If it’s broke-fix it

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 6, 2003

In 1994, I had surgery to repair damage done to my right knee, the result of a car accident over ten years earlier.

Initially, my kneecap only seemed banged up a bit.

In truth, the patella had been knocked off center.

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Over time, it shifted further and further out of place.

As the years passed, my knee became undependable.

More than once I took a tumble when it suddenly decided to ‘go out’ on me.

Six months of intense physical therapy did not correct the problem. Surgical intervention was deemed necessary, a solution requiring a deep, three-inch long incision inside my knee, six weeks’ worth of recovery time and another six months of PT.

Nothing else has quite compared to the excruciating pain I felt the first few times I tried to bend that knee joint, post-op.

However, I gritted my teeth, forced back the tears and did it.

I knew it was the only way to keep from becoming a semi-cripple at 33.

It wasn’t fun or easy, but it certainly was necessary.

Like my knee, our state is ‘broke’—and, boy, does it desperately need some fixing.

Let me say I love this state with all my heart.

I was born and raised here.

My husband and I chose to come back here after more than a decade away.

I love Alabama’s natural beauty and admire the countless gifts and talents of its native sons and daughters.

I revel in the true warmth, kindness and friendliness of my fellow Alabamians.

But this state is in terrible trouble.

Like my knee problems, it didn’t happen overnight.

Years of fiscal carelessness, irresponsibility and greed displayed by pork-loving politicians and a bloated bureaucracy have left our coffers empty and voters disenchanted.

We desperately need a new approach—not politics as usual.

It isn’t just our educational system that is crying out in pain. Our prison system is bursting at the seams; our state trooper force has already been cut back.

The wonderful senior nutrition centers that provide meals (and more importantly, precious social contact) for the elderly, may become a thing of the past.

I foresee a near future where the most vulnerable in our state—the poor, the young, the elderly and the handicapped—suffer the most.

Do I want to pay more taxes?

No. Do I think Amendment One is perfect? No, but I do believe it has great merit.

It calls for much-needed constitutional reform and genuine accountability.

It’s certainly better than this antiquated, regressive structure we have now.

Do I want a lottery?

No, and trust me—that inflammatory issue will rear its ugly head again if this proposal fails at the polls.

Am I willing to stand up for what I firmly believe is morally right, fair and the best thing for our state as a whole?

I am. That is why I am voting &uot;Yes&uot; next Tuesday. I don’t particularly want to see the state I love become a cripple, either.

Angie Long is a columnist and Lifestyles writer for the Greenville Advocate.

You may contact her via e-mail at along@alaweb.com or leave a message at 382-5145.