When the Alabama Legislature was feverishly pushing the gas tax hike, did you ever hear a legislator say, “Let the People Vote?” Or how about this one: “I am personally pro-life, but I believe a woman has a right to choose?"
The latest use of this ever-popular legislative phrase is, “I am personally opposed to the expansion of casino gambling, but let the people vote.”
The phrase, “Let the People Vote,” has been in Alabama since the last lottery vote miserably failed years ago. Given that gambling or gaming appears to be headed back to the ballot, it’s time to talk about this phrase – the cowardly legislative bait-and-switch, two-step tap dance of “Let the People Vote.”
Alabama legislators cannot pass a simple statutory bill expanding gambling. The only way they can constitutionally legalize it is by removing the lottery prohibition from the Alabama Constitution.
Let me assure the readership with all certainty that large-scale casino gambling in Alabama would already be here if it was as simple as passing a statutory bill like raising taxes on gasoline. Instead, legislators must sweet talk and sugarcoat the idea for the public because passing a constitutional amendment is an extraordinarily weighty matter.
Here is the bottom line: Any legislator who votes yes on the proposed constitutional amendment is saying they think gambling is good public policy and want their constituency to affirm this vote. But what gets me is when a legislator says, “I am personally against gambling, but I am allowing my people the right to vote.”
Hogwash!! That legislator is not giving you the right to vote, the Alabama Constitution gives you that right.
You remember the cliché, “two-faced?” Letting the people vote is trademark double-dealing; it’s insincere, deceitful, weak, cowardly, disingenuous, and counterfeit. Legislators say, “Let the People Vote,” on the one hand while raking in big gambling bucks, posh trips, fancy dinners and the like with the other. The gambling bosses over the decades have made charlatans out of once-good people.
Many public policy discussions make our blood boil through disingenuous and deceitful elected officials at the state and national level, but this should send us all over the moon.
Next time you hear a legislator declare they are giving you the right to vote on gambling, I urge you to ask the following questions: Do you think a seedy gambling industry that preys on the poor, our elderly, and youth is good public policy? Have you accepted gambling money – direct or indirect – washed and sanitized through several PACs? And why are we talking about regulating an already illegal enterprise? Why not just close them down? Furthermore, did you commit to a lobbyist representing the gambling lobby that you would vote yes on the constitutional amendment? Good luck with getting truthful answers to these questions.
In the Garden of Eden, the Lord was emphatic about not eating the beautiful fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Once Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they were immediately separated from God and curses of life were unleashed on them.
“Let the People Vote” appears to be a beautiful piece of fruit on the tree, giving you the option to partake. But the curses unleashed on this state following a pro-lottery vote will be immeasurable. The gambling industry will corrupt government at all levels, white-collar crime will increase, as will embezzlement, while addictions will destroy the lives of the poor, the elderly, and our young people. This outwardly beautiful fruit is loaded with worms and rot. Simply put, GAMBLING IS POOR PUBLIC POLICY!
“Let the People Vote!” Unfortunately, that phrase is the pinnacle of deception.
John spent nearly 15 years as Executive Vice President in the family business, Giles Enterprises, and has served in various leadership and advisory roles in the State of Alabama. Today, John and his wife Deborah quietly reside at Agnus Dei Farm, enjoying visits from their children and 12 grandchildren.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News.
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