Politics has never been my thing, but as a life-long conservative and someone who has served my country for over three decades, I care deeply about Alabama, and the mess we’re in right now.
Discouraged by my choices for who we send to represent us and our values to Washington, I felt I had to do something, and sitting an election out is – to me – a disservice to all those who sacrificed much for our democracy.
So I stepped forward myself as an alternative.
In the two weeks since I’ve thrown my hat in the ring as a write-in candidate, I’ve been called a lot of things.
Some people say I’m an operative for Mitch McConnell, others say I’m an agent for the Democrats.
Neither of these is correct – if I’m an operative or an agent, it’s for the people of Alabama.
Consider the math. John Merrill predicts that only 18-25 percent of registered voters will go to the polls on Tuesday. Where does that leave the other 75-82 percent?
Last November, 62 percent of us turned out to vote, mostly for Donald Trump. A substantial drop in civic participation – even in a special election in an off-year – is a problem, and it’s happening for a reason. The poisonous negativity of this election repels so many people that it seems like little more than a race to the bottom, and that doesn’t seem to fit the Alabama I know.
When trolls on my Facebook page suggest I’m trying to steal votes from Roy Moore or Doug Jones, they’ve got it wrong. After all, their respective pools aren’t very large. I have no disrespect for anyone who is voting for either, and I know both have committed supporters who believe in either candidate.
It’s the 75-82 percent I’m worried about, in part because I’m one of them and so are most people I know.
The issues that matter to me haven’t come up in this campaign. Those are jobs, and how to create more and better opportunities for young Alabamians.
As the only candidate in this race with a private sector background – from working a factory floor, to investment manager, to entrepreneur – I am concerned about the effects of unfair trade and have some practical ideas about what it takes for all Alabamians to do a little better.
And while plenty has been said in this campaign about all manner of sordidness, whether true or false, the things that matter to me and my family and my neighbors have been ignored.
There’s been plenty of talk about what’s wrong, and who is to blame, but nary a word about what to do about it. Whether the problem is corruption or moral turpitude, the solution is the same: having the courage to stand to those who would bully us into silence, inaction, or choosing the lesser of two evils.
As a commanding officer told me when I was a young Marine, “whenever you don’t know what to do, do the right thing.”
Many Alabamians I know are facing this quandary right now.
Too many won’t vote on Tuesday because they’re fed up, disheartened or disgusted by the choices.
The very least I can do is offer an alternative.
Whatever happens on Tuesday, one thing is clear: we need to fix the way we select and elect candidates for office in our state.
It’s always been my belief that politics shouldn’t just be a serious of stepping-stones, but rather an outlet for service, and one that draws from all professions – with no disrespect to the lawyers who disproportionately fill the halls of Congress today.
Lay people should have a voice too, especially from Alabama.
There are too many people out there tell folks who to vote for on Tuesday, and I’m not going to join that chorus.
Deep down, I believe people are smart and can make their own decision.
All I ask is that my fellow Alabamians do vote.
Vote for what is in your heart.
It’s not about the odds and it’s not the parties. Instead, it’s about what is good for Alabama and how, when this is over, we can all keep move forward with our heads held high and no regrets to keep us up at night.
Lee Busby, a retired Marine colonel, is a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate. For more about his background and positions, see www.electleebusby.com