Let’s All Shoot Ourselves in the Foot…

November 4, 2015


…and call it progress. Or not since those taking this approach view “progressive” as a pejorative. So let’s (as voters, as southerners) all shoot ourselves in the foot and call it conserving our values and “making America great again”.

I am not a current resident of the great state of Kentucky but I now live within a short drive of its border again, it is my home state, and I lived in 4 of its cities and towns over the course of many years so what happens there does interest me. Furthermore what happens there affects folks I care about–family, friends, neighbors, fellow students from college and grad school–and what happens there can signify what may  happen in neighboring states and in the region as a whole.

All of which is preamble to say– last night’s election results are sad. Frustrating. Disheartening. Now, I did not follow this race along its route closely as I couldn’t vote in it and from what I’ve heard Conway primarily ran a negative campaign. I can’t testify to how great or not Conway would have been as a Democratic Governor. What I can say is that a Tea Party favorite like Bevin spells disaster for positive progress. If he can manage to do what he claims he wants and plans to do he will strip Kentucky’s Kynect health insurance program and put thousands out of coverage and even more out of range of affordable coverage. Many of these folks are people I know. What’s insane is that Kynect has been a huge success story for the state of Kentucky and it was brilliant of exiting Democratic Governor Beshear to re-brand “Obamacare” as “Ky Kynect” as most conservative Kentuckians hated and opposed “Obamacare” on name alone but loved it when it was called something else. Well, despite all polls showing Kentuckians favorable view of the health care reform effort on the state level, those folks by and large either voted against their own best interest or failed to show up to protect their best interest.

Bevins is adamant and open on his policy positions–that those LGBT kids get no special protection from bullying in public schools, transgender people are just perverts who cross dress and shouldn’t be able to use a public restroom in peace or safety, tax money needs to fund a Noah’s ark theme park, Ky shouldn’t address global warming, Ky should present “both” sides of the climate and evolution “debates”, public school monies should be diverted to private religious schools, Ky should double-down on coal production.

It’s that last one that won the night. Kentucky is fiercely, rabidly pro-coal. I’ve written on that here before. It’s understandable– there are a lot of people working in the mines of Kentucky and even more working in industries directly tied to the production, distribution and use of earth’s dirtiest fossil fuel. Hell,  an astonishing 92% of Kentucky’s electricity comes from coal despite the fact that nationally we are down to 39% dependency on coal for electricity. Even neighboring Tennessee fuels electricity with only 52% coal so it’s not a question of necessity–it’s the result of intention. Do Kentuckians really think they couldn’t transition to solar, wind and cleaner carbon stop-gaps in the mean time? I know that those in the upper industry harbor no doubts this is possible but they relay the “fact” that this is not so to keep Kentucky dependent on a dying fuel source, a dying economic resource and a dying way of life. There is more coal out of the ground and in reserves around the world than can be safely burned without completely eradicating the current environment. Half of Kentucky–its eastern half–depended fully on coal for generations and when it was gone–along with the mountains, clean water and economy–businesses pulled out and left the communities with no viable economic alternatives. Eastern Kentucky is still struggling to recover from its coal dependency.

Bevins  won on coal and “morality”. A brave candidate would tell the people of Kentucky that like it or not, King Coal is on its way out. National regulations, world environmental standards, cheaper carbon alternatives, advancing technology, and over-production make that unavoidable. Hell, huge chunks of the Western half of Kentucky are following suit with Eastern Kentucky as sink holes and under-mining prevents new businesses safe places to build. A brave candidate would tell the people of Kentucky that to safeguard their future they must be at the forefront of what comes next by investing in the future and being aware of which way the wind is blowing. But if you decry education, strip education of its economic and intellectual currency, pander to prejudice and lowest-common denominator religious hypocrisy and convince those who turn out to shoot themselves in the foot and regain their competitive race to become the nation’s least healthy state then…


It hurts to be in the south so often. There are so many good people, so much beauty, by and large great weather and a history of great writers, musicians and civil rights warriors but forces that convince a huge chunk of our populace that all journalism (except what is pre-approved for their consumption) is liberally biased, that science is suspect, that compromise is anathema, that religion can only be expressed in its basest and most judgmental  tone, that equality is threatening, that peace is impossible and that progress is a bad thing are being all to successful here as they have in the past.


3 Responses to “Let’s All Shoot Ourselves in the Foot…”

  1. Struggles ahead for the citizens of KY. Sadly, those of the conservative bent won’t acknowledge or understand their part in contributing to the failures of state government after it is bound to occur if Bevin has his way.

    • dmhamby2 said

      It’s very sad. It was nice to see that despite misjudgements on Senate and House for a long time at least Kentuckians tended to choose wisely for Governor, etc. We’re just as bad in TN—representatives and senators who fight to make sure the subject of Islam is never mentioned in a history book for fear of “indoctrination”, wasting bucketfuls of money attacking Planned Parenthood, fighting healthcare reform so much that most people with policies through healthcare.gov have to drive an hour to go to the doctor…I just wish the south would invest in education, diversity, technology, compassion…

      • Agree with your analysis. Only wish I could understand and comprehend the mindset of those so adamantly opposed to PP, healthcare, LGBT rights and so forth. Their rights are in no way taken away or infringed upon. It must be the adage of divide and conquer. The right has been effective in their effort.

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