braham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
We have seen on the national stage what happens when the wrong people are given power, but our Kentucky GOP legislators have an opportunity to make a real positive statement.
Now, and likely for the near future, the Republican Party has a supermajority and is in full control of the state’s General Assembly. The only caveat is the governor is a Democrat.
This type of clout gives the GOP a lot of latitude, and a great opportunity to do something we haven’t seen much of lately — the opportunity to do the right and responsible thing.
When asked about his novel and its character, Forrest Gump, Southern novelist Winston Groom explained, “As I see it, it’s a story about human dignity, and the fact that you don’t have to be smart or rich to maintain your dignity, even when some pretty undignified things are happening all around you.”
Somewhere along the way, dignity has been shoved aside in many places, especially politics. Even many of President Trump’s supporters will often admit he has been pretty undignified on many occasions, and that was before the events of last week. Kentucky had a paler version when Gov. Bevin was in office. And yes, the Democrats have had some pretty undignified moments, as well.
The enablers are just as guilty.
Everyone could anticipate what happened last week in Washington D.C. except for our leaders. Kentucky came very close to a similar incident when Gov. Beshear was hung in effigy last year and a group came very close to the governor’s door where his family resides.
But now, the Kentucky GOP and its leadership have an opportunity to restore some dignity and decorum to our state’s politics. They are in control, so the political rhetoric can be reduced in favor of words and actions that promote some unity. No one is saying there has to be a Pollyanna attitude, but it would not hurt to remember we are all Kentuckians and Americans with many of the same goals, no matter the political affiliation.
There have been encouraging signs. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell led Congress in the aftermath of the assault on the U.S. Capitol to reconvene and certify the election and a peaceful transfer of power. And Kentucky was absent from that hideous lawsuit by the Texas attorney general challenging other state election results — something that should be appreciated by all Kentuckians.
We have a chance in Kentucky to get back to conducting the people’s business without losing our dignity.