Roy Moore's salty political strategist, Dean Young, was the first - or loudest - to make it a campaign cry.
" The world will be watching ," he warned.
The world. Will be. Watching.
And he's right. The world will be watching today, to see what Alabama does. To see who Alabama is.
I've taken calls from Canada and Australia and Denmark and France and England and Ireland, and more networks than I know how to name. Podcasts and broadcasts and websites and magazines and newspapers, all with the very same question:
As in, what are you smokin' with that barbecue? You on that Alabama white sauce again?
The world. Is watching.
That means one thing to Dean Young and the Roy Moore crowd. Just as it means something altogether different for those with a tilt toward Doug Jones.
To Young, the world is watching to see if Alabamians will "be tricked" by the women who dared accuse Moore of unspeakable acts. To the other side, it means shame.
Basketball legend Charles Barkley hears it when people talk of this election, and the possibility of Moore in the U.S. Senate.
"People are calling me saying 'Really Charles? Really?'" he said. "I'm embarrassed."
I'm of the same view, I suppose. Thinking of the world watching Alabama right now is like hearing an unexpected knock on the door when you haven't done the dishes.
Hey, it's not always like this .
But I know there are differences of opinion. And it's election day, so you get to figure out how you want the world to see your state. You get to model Alabama in the image you want to project. You make the call.
But let's face it. Much of the damage is already done. Like in the '60s, when Birmingham and Atlanta were still competitive, duking it out to see what city would become the dominant force in the South. Birmingham became Bombingham, blowing itself up over hate and intolerance.
Atlanta declared itself the city too busy to hate. Birmingham declared itself ... not that busy.
And the rest is history.
Alabama, for generations, was the state of George Wallace standing in a schoolhouse door, of dogs and fire hoses and dead little girls. Until time passed and those things seemed more like history.
But when the world looks at Alabama now it sees that Alabama again. When companies like Toyota-Mazda - which is looking for a Southern home - look at Alabama, they see it, too.
It's fair and it's not fair. It's real and it's false. Because this is not just Alabama's baby. But this, Alabama, this is what the world will take away from this race.
It will remember that Alabamians are the ones who run around in cowboy hats and leather vests. Even though the only time you see that kind of thing is out after hours on the weekends in Birmingham's flamboyant Southside.
It will remember the Gadsden Mall and crying women and anger and vitriol and stubborn defiance.
It will remember Alabama as a place where the rule of law is negotiable, where decency is decided by political party, where men and women, in the name of morality and Jesus himself, stood and proclaimed they would vote for a man even if they knew allegations of predatory behavior were true.
Because a predator is better than a Democrat.
The world is watching. And what it sees will have consequences.
Vote your heart. Vote your conscience. But know what it means.
To the world, and to you.