The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

November 11, 2012

Find the silver lining in dark election cloud

FRANKFORT — Two placards hanging on fences surrounding the half-mile walking trail I frequent at a park near my home contain maxims that describe some of my post-election sentiments and offer optimism – even in the midst of some troublesome outcomes.

The first is author Thomas Harris’ gem: “Giving and sharing are spontaneous expressions of joy.”

It’s a reminder that there is a fundamental difference between those with something to give who want to give it, and our federal masters using coercive government forces to redistribute resources, regardless of the income-earner’s will.

Big-government types attempt to sell us on the fact that such forced “sharing” is essential because “we’re all in this together” – rubbish that comprised the campaign message of the political Left. 

Wouldn’t it be grand if such language used during this season’s power-struggles were required to come with warnings of Orwellian newspeak, just like those same lobbyists would force a skull and cross-bones on cigarette cartons?

On second thought, I’m not really into banning free speech – even this “shared responsibility” gibberish that is little more than the baby talk of Socialists.

Instead, informed and freedom-loving people must commit to enlightening their fellow citizens about the vast difference between forced “sharing” and “spontaneous expressions,” which are the defining characteristics of our nation’s exceptionalism.

Individuals who create, produce and achieve – not “shared responsibility” – are the source of America’s greatness. Government did not create the light bulb, electricity, medicine or the automobile. Rather, it was the work of innovative individuals whose contributions benefited our entire society and the whole world.

When Sandy pounded the northeast recently, it wasn’t a government agency that made a profound difference. It was neighbors helping neighbors – voluntarily. It was those who still had power welcoming neighbors into their homes to charge generators and cell phones.

When tornadoes pounded Kentucky this year, it was churches – not FEMA – that housed and fed two thousand responders daily.

It’s not Department of Homeland Security bureaucrats that make me feel better about our nation’s prospects in trying times. Rather, it’s individual Americans who require no executive order to demonstrate their selflessness or compassion – and who often succeed in spite of government’s obstacles.

Another placard near the end of Freeman Park’s walking trail attributes to Robert Schuller this gem: “Every obstacle is a potential opportunity.”

Tuesday’s election results present a significant obstacle for Kentucky.

How, for example, can we get control of our state’s spending and debt when so many of the politicians who allowed the slide into the current economic abyss got reelected?

No doubt, many of those results have to do with promising benefits for certain constituencies.  

This happened in neighboring Indiana, where the Indianapolis Star reported that the reform-minded Tony Bennett lost his bid for a second term as Indiana schools’ superintendent to a teachers’ union-backed opponent promising her constituency to roll back many of his reforms, “including a reading test that third-graders must pass to advance to fourth grade.”

Glenda Ritz, an unknown library science media specialist, beat one of the nation’s premier reformers by promising lower standards of accountability.

Ritz promised to turn back policies that base teachers’ pay raises on annual evaluations and that increase school-choice opportunities – all of which put pressure on failing teachers and the schools they work for to either improve or be held accountable.

In Kentucky, Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, the House Education Committee chairman, who is anti-choice when it comes to allowing educational options for children, was reelected by a handy margin.

Remember, though: these situations never remain static.

There will be opportunities to oppose the freedom-busting and bank-breaking decisions sure to flood upon us with all the force of Storm Sandy’s waves.

Recognizing those opportunities is important. Seizing them is critical.

Jim Waters is acting president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.freedomkentucky.org/bluegrassbeacon.

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Compromise is not that simple

    It’s tempting for a casual onlooker to wonder why the Democratic House and Republican Senate can’t make what on the surface looks like the obvious compromise on pension reform.
    The Senate passed a measure based on recommendations of a task force to move new employees into a hybrid, cash-balance plan but maintain existing defined benefits for current employees and retirees.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

    Legislation that would make the Kentucky Retirement Systems transparent for those paying its bills has danced into the spotlight during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
    Passage of transparency bills filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, would make the “names, status, projected or actual benefit payments” subject to our commonwealth’s superlative Open Records Act.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jack Strauss-BW.jpg The case of the ghostly neighbor

    Wilbur lived in a world of fears. Everything frightened him. The full extent of his courage was to admit that he had none.
    Noises in the middle of the night, his own shadow creeping up on him and, most of all, black cats scared the wits out of him.
    So, picture his chagrin, one day, when he came home from vacation only to discover that a mausoleum had been erected on property adjacent to his home.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Provisional concealed-carry law passes Senate unanimously

    Things are staying busy in Frankfort. Many bills are making their way onto the Senate floor from various committees. This past week several important pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
    I am particularly proud of the success we had in advocating for Kentuckians’ Second Amendment rights.
    I introduced Senate Bill 106 to allow anyone who has been granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order to receive a provisional CCDW permit from the Kentucky State Police in one business day. In some of these cases, victims need this type of protection as quickly as possible.

    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Cynicism, optimism both on display in Frankfort

    Those who spend little time in Kentucky’s Capitol and who read columns by cynics who cover it should be forgiven their disillusionment about how the people’s business is conducted.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Even Scrooge would enjoy library mystery

    Saturday afternoons and evenings are usually down time for Loretta and me.
    We simply don’t get out much after we’ve used up the movie gift certificates the kids gave us for Christmas. That means we mostly go to the movies to avoid guilt trips because our kids do work hard for their money.

    February 20, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results