Friday, May 14, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama!

Last weekend... Mother's Day Weekend... I attended a large church in Kentucky. During the sermon, the minister spoke very meaningfully and quite eloquently. I consider him one of the most gifted communicators in the country.... very talented! But, surprisingly, in the middle of his sermon, he made not one, but two, disparaging comments about the state of Alabama. Without going into detail, let's just say he didn't paint Alabama in a very favorable light. I think he was trying to be funny... using Alabama as the butt of a joke. But, the audience didn't even laugh... they just simply moaned.... kind of like..."I can't believe he just said that..."

He is a very influential speaker with an extremely large audience. Maybe I'm just extra sensitive because I happen to live in Alabama. But, my question is "Why do we have to make fun of others"? Is there a bit of elitism there? Does someone think they are better than others? I don't actually think so, but I have to admit that it was a "turn off" for me. I was disappointed in his comments - actually a bit angry, if I was honest.

Alabama has tried very hard to tear away from the typical stereotype that many people have. I've lived in the Huntsville area for about 7 years. Alabama is not perfect, but unless you've lived here, you can't appreciate the progress and accolades the area has achieved. You can find many of the national and international recognitions here. Once you come and see for yourself what a great place this is to work, live, and play, you may not want to leave.... we hear this a lot.

It's a bit funny to me that someone from KY is making fun of someone from AL. I don't mean to be critical, but have you been to eastern KY lately? Oops... I'm doing the same thing, aren't I? I have business acquaintances on the west coast, and frankly, they don't see much different between KY and AL... or TN, MS, WV, etc. for that matter.

So, why do we do this? Why do we use someone else as the butt of a joke? Just to get a laugh? His comments tear down everything we are trying to do in AL, in regards to improving our image. I just don't see the value in doing this. I hope he will reconsider his approach in the future. Am I just extra sensitive because I was negatively impacted? Would I even be writing this if he had used TN instead of AL? Not sure. But I do know that my eyes were opened a bit wider because of the episode.

By the way.... I am from KY, born & raised there. I always speak positively of the Commonwealth. I hope others in KY will do the same about Alabama....

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