it wasn’t long before my parents put our home on wheels and moved up to Pelham to Green Park South Mobile Home Park. I can still smell those prefabricated wall panels and plush brown carpet. Those were the 'good ole days."
Thinking of how tiny my room was, makes me feel cozy. It was full of Barbies and baby dolls and I could play in there for hours. It was when I went on the outside that I realized things weren’t that great for me. I remember looking outside at the neighbor’s trailer, which had a much bigger bay window and feeling envious. My friend down the road even had a step in her trailer. A step from the living room into the kitchen was a big deal. And a garden tub? Oh yeah. Her mom even had silk sheets on her bed. Peach silk sheets. But I didn’t have any of that.
It wasn’t long before my parents decided to build a house. In the meantime, we lived in a townhome, but that wasn’t much better than the aluminum can in Pelham. We moved into a “real house” in McCalla and it was where I did most of my growing up. Throughout the years, my dad worked hard. My mom worked hard. It didn’t matter where we lived. They worked hard and stuck to their Alabama values.
All kinds of people live in trailers. Hard workers, poor people, good people, bad people, disabled people, people who give too much to others and not enough to themselves, even rich people.
Kid Rock lives in a trailer. Of course, it’s one of his many homes and I am sure it is massive compared to our single-wide in Pelham. But he is just that kind of guy. He talks about it all of the time and loves living in a trailer.
My point is, it doesn’t matter where you grew up or where you got your start. Way to go on your efforts to connect with people, but how about you get real?
You don’t live in a trailer now, you make more money than most voters will understand, and you are not the same person you were when you were living in that tiny home. I don’t care about your trailer park roots. Tell me about where you are on policy.
I have requested interviews and have been told it would happen by at least two current candidates in statewide races. I am hoping for the best. For all the candidates out there, there is really no reason to not be open and honest and sit down with a journalist to tell your real story.
What do you want for the future? Stop living in the past and tell me what you can do for the people of Alabama.
Do you want a lottery?
What will you do about government spending? Specifically, on itself.
How are you going to work to relieve the economic strain of people in Alabama?
Why should we trust you?
What are your plans for education?
What about Medicare?
Federal government overreach?
I seriously could go on forever, but I am not seeing straightforward answers. Heck, I am not seeing a response to interviews I am promised, in some cases.
Just as plain as I can smell the fresh wood of the deck built on my trailer in 1985, I can smell the vagueness in a Sweet Home Alabama election … again. In 2018, Gov. Kay Ivey said she would have some policies coming down to address jobs, education and economic development, but when asked about those policies, she refused to divulge them. If you have been watching, some could say Ivey came through with her promises, but why the secrecy? How do we know you are legit if you won't reveal your policy plans?
It’s time for Alabama to stand up and elect officials that are as real as their campaign commercials make them out to be. Ask the questions and if you don’t get real answers, ask more questions.
If you don’t get real answers, you’re not dealing with a real leader.
So the question is, who will be the queen of your double-wide trailer?
Erica Thomas is Managing Editor of 1819 News. The views and opinions expressed her are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.