Lincoln's lesson for obstinate Republicans
Former Sen. Bob Dole's recent comments to Fox News seemed to echo Abraham Lincoln's famous Cooper Union Speech in 1860.
Back then, Lincoln cautioned the GOP to remember its principles in the face of extremism; in particular, the heartless racism of cotton plantation owners intent on "full national recognition" of slavery.
Addressing the slaveholders, Lincoln criticized their threat to national unity. "Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you would destroy the government unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events."
To his fellow Republicans, he declared, "Let us have the faith that right makes might, and in that end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."
Today, Dole, a former Senate majority leader. sounds disgusted by the GOP's collaboration with the Tea Party and other money-soaked political committees.
He laments, "It seems almost unreal that we can't get together on budget or legislation. I mean, we weren't perfect, but at least we got the work done." To which he adds, "Somebody has to stand up and say, 'We're not going to do this.'"
Dole is discouraged because Lincoln's warning has been ignored and forgotten.
The legend of American equality started when Colonial Americans refused special privileges for the English nobility. The colonists also refused to allow bishops of the Church of England to be posted in colonial towns to avoid problematic religious absolutism.
The American aristocrats and preachers of the subsequent slave-holding states actually insisted that slavery is Christian in character.
With the end of the Civil War came the end of the Christian ascendancy in our civil discourse, although it remains a noisy backseat driver. The modern zealots of highly politicized religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam have too often destabilized nations.
Currently, prosperous urban America seems to be making ideals of tolerance, inclusion and freedom from oppression. The unlikely turn of events in the gay and lesbian marriage dustup seems to be the resurging legend of American equality overruling our discriminatory Judeo-Christian and European legacies.
We owe our fortunate separation of church and state to Kentuckian President Abraham Lincoln — the great emancipator in more ways than one. Melt on old melting polt, melt on.
I do not believe political contributions should be made to tax-exempt groups. It is a citizen's duty to vote and keep the very best fellow citizens in office, no matter their party affiliations.
Politicians should not be using obscene levels of contributions toward political infighting. Instead, they should compromise for the good of the country.
The mean-spirited partisanship must stop. An inflation-adjusted cap should determine how much we are allowed to give on our tax form. Political contribution is not a social charitable contribution.
A welcome candidate
On June 25, voters of the House 56th district will have the opportunity to elect an unusually qualified candidate to office: Lyen Crews.
Crews recently retired as vice president of Midway College to run for office. His children are grown so he has the time as well as the maturity to serve the people of the district.
Recently many of us read of the conviction of Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor who was charged with murdering several newborn babies after they were born alive in his highly unregulated clinic.
The so-called pro-choice Democrats serving in our Kentucky House have opposed any common-sense requirements on the very ugly and violent practices of killing babies before they are born.
Crews, who is pro-life and has years of experience in finance, will be a welcome addition in Frankfort.
No lesson needed
I read in disbelief the story of State Rep. Regina Bunch's ticketing for driving at 109 mph after she was caught less than a year ago driving 91 mph on the same stretch of highway.
Now she wants to set an example for other Kentuckians about the importance of obeying speed limits. Getting the ticket was a valuable lesson learned for her, but not for the rest of the law-abiding citizens who should be spared the lecture.
A true lesson would be a three-year suspension of her driver's license. But we all did learn one thing: the 2013 Cadillac is just as fast as the manufacturer claims.
Crimes of pension
The 2013 session of the Kentucky General Assembly closed just before midnight on March 26 but not before legislators passed a pension package that destroyed retirement security for Kentucky's public employees and retirees.
Lawmakers are publicizing this deal as an example of representative democracy, but the process was not negotiated in an open manner.
In reality, lawmakers and the governor shook hands behind closed doors and hurried the deal in the last two days of the session, presenting a package that is catastrophic for taxpayers, state employees and retirees.
Frankfort's failure to see that the pension crisis was not fixed when they passed Senate Bill 2 troubles me to the point where I have to wonder if something else is going on, or is there something they are trying to cover up.
The May 6 commentary by Christopher B. Tobe, a former trustee of the Kentucky Retirement Systems, pointed out that Ryan Alessi of CN2 traced the problem back to Gov. Paul Patton's term when then-budget director Jim Ramsey made a backroom deal which has continued right up to Gov. Steve Beshear's term.
This deal, as reported in Tobe's column, was implemented to allow legislators to get around the constitutional requirement to have a balanced budget.
I am asking myself if there is any criminal wrongdoing in this and, if so, why hasn't law enforcement investigated this? Are our leaders in Frankfort immune to criminal investigations or even prosecution?
James Jeffrey Coleman
On a weekly basis we are treated to a letter to the editor from an underinformed individual who feels compelled to put the Fox News talking points into print.
The never-ending Benghazi saga over whether the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have the "blood of four foreign service members on their hands" is illustrative of this problem.
I don't recall all of this outcry when the previous Bush administration launched illegal and criminal attacks on a foreign country that cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars. So please stop already: if I want to be hateful I'd watch Fox News myself.