Bent(ley) On Destruction
Back in 2010, Robert Julian Bentley, the candidate, decided to make a dramatic statement by officially changing his birth name to "Doctor Robert Bentley" in order to be hailed as the physician for a state suffering from a anemic economy and high unemployment. He had planned to run on his new name until party leaders refused to waive its policy of not allowing nicknames on the ballot. Bentley discarded his God given name of 68 years for political expediency.
This small and silly vignette gave a glimpse of what was in store for the citizens of Alabama. Governor Bentley maneuvered through the next six years complete with tornado tragedies, football national championships, staggering government debt, vacuous educational policies, and big mule politics all the while glossing over governmental malfeasance at the highest levels in exchange for ribbon cuttings and the intoxicating appearance of power such a position holds.
The current affair in which Bentley finds himself is nothing new. We need only look to our neighbor to the east in South Carolina where that noble State endured the sordid tale of its former governor Mark Sanford who admitted in 2009 to an eight year relationship with an Argentine journalist. Like Bentley, Sanford faced Articles of Impeachment and an investigation by the Ethics Commission which identified 37 violations. Ultimately, however, Sanford was NOT removed from office in part because "the charges did not warrant overturning an election". His wife of over twenty years divorced him in 2010 and moved out of the Governor's mansion with their four children. Most pundits confidently predicted Sanford's political demise. In fact, Sanford was subsequently elected and currently serves in the U. S. House of Representatives. What ever happened to Sanford'sparamour? After a short engagement, the two broke it off in 2014, but remain friends.
Bentley's political future might seem to be on a similar trajectory but for the fact that the tangled weave of ALEA and Speaker Hubbard suggests otherwise. You should not listen to the embarrassing tapes Mrs. Bentley recorded to prove her husband's infidelity.
You should not gawk at each new revelation or tweet or post for the sake of deriding a pathetic situation which is more akin to Chaucer's Merchant's Tale. Instead, our focus should be on examining legitimate government functions we elect our representatives to perform. The fact that Mrs. Mason has resigned from being Bentley's senior political adviser solves nothing. It only serves to highlight the incestuous relationship our laws allow between business interests, both profit and non profit and our elected officials.
This situation will not end well for anyone. Mrs. Mason will follow the same path as Sanford's consort. Former Director Collier's good reputation may be reinstated but the bell has been rung, Those law enforcement officers who were fired or reassigned will never again have confidence in a system they once swore to protect. Representative Mike Hubbard's tactics will soon be in the spotlight which will reveal even more unwelcome behavior in state politics. And all the innocent families impacted crumble, while seeking to understand how good people can go so horribly bad. Many at times like this, turn to the Bible.
2 Samuel Chapters 11 and 12 tell of the great king David and his infatuation with a married woman Bathsheba. She loved her husband Uriah but David used his power and government resources to have his way with her and in so doing brought destruction to himself and his people. Governor Bentley finds himself in a similar scenario today. It should not be lost on critics that Governor Bentley's children coincidently include the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The message in those New Testament books of Christ's life reminds us all we are all sinners, worthy of God's wrath but for His saving grace. Pray for our State, our leaders and seek forgiveness for the stones in our hands.