abama Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing

It is almost over. Almost.

The most covered Alabama political race in decades, the most contentious and perhaps momentous political statement since George Wallace will be made Tuesday.

And Alabama Republicans agree.

Alabama Democrats agree.

Alabama Republicans and Democrats - quite remarkably -- finally agree with each other.

If only on one thing.

Not guns or abortion or Jerusalem or Trump or same-sex marriage. Of course not. Not Russia or Hillary or Jeff Flake or Steve Bannon or what it is that actually makes American greatness. Not sexual assault or what to do about it. Or what to believe at all. Not what's real news or fake news or politicized news that claims it isn't. Not the 10 Commandments or what exactly it means to be godly, or free.

Alabama Republicans and Democrats agree only that Alabama will in some ways be better off when all this is over.

Not because of who will win, because those are still fighting words. Not in policy, or prospects, or in what we've learned of each other, or of the pain of sexual assault and the importance of taking it seriously.  Because those are things we have to deal with, no matter who wins.

The hope comes when this race -- this circus that has made Alabama the center of the tilting political universe, the focus of the world and the butt of all its jokes - comes to an end. Because only then can we see reason and not just politics.


abama Republicans and Democrats agree on one thingJohn Archibald | [email protected] 

Just in time for Christmas. Or the holidays. Depending on which side you're on.

It is hard to conceive, I know. Hard to understand as the echoes of Steve Bannon's searing Fairhope rebuke of establishment Republicans and liberal globalists fades into the Fairhope mist. It's hard to reconcile with the soundtrack of anti-Roy Moore protesters yelling "Nazi scum" at a passing vehicle at that same event. 

It's hard to imagine an Alabama that's better off after the escalating rhetoric of division, after the back-to-back-to-back campaign ads that vilify and often misrepresent and cast us one against the other with all the provocative language of fear. It is difficult to believe that a post-election Alabama, in which slightly less than half of voters are left with a crushing defeat, could be a better place. 

It's hard to imagine this election day will settle anything, with Secretary of State John Merrill estimating that only 20-25 of people, despite this explosion of interest in Alabama politics, will show up to vote. 

But I've heard it time and again from staunch Republicans, like Lou Campomenosi in Fairhope, and from Doug Jones supporter Jason James from Foley. I've heard it from adamant voters and undecided voters across the state, and from willfully non-committal residents who have no plan to vote at all.

They want this race to end. Sure, they want their candidate to win, but they want it all to stop.

Not because it has some illusion of healing, because ... no one is that naive.

But the constant refrain of politics, the down-to-the-second drumbeat of tribalism and the partisan tool of demonizing the opposition is just too pervasive and effective. We start off as fellow Alabamians, citizens with a common interest in the health and well-being of the people and the resources of the state we love, but in a race like this we are left bitter and divided, fighting for the spoils of a campaign that takes too much of us.

We are met here on a battlefield...

Where we all have lost something.

As if there are winners, and losers. As if we do not lose a piece of ourselves with every insult and barb, every sharp-witted rebuke of those who think different or look different or see the world in the different hue.

Alabama can be a better place on Wednesday. It's up to us to make it so.

John Archibald's column appears in The Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Register and AL.com. Write him at [email protected]