By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Facebook comments following Tuesday’s election inspired some serious thoughts concerning the status of our voting public. One individual posted negative comments about our newly re-elected president. During this bashing of his policies, the person was confronted with top issues that have headlined the national news media over the past few months. Although the writer commented on Obama’s policies, it was obvious that keeping up with the news was something that had been completely ignored. The most prevalent of these was “The War on Women,” which evolved after Obama revealed that female members of his staff made less money than male members. The writer was completely unaware of this term and seemed shocked to hear of it. Ditto with the abortion issue, that generated a variety of comments, again of which many of those posting comments seemed unaware.
The one comment that really stood out in my mind was the one toward newly elected State Senator Albert Robinson. Among the congratulatory comments of “The best MAN for the job” was one in which a writer wished Robinson well while on his way to Washington. Holding back bursts of laughter as I read the next comment of “He might want to stop off in Frankfort and do a little work before he heads to Washington” was impossible.
Comments such as these show the lack of — and need for — strong lessons on history and government for our up and coming students.
Understanding the government is complex and confusing and poses problems for many who simply don’t understand the workings of the roles of those who toss their hats into larger elections. Differentiating why we refer to Hal Rogers, Rand Paul, and Mitch McConnell as Congressman and Senator was especially challenging. Through some quiet observation and refreshing of my high school American History classes, I realized that all three are members of the United States Congress which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This makes it legitimate to refer to each as “Congressman,” although one is in the House and two are in the Senate.
Former state senator, Republican Albert Robinson was opposed by newcomer Amie Hacker, a Democrat, seeking to fill the seat vacated by London attorney Tom Jensen, who ran unopposed for Laurel Circuit Judge. This position sents the winner to Frankfort to oversee our state government.
Aside from the history lesson, last week’s election prompts concern about the understanding of the operations of the government and the people who vote in the elections. When the voters themselves do not understand how their vote plays into the regime of our government, it raises concern about both their educational background and their political alignment. Statistics showed a significant number of registered voters cast a straight party vote, meaning they voted for every person in a specific political party. While this is definitely an option for any voter, it also indicates that many “die-hard” party members vote for party rather than person. It may also send some “die-hard” politicians to Frankfort and Washington that deadlock our government proceedings into the mess that we’ve seen over the past few years.
Making the choice of who is to lead our government — and theoretically represent the voices of the people they represent — is a decision that should not be based solely on political party affiliation or personal gain. It is a choice that should be weighed carefully and with understanding of how that vote will affect the people of this state and country.
And once those votes are tallied, it should be utmost among the citizens to support the winners with prayer and goodwill.
Kentucky’s state motto is “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” As the first week following the election, each of us should make that a policy and stand together to support our government leaders, whether we particularly backed that person or not. After all, we are America — the UNITED States of.
With the many problems facing our country, united is the only way we can combat the forces that challenge and defy what we stand for.
God Bless America, my home sweet home!