Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Opinion | How an ex-Auburn football coach has threatened national security

Courtesy of Tom Williams (CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., accused Democratic lawmakers of engaging in “identity politics” by using the term “white nationalist” as “just another word that they want to use other than ‘racism.'”

In a state like Alabama, few things reach the same level of importance as college football. More specifically, the rivalry between The University of Alabama and Auburn University. Few eyebrows have been raised about our newest senator, Tommy Tuberville, who, for some reason, still refers to himself as coach. 

In 2020, Tuberville defeated former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his grab for Sessions’ previously vacated seat in the Senate. After Sessions recused himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Donald Trump had denounced the attorney general as nothing more than a traitor.

This left Trump’s ultimate fanboy, Tuberville, with the opportunity for his landslide victory in the Republican primary. Next on the list, he was set up to face what was to be considered the most vulnerable Democratic seat occupied by Doug Jones. With the help of his best friend, former President Trump, Tuberville won.

Jones was an acclaimed civil rights advocate and was well known for his early 2000 prosecution of Klansmen in his home state. So, what did Tuberville have that his opponent didn’t? He certainly had the advantage in areas like conference titles, but he lacked political experience. 

It must have been his stunning ability to dodge debates and avoid mentioning COVID-19, as if talking about the virus was the actual pandemic. Even in his acceptance speech, he only brushed on the impending doom caused by Democrats and the socialist nature they were attempting to plague the country with.

He punctuated these sentiments with the reclamation of Jones’ campaign materials as he urged the “liberals” of varying states to “go to hell and get a job as far as I’m concerned!” The senator, however, had no problem defending white nationalists until last week. He finally described the group as racists earlier this month.

Could it have been his steadfast dedication to the troops? Tuberville has been very vocal about his appreciation for the armed forces in our country, rooting from the stories of his father fighting in World War II “to free Europe from socialism.” The war was a global battle against fascism. Everyone misspeaks occasionally, but there’s no doubt that actions speak louder than words.

Interestingly, when considering Tuberville’s most recent claim to fame, his continuous blocking of personnel moves in the military has resulted in more than 200, and growing, positions left unconfirmed. Even with pleas from across party lines, he persists. His protest began in February in hopes that the Pentagon would overturn a policy that grants leave and travel expenses to any military personnel that cannot receive an abortion in the state they’re stationed in.

The same man who couldn’t correctly refer to the branches of government is effectively holding up the confirmations of multiple joint chiefs of staff and if he remains unmoved, half of the positions will have no permanent replacement by the end of September. One of these positions, the marine commandant, has been consistently filled since the Civil War. 

It appears as more of an active attack on the dignity and rights of more than 200,000 active-duty women, who are also agreeing to abide by whatever state restrictions are imposed in the region they have been stationed. More than 40% of active-duty women will have heavily restricted or no access to abortion services where they are stationed. 

Any senator can hold up these nominations because of unanimous consent, which in ordinary times would speed up the process of batch confirmations so as to not interfere with moving the usual business forward. The only way to combat this hold is to address each confirmation one by one, which at this rate would take almost three months

Is this for the people of Alabama? Does putting national security at risk benefit the Yellowhammer State in some unforeseen way? No. It appears to be a grasp at notoriety for a senator who has achieved very little outside of Alabama and even less in the political sphere. 

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