By DANIEL HURT
Honorary delegate, Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council
There has been a lot of turnout against Trump and the Republicans in Kentucky, most notably Mitch McConnell's town hall-type meeting in red Anderson County. Perhaps voters are beginning to realize that the majority party isn’t interested in them after all. Further proof that Republicans will say whatever it takes to get elected.
The Democratic Party in Kentucky must make sure that work is honored and valued, not just seen as a means to an end; that is why we have stood up for the working men and women in labor. From Haymarket to General Tire, they have fought for fairness in the workplace and kept employers from taking advantage of their workers. This is the best exemplification of the spirit of all being in this together. That is why we Democrats stand with them.
The Democratic Party in Kentucky must fight to protect education and keep it from becoming politicized and corporatized. It is the most important way of ensuring that all Americans have an equal opportunity at success. You cannot see injustice or understand why you believe what you do without an education.
The Democratic Party in Kentucky must fight to preserve universal healthcare. Our state led the way in setting up a healthcare exchange under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and insured over 500,000 Kentuckians. We can no longer be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, our coal miners who sacrificed their health to provide for their families can now get the coverage they deserve. As Senator Ted Kennedy used to say “Healthcare is a right and not a privilege”. Now that’s in jeopardy, the Republican plan could potentially kickoff 24 million people from their healthcare plan. And I’m not just talking about Medicaid, employer based plans too.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but as they say, I could write shorter speeches, but I’m too lazy to stop.
I find it a moral stain on our nation’s conscience that we have permitted our fellow citizens to shame and berate people for simply needing government assistance. There is no shame, none at all, in seeking the help of our fellow man. It is our moral duty to lift those people up. As a Christian, I see government assistance as a vehicle for carrying out God’s compassion for the world. We must as a society and a government of free men decide to provide universal healthcare to all people and heal the sick of what plagues them, whether it’s the victim of cancer or the coal miner who sacrificed their health to provide for their family. No one should be on their own in this fight; we must come together as a people and ensure healthcare to everyone.
We must also ensure that mothers, fathers, and families can be adequately provided for if they are unemployed. Unemployment is not a symptom of laziness and it certainly isn’t a reason to go hungry. In the 1960s, Americans of both parties came together to enact poverty programs in the Great Society, when we believed that America should be as good as its best citizen and that it was truly the greatest nation in the world. In social regression and the promotion of social Darwinism and self-interest of the 1970s and 1980s, we have strayed away from the straight path toward a world where we aren’t as good as we could be because we have abandoned our fellow man in favor of self-indulgence. Our greatest citizen has cashed his last check and gone home because he’s tired of the games people are playing. He no longer believes America is the greatest country in the world because he has seen us. He has seen what we are capable of. Americans are guilty of vanity and lack of appreciation for what we have. What happens to things when you don’t appreciate them? You don’t know how lucky you were until they disappeared. You take your eye off the ball and it’s a different world when you come back.
As we have become distracted by our vanity, agents of evil have filled the vacuum vacated by our virtuous selves and are actively carrying out their agenda. What are we doing? If we get ours, we don’t care what happens to our fellow man. What is ours? Now that’s a good question. Is it our salvation when false prophets preach party politics and hate at the pulpit instead of the word of God? Is it moral character when our candidates for office tear down their opponents by any means necessary, whether that means destroying their lives or their families? Is it civic virtue when we have become so polarized that we vote out good, decent public servants because they have a different letter next to their name than yours? Is it understanding when we only pay attention to the information that we want as self-affirmation of our own opinions? Is it Christian when we victimize people for being poor? Is it compassionate when we say we are of good moral character but do nothing to prove it, not only to others, but to yourself and your God? No, it certainly isn’t. Perhaps if more people strived to be the best citizen they could be, our times wouldn’t look so grim and we could reach our own self-actualization.
-- Daniel Hurt, 23, from Grand Rivers, is a senior at Murray State University, chair of the Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, a member of the state Democratic Executive Committee and president of the West Kentucky Young Democrats.