Drone’s-eye view of Kentucky’s fall foliage
Breaking up with Kentucky
My dearest Kentucky, these letters are never easy to write. After all, our stories have been so intertwined that the thought of breaking apart is hard to imagine. I and seven generations of my fathers have called you home. I have spent years getting to know you so very well and I can truly say that my love for you has gone ever deeper as time has progressed. Yet, lately, I have found myself struggling to justify the place I have seen you become. You have allowed yourself to become involved with some very bad people and their influence has twisted you into something I hardly recognize. I have watched you break promises to the people who devoted their lives to you; I have watched you excoriate and insult those who struggle every day to make you a better place; and I have seen you destroy and dismantle the support networks meant to protect the most vulnerable among us. Staying with you would mean that I and the ones I cherish most would be worse off for it. So, I am leaving you, Kentucky. Please know that no matter where I am in this world, you will be the place I call home.
Tyler Mudd, Versailles
Back-road time travels
After moving to central Kentucky three years ago I started driving back roads to explore my new home region. In the process, I have come to appreciate the attitude of those who make decisions regarding rural Bluegrass roads and byways. Most highway departments see it as their mission to straighten, flatten, widen and clear every roadway, shoulder and margin, erecting stretches of steel railings for safety. In the Bluegrass, to the benefit of history, tradition and sheer beauty, a more restrained approach seems to prevail. Many of our country roads seem to take the motorist back in time, where curves, hills, and narrow rights of way remain, where old stone fences line the route, and where ancient trees grow beside the pavement, often arching over the roadways between horse farms. I sometimes believe I am seeing the countryside the way it looked 100 years ago. Maintaining our country roads in such a way may not meet current highway safety standards or satisfy those in a hurry. But for those willing to take the time to discover, preservation of this fragment of the past adds significantly to the sense of the history and uniqueness of the Bluegrass, and I say, “Thank you.”
Arthur T. LaBar, Richmond
Kudos to Desrochers
I confess that as the subscription price for the newspaper goes up I debate whether I should just drop it. But the recent column by Herald-Leader reporter Daniel Desrochers on Lexington’s gay-rights history reminds me why it is worth the price. At least until the next bump.
James Donovan, Lexington
Evangelical aversion ‘self-inflicted’
In response to a recent letter writer, being hated by non-evangelicals, even for the sake of righteousness, is not a good enough reason for electing the likes of President Donald Trump. My Bible says to love my enemies. In other words: “two wrongs don’t make a right”. There is no Christian vindication for electing someone with a history of profound corruption and immorality; with little personal regard for the law; who resorted to sordid means to get elected; who rules as a nationalistic, dictatorial demagogue; who demonizes and brutalizes the refugees and immigrants; who exploits the poor and vulnerable; whose tongue pours forth lies, vulgarity, and violence, and who has authorized environmental destruction. Scripture has lots to say about all of these vile acts but there is no biblical justification for revenge or Christians vying for political power; to do such at the expense of doing justly and loving mercy is a grotesque offense to the Christ we claim to follow. Much of society’s “hatred” toward evangelicals is self-inflicted as we have so often failed to live the love of Christ we profess. The evangelical support for Trump is but one monumental example.
Beverly Johnson-Miller, Lexington
Letter missed mark
A recent letter writer who is a professor of religion and author of “two books on American Evangelism”, took to task Paul Prather’s recent Herald-Leader column discussing why American evangelicals may be turning away from their heretofore very solid support for President Donald Trump. This support has seemed strange to us who are not “evangelicals” because Trump seems the very antithesis of values commonly ascribed to the teachings of Jesus Christ (love, tolerance, forgiveness, caring for the poor, sick, imprisoned and the stranger). The writer ends the letter with the plaint that “evangelicals quite simply want to vote for someone who does not hate them”. I believe liberals do not hate evangelicals; they just are confused by their hypocrisy and undeserved self-righteousness. Evangelicals, at least and certainly, bear a striking resemblance to the Pharisees of the New Testament era with their hypocrisy, outward display of piety and criticism of those they considered sinners (often the poor and downtrodden that Jesus loved and ministered to. Consider Luke 15: 37-54 and Matthew 23: 1-39). It was the Sanhedrin (primarily Pharisees and Sadducees) who interceded with Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus. Prather is a treasure who should be read thoughtfully by everyone.
George W. Noe, Harrodsburg
Repeal military forces permission
Last year Sen. Rand Paul commendably tried to get the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) dating from 2001 repealed. Our other two members of Congress, Rep. Andy Barr and Sen. Mitch McConnell, should also support AUMF repeal.
In September 2001, Congress passed an AUMF to enable President George W. Bush to respond to the 9-11 attacks by invading Afghanistan. It was not anticipated then that three presidents (Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump) would cite the vaguely worded 2001 AUMF as authorizing insertion of U.S. military forces into conflicts in 20 additional countries around the world.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently expressed interest in launching a war against Iran, suggesting, while keeping a straight face, that no congressional authorization would be needed because the 2001 AUMF for Afghanistan and the 2002 AUMF for Iraq are still in effect. Article I of the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war. So, Congress should fulfill its constitutionally mandated responsibility to oversee war-making. Repeal of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs will result in presidents either eventually withdrawing military forces from various places or obtaining limited, country-specific authorizations from Congress to continue those deployments.
Christopher Daniel, Frankfort
Whittling poverty helps all
Poverty reduction helps everyone, not just those who are poor. The world’s poor are one of the largest untapped markets on earth. As people are alleviated from poverty, they transition into becoming consumers. This opens new markets for U.S. companies and creates American jobs. Many corporations have already benefited substantially from the poverty reduction that has occurred in India, China, and other parts of the world.
Not only is it in our favor to reduce poverty for economic means, but also for our national security. Poverty creates desperate people and unstable conditions, which gives room for terrorist groups to arise. The world’s most notoriously dangerous countries are also among the poorest.
Poverty in the United States and poverty abroad are not competing interests. Our foreign policy should be focused on international poverty not only because it’s in our strategic interest, but because it’s the right thing to do. Likewise, our domestic policy should focus on domestic poverty.
The United States is one of the first countries in history that has the ability and political power to help end poverty. With power comes responsibility, and we should therefore lead out in the fight against poverty.
Hannah Whitaker, Lexington