To put it charitably, government in my beloved homeland of Alabama has never exactly been a model for the rest of the world, yet even by those low standards, the past year has contributed an especially ugly chapter in the saga of decrepitude that is Alabama politics.

With the resignation of Governor Robert Bentley, the Yellowhammer state has now witnessed all three branches of government lose their top elected official in spectacular style.

First went Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, sent to prison on charges of using his position to grant special privileges for himself and his cronies. Then down went Chief Justice Roy Moore, removed from the bench for a second time thanks to his vintage, sadly familiar intransigence towards the hard won rights of Alabama’s LGBT community.

And last of all went Governor Bentley, who was taken down by an unending, tragicomic scandal involving his use of tax dollars and state resources to cheat on his wife of 50 years, grant special privileges to his girlfriend and “Senior Advisor” Rebekah Mason, and capped it off with a paranoid, flailing game of intimidation against those who decided to go on the record about the affair.

While these are relatively less serious charges compared with the abuses committed by Hubbard and Moore, at least those two didn’t subject us to the kind of nauseating recordings and text messages we got from the Bentley scandal.  As someone who works in local media, I was forced to hear and will never be able to unlisten to the Luv Guv advising Rebekah that they’ll need to “start locking the door” next time, nor can I unsee the text message of Senior Advisor Mason advising the governor to “bless our hearts…and other parts.”

As embarrassing as all this is for a state with an already less than stellar reputation, I will admit to having a glass half-full outlook on the whole sordid mess. After all, it’s not hard to imagine an alternate world where all three men still have their jobs, cleared scot-free of any wrongdoing and with no deterrent for future bad behavior by powerful public officials. Corruption and selective enforcement is nothing new in this state and many other states, so the surprisingly sunny takeaway might actually be that the law is mostly working as it should.

But I shouldn’t avoid cynicism completely, since after all I did, in fact, vote for Bentley seven years ago, during a naive bout of political pragmatism. Although I take some comfort from choosing not to vote for him a second time during his landslide re-election victory in 2014, I cannot entirely avoid the inevitable buyers remorse that goes along with voting for…anybody.

Still, during most of Bentley’s term he exemplified all you can really ask a governor to be: unremarkable and inconsequential.  But alas, like many other Alabama public officials before him, he instead managed to burst on the national scene by casting an unflattering light on the state he claimed to serve, once again causing the nation to look South, with eyebrows raised, towards the beleaguered Heart of Dixie

What Bentley, Hubbard and Moore did accomplish is to affirm yet again to the good people of Alabama that unless we happen to be the subject of a stunningly brilliant podcast, we’d really prefer for everyone to not pay much attention to this state.

At least until football season starts.