To the Editor:
I am a subscriber to The Grayson County News-Gazette. I typically avoid the “Opinion” page as it is usually a commentary written by one of Kentucky’s elected leaders. Without fail, when our esteemed Sen. Mitch McConnell writes his commentaries they are filled with half-truths or outright lies and I can’t handle the rise in my blood pressure. However, the headline “Show votes and Post-It notes” caught my eye on May 16, 2012. After days of ruminating over his disparaging remarks about President Barack Obama, I made the decision to voice my opinion in the same publication, my local newspaper.
I am not a quiet, apathetic, uninformed whiner when it comes to our country’s current state of affairs. I write letters and sign petitions to our Senators and Representatives and voice my opinion every chance I get. I also vote. I stay informed by reading several national publications such as Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and The New York Times. I do not watch cable news. The news on television has become more about the personalities and biases of the “newscasters and pundits” than about actual news.
In his commentary, Mr. McConnell refers to President Obama as the divider-in-chief. This offensive remark comes from the man who stated on Nov. 4, 2010, that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Mr. McConnell set the tone for a future of no bipartisanship by actually telling the truth. He created a future of obstructionism unheard of before. As Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell has created a do-nothing Congress with the lowest approval ratings in history.
Now, here are some facts about our senator. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Mitch McConnell one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress. His voting record is a blatant display of homage to special interests such as financial/investment (top 20 campaign donors and he voted against the Dodd-Frank Act), the oil industry (voted in favor of big oil companies on 100 percent of oil-related bills including the wars, climate change studies, clean energy and emissions). Sen. McConnell also supports Citizen’s United, a Supreme Court ruling which basically gives corporations “personhood” and allows unlimited campaign contributions.
Mr. McConnell’s rating by the Alliance for Retired Americans is 0 percent, indicating an anti-senior citizen voting record. He is rated 0 percent by Americans United, indicating opposition to church-state separation. He is rated 0 percent by the AFL-CIO, indicating an anti-union voting record. He is rated 0 percent by the American Public Health Association, indicating an anti-public health voting record. He is rated 0 percent by the League of Conservation Voters, indicating anti-environment votes. He is rated 0 percent by the Corporate Average Fuel, indicating opposition to energy independence. He is rated 0 percent by the Human Rights Campaign, indicating an anti-gay stance. He is rated 7 percent by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative action stance. Mr. McConnell still refuses to support ending the Bush-era tax cuts for millionaires and using the revenue to invest in children’s programs such as Head Start and education. Mr. McConnell most recently voted against the Violence Against Women Act and the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Act of 2012. I could cite many more examples of his voting record and his ratings by other watchdog groups, but I think you get the implication.
Mr. McConnell does not care about the citizens of our state. His pockets are lined with the dollars (net worth $9.8 million in 2011) from special interest groups and his voting record proves it. Mr. McConnell touts limited government without mentioning that his agenda affects the salaries and benefits of teachers, first responders and other public employees. He supports right-to-work laws which remove all the protections that your unions provide.
Despite what Mr. McConnell and his cronies say, the Affordable Care Act is a good thing. People can buy insurance with pre-existing conditions, people can no longer be dropped by their provider for insignificant reasons, women are no longer required to pay more for their coverage than men, people get a rebate on their premiums if 80-85 percent is not used for health care, young adults are no longer dropped from their parents’ policies when they turn 18, and small businesses are receiving tax credits so they can insure their employees. There are many more benefits from the Affordable Care Act, but these should suffice.
President Obama is not divisive. He is an optimist. He is a values-driven man of integrity and hope. He is a compassionate and kind leader. Mr. McConnell has opposed and obstructed every piece of legislation that President Obama has proposed to stimulate our economy. And, despite Mr. McConnell’s do-nothing Congress, the economy is improving and the unemployment numbers are improving. It is impossible to rebound from eight years of George W. Bush in just three years. I think President Obama has done a remarkable job and I for one, am very proud of him.
And, now my message to Mr. McConnell. I would expect that your campaign advice will fall on deaf ears. President Obama is far too intelligent and principled to listen to your fabrications and he does not pander to the lowest common denominator. Without doubt, that is your area of expertise, and I suggest you save it for the Koch brothers and your other billionaire donors. As a liberal, I know I am a minority in my old Kentucky home. But, I take great pride in my bleeding heart and never hesitate to speak up for the values and beliefs that make me a liberal Kentuckian. I have never voted for you and I never will. I may, however, volunteer to campaign against you should you run for office again. So please allow me to offer you some campaign advice. Retire. You’ve been in Washington far too long and I’m sure you have a comfy nest egg squirreled away.
I would like to close this letter with a quote from civil rights activist Dr. Cornel West: “If your success is defined as being well adjusted to injustice and well adapted to indifference, then we don’t want successful leaders. We want great leaders—who love the people enough and respect the people enough to be unbought, unbound, unafraid, and unintimidated to tell the truth.”