It’s a real mys­tery why American vot­ers con­tin­ue to put peo­ple into office who will make – and have already made – deci­sions that neg­a­tive­ly impact those very vot­ers time and again.

It hap­pens at both the nation­al and state lev­el.  Part of the rea­son­ing (if “rea­son­ing” can real­ly be used here as an expla­na­tion) is that those who are already in office have gained name recog­ni­tion and are returned to office sole­ly because so many vot­ers fail to research issues and sim­ply pull the lever for a name they recognize.

What seems to be hap­pen­ing more and more in cur­rent times is that leg­is­la­tors pur­sue bills and laws which con­tin­ue to whit­tle away at the rights of indi­vid­u­als at the same time that those same leg­is­la­tors sim­ply lie to the vot­ers about what their inten­tions will be in office, and then do exact­ly the opposite.

At the nation­al lev­el, sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives go to the vot­ers and con­vince them that, for instance, all the coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky can be brought back or that chang­ing the tax laws will ben­e­fit the aver­age wage earn­er instead of lin­ing the pock­ets of cor­po­rate CEOs or that main­tain­ing vot­ing rights laws is no longer nec­es­sary because the states are not erod­ing those rights.

At the state lev­el (it’s dif­fer­ent in every state but a look at events in Kentucky reflects those in many oth­er states) and just dur­ing this leg­isla­tive ses­sion, numer­ous bills have been pro­posed and passed that, while being tout­ed as pro­tec­tion of indi­vid­ual rights, erode or elim­i­nate many of those rights.

Every ses­sion pro­duces bills designed to lim­it a woman’s right to adjudge con­trol of her own body — and it’s a fur­ther mys­tery why Republicans seem to be so fix­at­ed on this issue.  It comes up in some form every year.

There is a pro­pos­al this year to reduce the state income tax.  Sounds good for the aver­age vot­er, except the income tax pro­vides the nec­es­sary mon­ey for infra­struc­ture such as roads and edu­ca­tion­al ser­vices.  The reduc­tion is esti­mat­ed to cost Kentucky 1.8 bil­lion dol­lars and will have to be made up some­where.  Will they sug­gest rais­ing the sales tax or apply­ing it to gro­ceries?  Since low-and-mid­dle-income work­ers spend a larg­er pro­por­tion of their income on nec­es­sary pur­chas­es, they will be the ones bear­ing the dis­pro­por­tion­al load of that suggestion.

Charter schools.  Sounds good.  Let fam­i­lies use the mon­ey pumped into this pro­gram to select where their chil­dren attend school.  Of course, the fam­i­lies who sup­port and like the pub­lic schools will suf­fer when the mon­ey extract­ed from the pub­lic school sys­tem makes those schools less able to meet the require­ments of edu­cat­ing their kids.

Trans ath­lete ban.  A solu­tion in search of a prob­lem.  A law that has no foun­da­tion in neces­si­ty and is designed to dis­crim­i­nate against an infin­i­tes­i­mal num­ber of indi­vid­u­als.  How does a law like this make life bet­ter for individuals?

How about the bill giv­ing school super­in­ten­dents pow­ers that for­mer­ly resided with the SBDM coun­cils?  That is cer­tain­ly not a way to empow­er individuals.

Library boards.  SB 167 was enact­ed, admit­ted­ly and for­tu­nate­ly, with a num­ber of changes that made it less oner­ous.  But it’s a bill that does noth­ing to ele­vate the pow­er of indi­vid­u­als with the excep­tion of the one indi­vid­ual in each coun­ty called the judge/executive, who will now have the sole pow­er to appoint local pub­lic library board mem­bers, replac­ing a three-tiered sys­tem that worked for decades.  A fur­ther ques­tion about this bill is why were only library boards sin­gled out for this leg­is­la­tion, espe­cial­ly when one of the bill’s spon­sors admit­ted that “most” libraries oper­ate for the ben­e­fit of their constituencies?

So, when some­one run­ning for office tells you that he or she wants to work for the indi­vid­ual, don’t take it with a “grain of salt.”  Take it with a dose of cyanide because it is, most like­ly, a poi­son pill.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.