Tuesday, November 04, 2003


Get Out the Vote!

Today is also election day. Be sure to get out and do your civic duty. I know things are in a mess right now, but the only way to change that is to turn out and vote. Yes, I'm one of those who still believes that my vote actually matters. I have to. It's the only was I can keep from packing up Keith, comics, computer, and kitties and becoming an expatriate.

It doesn't look good here in Kentucky. We're voting for the new governor, and our choices are a centrist Democrat who keeps trying to paint himself as a conservative and a Republican congressman who has done nothing in Washington but toe the BushCo. line of bull.

In the meantime, we're in a budget crisis brought on in large part by a Republican-controlled legislature who thinks it's more important to fight with the Democratic governor than actually do anything about falling revenues.

The Republicans took over the state legislature a couple of years ago, and everything has been going to hell ever since. If they gain control of the governor's office too, there's no telling what could happen. I picture rolling back the few laws that keep the coal companies from blasting every mountain in Eastern Kentucky to rubble, and that's just for starters.

They've already managed to start weakening the historic educational reform in the state and eliminate the vehicle emissions program here in Louisville that was actually making a difference for cleaner air. That smart move, by the way, is going to put us out of compliance with EPA regulations and will wind up costing us federal highway dollars.

There's a lot at stake, in other words. But it doesn't look good for the Dems. Our sitting governor was involved in a sex scandal of Clintonesque proportions last year, and it's sloshed over on to the Democratic candidate, who is the current Attorney General. The campaign has been ugly, with a lot of outside Republican special interest groups running nasty, inaccurate ads that manage to skirt the boundaries of Kentucky campaign finance laws. They can't give that money directly to the candidate, but they can use it to run inaccurate, deceitful advertising until the cows come home.

As if that weren't bad enough, the Republican party here in Louisville is placing "election challengers" in black precincts in the city to "prevent election fraud." Believe it or not, we have a state law here that allows these challengers, who can basically intimidate people into not voting. The ACLU sued to try and stop this return to the days of the poll tax, but was rebuffed by a judge who didn't see any racial bias in the plan, despite the fact that only largely black precincts are targeted. If the Republicans are that concerned about vote fraud, why aren't they placing challengers in all the precincts? The whole thing is the most blatant attempt to disenfranchise minority voters since the days of the civil rights movement.

It doesn't look good. The Democrats are trailing in the polls. Kentucky is not a wealthy state. We've been reeling from Bush's disastrous handling of the economy. We don't need one of his cronies driving nails in our coffin.

Republicans tend to win elections that are held on my birthday. It's a cruel, twisted irony, but it's true. For my 16th birthday, the American people gave me Ronald Reagan. I still haven't forgiven them. Now it looks like my fellow Kentuckians are about to give me another tacky, ill-fitting present that I won't be able to exchange for four years. Thanks a lot.


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