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Constance Alexander: Speaking out more important than ever as country grapples with radical ideals


My mother always taught us to speak out when there was a reason to do so, but she coached us to be polite in the process. She suggested beginning with the phrase, “I don’t mean to be rude…” to temper hostility or waylay physical attack. So today, with a plethora of situations that warrant speaking out, I try to apply mom’s advice.

First, consider the official list of Kentucky public holidays, which includes Robert E. Lee Day, Confederate Memorial Day, and Jefferson Davis Day. The designation does not mean state employees get those days off, but they are still on the books. Last year, a proposal to remove them was introduced in the legislature on January 13. A week later, it died in committee.

Kentucky was not even a Confederate State, so why officially cling to a lost cause and insist on glorifying leaders who embraced slavery? Others have made the change, including real Confederate states like Virginia and Alabama. I don’t mean to be rude, but isn’t it about time those days were lopped off Kentucky’s list of holidays?

Next, I am compelled to mention that the legislature is in session, Republicans firmly in control. A worldwide pandemic is raging. Governor Andy Beshear has been consistent in messaging about Covid-19 and stalwart in his efforts to do the right thing.

Many are grateful for his consistent attention and unstinting commitment to public health. His pleas for citizens to wear masks, wash their hands, and socially distance are appreciated by those who applaud bold action in the midst of an emergency. While the constitutionality of some mandates has been questioned, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously ruled in November that dozens of Beshear’s restrictions were legal under the executive powers the Legislature had previously granted the state’s governors.

And now there is a movement afoot to impeach him.

Constance Alexander is a columnist, award-winning poet and playwright, and President of INTEXCommunications in Murray. She can be reached at constancealexander@twc.com. Or visit www.constancealexander.com.

Far be it from me to be rude, but legislators seem to have forgotten that their guy for guv, Matt Bevin, was so unlikeable that even staunch Republicans went out of their way to vote for the Democrat. So why the action against a man who is doing his job and doing it well?

It is difficult to show restraint in speaking out against the insurrectionists who stormed the nation’s Capitol last week. Exhortations by the president, his son, Rudy Giuliani, and others who urged the rabble to march to the Capitol and fight for what they believe in should be condemned. The same goes for the violent and seditious rampage once they got there.

Why hold back in questioning the lack of security preparedness, and decrying the many hours it took to restore a semblance of peace? Were those security guards really posing for selfies with rioters? What about the criminals, armed and dangerous, who walked out with impunity afterwards? Even if they are ultimately charged, will they be pardoned by the president as he leaves office?

Days after the deadly riot, a photo ad posted on the United Kentucky Facebook page promised there would be “the biggest patriot rally the state of Kentucky has ever seen” outside the commonwealth’s statehouse on Saturday. About 100 protesters, many of them armed, lurked while the General Assembly was in session. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, one armed man who carried zip ties attached to his backpack told a photographer he brought them “just in case.”

Who knows what’s next? The world is spinning out of control. As far as speaking out, I’ve done the best I can do for now. In “The Second Coming,” poet William Butler Yeats put it this way:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

For more information about the poem and its connections to current events, visit lithub.com.


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2 Comments

  1. Mike Nolan says:

    Thank you for your excellent column. I wish some top officials would try to answer your inquiries.

  2. Anne Adams says:

    Way to go, my friend. Another excellent article! Thank you for making us think!

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