John Embry: "You've likely heard the expression 'Trump Derangement Syndrome.' Well, the Kentucky version of that is alive and well with this governor."
I apologize to my dedicated column readers as my Christmas hiatus turned into an extra-long January break. Nevertheless, here we go again for my first installment of 2019.
Local: Both city and county governments have gotten off to a good start in 2019. From Morgantown Mayor Billy Phelps' State of the City Address to Butler County Judge-Executive Tim Flener beginning his first term, both entities seem to be rolling right along. More on county government next week.
What will be interesting to see in the coming months will be how the City of Morgantown moves forward with its "More" initiative. Mayor Phelps suggested things like more parks, transportation, shop, history, fun, etc. To use the words of the mayor, it will be "fun" to see how this plan for "more" develops, to see how it takes shape and transitions from an idea into reality. Will it be a source of cooperation or something that sows division? After all, I'm sure there many views as to what more actually means and the value of it. Will higher taxes in the city be part of "more" as well? I applaud the vision of city leaders, especially Mayor Phelps. They deserve high marks for steering the ship of government during lean times. Now with a little more money and flexibility we can look forward to the next step in Morgantown's history.
State: Matt Bevin made a mistake. Yet again he has failed to realize that virtually every word he says and every action he takes will be put under a political microscope and dissected exhaustively so that it fits an ongoing narrative conducive for a 280-character Tweet, drive-by headline, or 30-second sound bite. While Kentucky may lean right at the ballot box, the state's main stream media certainly do not. The most recent example was his ill-advised comments about how society (not kids) was becoming "soft" after several Kentucky school districts cancelled classes last week due to low temperatures. Context? Apparently not important. I bet the overwhelming majority of folks (including Al Roker) never even read the rest of the governor's comments that stated it would be better to err on the side of safety regarding students and school closing. In fact, I've only found a couple of people who even saw the entire comment in its original context or even knew that it was from a conversational radio interview. It was latched onto by Bevin's political opponents as another example of Kentucky's crazy governor, much like what was done with the students at Covington Catholic. Facing a tough (and some would suggest uphill) reelection campaign this year, Governor Bevin needs to be smarter politically than his adversaries and quit giving them the ammunition they need to attack him politically. It's not easy for Bevin because he is not, by nature, a slick-sounding politician - he comes from the different world, one of pragmatism and business. My advice to Governor Bevin (and President Trump for that matter) is to talk less, do more, and simply get out of the way and let their enemies self-destruct by over-playing their hand as they are prone to do. You've likely heard the expression "Trump Derangement Syndrome." Well, the Kentucky version of that is alive and well with this governor.
National: Many Americans across the political spectrum have been shocked by the recently-passed New York abortion law that essentially allows abortion (in some instances) up to the point of birth. A similar measure was defeated in Virginia. The new law in New York comes on the heels of Republican losing control in the state assembly. Similar attempts at such a law had been blocked by the GOP-controlled legislature in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo called the passage of the bill "a historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values." For many people, equally as bad as the law itself was how lawmakers and abortion supporters celebrated it with applause and much fanfare. The governor even ordered the One Trade Center building to be lit pink in commemoration of the bill's passage. Then, the now-embattled governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, seemed to suggest infanticide with this quote: "[Third trimester abortions are] done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that's nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."
The abortion wars are alive and well across the nation, from the halls of Congress to the 50 state legislatures. It will not end anytime soon. Abortion is the modern-day moral and political equivalent of the slavery issue and how it once divided our nation and ultimately led us to civil war. Hopefully, we won't go there again.
Dumb Quote of the Week:
"Today we talked about justice and today we talked about racism. And I must tell you it gives me no pleasure to tell you that we now have a President of the United States who is a racist. We have a president intentionally, purposefully trying to divide us up by the color of our skin, by our gender, by the country we came from, by our religion." --Sen. Bernie Sanders
Colorful language and well written but demonstrably false and defamatory. Sorry Bernie, not feeling the "Bern" here.
Parting Shot: Congratulations to the BCMS 7th grade boys' basketball team and coaches on their Green River Valley Conference championship. The squad had a nice tournament run and beat Muhlenberg North in dramatic fashion with a last-second shot. The value of athletic competition is not always found on the scoreboard but it sure makes life easier when you win!
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