Letters to the Editor

Letters on Fancy Farm picnic: Aug. 15

Not welcoming to diversity

The lack of people of color who attended the 130th annual Fancy Farm Picnic was very disappointing. With one person of color present on stage and very few in the crowd, it was as if non-white people have no place in the political arena.

That is so far from the truth. Votes from non-whites are no less important than from those who are white.

I believe part of the picnic's problem is that it doesn't seem to really welcome people of color. I say this because of the experience my colleagues and I had at the hall of Knights of Columbus #1418, the main food vendor for this event.

We were seated in the only diverse section of the hall and we were watched over, harassed and I was asked to leave. It was so bad that one of the three white males at our table said, "Man, they just won't leave y'all alone."

Toma Lynn Smith


Paul comment shows disrespect

It deeply saddens this Kentucky Colonel that I've lived outside of the commonwealth for the past five years. I particularly miss my annual pilgrimage from Lexington to visit family in Western Kentucky and attend the Fancy Farm Picnic.

That is why I'm particularly incensed by Rand Paul's current foot-in-his-mouth moment.

Paul's unfounded comment about being afraid that beer would be thrown on him at Fancy Farm is, I believe, his most egregious comment yet. It is worse than his comments about BP and the Civil Rights Act, because this attack is leveled directly against those he purportedly seeks to represent.

It is not offensive purely because of its untruthfulness; it is offensive because of the responsibility and seriousness with which Fancy Farm officials approach their service to Kentucky politics.

And to denigrate that for cheap political points on a nationally syndicated radio show is astonishingly beyond the pale. It confirms Paul's disinterest in running a statewide — instead of a national — campaign, but it furthermore shows his outright contempt for the people and traditions of the commonwealth.

The good people of the commonwealth should reject this cowardly apology issued by a campaign spokesperson.

Instead, Paul should call the Sean Hannity show and admit that for a cheap laugh he lied — like Sen. Jim Bunning before him — about the behavior of the folks at the picnic.

Barrett Gough

Iowa City, Iowa

Paul was in no danger

I don't wonder that the parishioners of St. Jerome Catholic Church were angry at Senate candidate Rand Paul's remarks about Fancy Farm. There is not a shred of truth in them. I was at Fancy Farm all afternoon. There was nothing thrown at Paul or any speaker as the state troopers at the foot of the stage could attest.

St. Jerome is in a dry county. There was no beer.

Paul arrived minutes before he was to take the stage and, after perfunctory acknowledgments of his hosts, sat huddled on the stage with Sen. Mitch McConnell, nodding grim-faced as the senator talked.

When it was time for him to speak, he read a stump speech about the weight of the U.S. tax code, as if knowing its dimensions somehow constituted a reasoned position on its contents.

And he ranted about President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid.

After his speech, Paul and McConnell left immediately in a black SUV with flashing lights, while Gov. Steve Beshear, Attorney General Jack Conway and the rest of the guests on the stage remained for the other speakers.

If Paul can't stand a little booing, he is in the wrong game.

Rhodes Johnston