Alabama’s racist law almost gone

The November election will decide many things: Who the president will be, and whether segregation will still be legal in Alabama.

Yes, you read that right — because of an old Jim Crow law was never taken off the books, segregated classrooms are not illegal in Alabama. In fact, the law mandates that white and non-white children be segregated into different classrooms.

This should be easy enough to fix. Gov. Bob Riley supports a bill that, if passed, would amend the state constitution to eliminate such racist language. So no problem, right?

Enter everybody’s favorite former Alabama chief justice, Roy “I want to plaster the Ten Commandments to the state judicial building” Moore, who’s spoken out against this amendment.

Moore is recently infamous for trying to install a two-ton granite slab inscribed with the 10 simple rules for being good and being denied a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

He said that he opposes such an amendment because it’s actually a backdoor tax hike, saying that he fears the amendment might invalidate a 2002 state Supreme Court decision that invalidated a 1993 decision concerning equal funding for schools. Whew.

Of course, given his record for not winning at legal battles, few people are taking Moore seriously these days. Except, of course, some of the fine folks in Alabama, who’re encouraging Moore to run against Riley in the Republican gubernatorial primaries in two years.

Well, we know he’ll get the racist and no-separation-of-church-and-state demographics.

This whole affair is like a trip in the Wayback Machine to 1896, when Plessy v. Ferguson was handed down, starting Jim Crow laws, and leg-of-mutton sleeves were all the rage.

Legalized segregation is over. This Alabama law isn’t effective or enforceable because of a little Supreme Court ruling called Brown v. Board of Education.

But, sadly, it’s taken a long time to purge such laws from the books. Alabama only repealed its law banning interracial marriage in 2000, with 40 percent of its voters opposing its repeal.

The choice here is obvious: Voters in Alabama should shut their ears to Moore’s accusations and repeal this law. (And why is it that politicians who oppose something always scream “tax hike”?) It’s time to get out of the past, Alabama, and accept the fact that diversity — jumbled, wild, confusing, wonderful stewpot that it is — is here to stay.