Revisiting Rand Paul's Grand Old Party
Conservative Republicans like Rand Paul often claim that because the early Republican Party was stronger in support of civil rights, that conservatives have the moral high ground. This is totally inaccurate.
In 1854, Free Soilers, the Whigs and Democrats merged to form the original Republican Party. The party attracted a broad range of voters, including many who were more concerned with economic development and freedom from competition with black labor than with ending slavery. With the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and his success in preserving the Union and abolishing slavery, the Republican Party came to dominate the national scene.
This is the GOP that Paul glorified in a recent article. All of the rich history he cites ends circa 1932. The GOP of today bears little resemblance to the Grand Old Party he describes.
After the Civil Rights Act was passed — by both liberal/moderate Republicans and Democrats — some conservative Democrats left the party and became Republicans. Democrats became more racially inclusive.
The party of 1854 is long gone. Paul's attempt to associate liberal Republicans of the past to the ultraconservative Republican Party of today just doesn't ring true. To evoke the name of Martin Luther King Jr. in an article associating his remarks with the current GOP is a disgrace. In the last years of his life, Dr. King ran what he called "The Poor People's Campaign," and his beliefs would largely be to the left of where the modern Democratic Party is, let alone the Republicans.
Concern for cranes
A fellow reader of your paper recently wrote of her concerns for the future of the sandhill cranes.
The Audubon Society states that even common birds are becoming anything but common. Nearly a quarter of the U.S. bird species are slipping toward extinction.
How to help: Call your state representative and say hunting of the sandhill cranes must stop now. Join the Audubon Society in its endeavors to protect the birds' natural habitats.
And, as to whether or not the cranes can be confused with the endangered whooping cranes, at a distance, it is certainly possible.
Surely, the few dollars the state receives for the slaughter of the sandhill cranes can be found elsewhere. Kentucky needs to be known as a state that is kind to all species, birds, animals and, of course, humans.
Defining what's sacred
A letter writer on March 6 said people who support gay marriage are gullible, deluded, ill-informed and out of touch. He went on to say that marriage is sacred between a man and a woman, so gays should not be allowed to marry.
The definition of sacred is: of or connected with religion or religious rites. My question for him is, if marriage is sacred, then does he also want to outlaw marriage between a man and woman who don't believe in God, or maybe between a man and woman who believe in a god different than his?
Help for hard of hearing
Are you losing some hearing and not wanting to admit it or don't know what to do about it? It is quite common. The population for deaf and hard of hearing is rising, thanks to noise pollution and the aging of our population. Even teenagers are losing some hearing, as a result of loud music or noisy environments. While it may be hard to accept, there are useful resources, such as assertive devices (TV sets with caption capability, listening devices, captioned telephones, etc.) and a volunteer consumer organization that wants to share this information with all who need it.
The Hearing Loss Association of America has a mission: "To open the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy and support." Lexington has a growing chapter that meets on the second Thursday of each month, except in July and December. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public, with social time before and after. The meetings are in the cafeteria of the old J.R. Ewan Elementary School, 350 Henry Clay Boulevard.
Many people do not know about the resources and technology available to assist with hearing.
The big news in our area is the upcoming "Hear More! A World of Resources", a regional expo on all things related to hearing, July 19-20 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. Go to Hlaa-ky.org for all the registration details.
Adding up justice
As black history month came to a close I thought about what slavery did or did not contribute to the coffers of the U.S. Treasury. Some say a little, others not much and others are not sure.
But according to the April 18, 2011, Time magazine, there is a record.
Slave owners were not immune to the expansions of 19th century America. They too needed room to grow, and not just to plant more cotton. Slaves grew hemp and mined gold and built railroads and sewed clothes.
The economic engine of slavery was immensely powerful. Slaves were the single largest financial asset in the United States, worth over $3.5 billion in 1860 dollars, more than the value of America's railroads, banks, factories or ships. Cotton was by far the largest U.S. export. It enriched Wall Street banks and fueled New England textile mills. This economic giant demanded a piece of the Western action.
Now I get concerned about the phrase "liberty and justice for all." It took 100 years after slavery for black people to get civil rights. Meanwhile, all these other ethnic groups over here, whose ancestors never turned a spade of soil or picked a bale of cotton — making America rich and powerful — they're going around like they are entitled.
For black people the scales of justice are still out of balance.
Justice for all or "just us." You be the judge.