Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Republican Big Three

Last November I went into a tailspin of depression following the election. My depression did not stem from anything I could personally prevent. I had invested a great deal of time, energy, and money into working for candidates and causes I believed in. What I watched in horror on election night was Kentucky handing Republicans a resounding win of the big GOP three. No, not Bush, Cheney, and Bunning, no candidate can top the trio of God, Gays, and Guns.

I don’t think God holds a formal membership in the Republican Party. I could be wrong about this. I have not had any divine revelation of God’s political affiliations, but he did not strike me dead when I disapproved of the Republican Injustice Sunday Carnival. Although I pray daily, and actually take the time to meditate upon how I could better serve the divine purpose of life, God has never seen fit to speak to me in the moral absolutes used when talking to such godlike personages as Senator First and President Bush. Perhaps it is because we serve different gods.

We serve different gods because I could not serve a god that values the unborn above those already here. I have heard all the abortion arguments. Don’t get me wrong. I detest abortion. When I had to make the decision for myself, I chose to have my baby. My daughter is nearly 30 now and I only regretted my choice a few times…probably about the same number of times those who have abortions wish they had made a different choice. The one thing I have never regretted is having the ability to choose. No good parent can honestly say raising a child is easy. Everyday across America parents are making sacrifices to give to their children.

Nobody else should be able to visit unwillingly on another the responsibility of giving birth. Doing so makes for bad parents, bad children, and a bad society. We must for the sake of our children do everything we can to see that no woman has to give up her life for that of her child. Get rid of the guilt and social stigma faced by single mothers. Provide support within the community for children so the entire burden does not fall on the mother. Teach responsible sex education. Provide birth control. And for all our sakes, pay women enough to afford to raise children above the poverty line. This will do more to stop abortion and child abuse than all the laws we can pass. The family values folks would have you believe otherwise, but if we want to save the unborn we must first save the ones falling through the cracks now. But, like I said, my god spends a lot more time loving and a lot less time judging than the one running the Republican Party these days.

I know I serve different Gods because the one on the Republican Right has me listed in the “burn in Hell” category. Yes…I know it will shock everyone but I am a lesbian. I can’t say I really mind the fact that they expect me to burn forever for loving my wife. Yes. I said my wife. Sarah and I are married. I am deeply saddened by the fact that our marriage and the marriages of other Gay and Lesbian people have been used to create a legal fiction under American law. The state may legally pretend we are not married and treat us differently than it does other married people. Condemnation and ridicule by the Right cannot take away from my relationship with my wife or the sacred vows we made before our chaplain, our families, and God. So, if the God they hold so dear must torture me forever, I will go to my grave grateful for the life I lived blessed by love.

Now it is time for everyone to get out his or her guns. Come on, we know you have at least one. The great commonwealth of Kentucky has even given you permission to carry them concealed into your local church. Altogether now, find the liberals, the gays, the single parents, the pro-choice, the poor in your congregation and fire. It is for the moral good of America to send those unworthy of God’s love to Hell now. Otherwise, they might vote for Democrats next year.

I realize that the sarcasm of that last paragraph may offend some readers. But it is time we faced the truth about this hyperbole being spouted by the Right. This week a UCC Church in Florida was vandalized because they welcomed gays into the congregation. It is only the most recent assault upon those who disagree with Right. The speakers may not bomb the abortion clinic personally or set fire to a church parish house, but claming divine justifications for smaller injustices paves the way for larger ones. We are better than this. For all our sakes, let God speak for you rather than trying to speak for God.

Monday, April 25, 2005

In-justice Sunday

Yesterday I attended two different rallies protesting the "Justice Sunday" broadcast taking place at Louisville's Highview Baptist Church. Much has been written about both the broadcast and the protest. I do not want to replace your newspapers for reporting on the events, so I will include the links to their reports. My own comments are brief, and concern only why I consider this event unjust.

First, let me say, I am deeply religious and regularly worship, but I am not Christian or Republican. I resent the Republican's theft of the term "person of faith". As a person of faith, I find the injustice of the Republican Party attempting to use Christians to push their agenda particularly sickening. The injustice is not just the exclusion of those Americans who are of other faiths. That exclusion was highlighted by choosing Passover as their "Justice Sunday." The far greater injustice is to come between people of the Christian faith who do not belong to the Republican Party and their God.

How can the Republican Party stoop so low as to attempt to steal God from those Christians who are not Republican? There is no more sacred relationship. Nor is there any justification for intruding upon a person's faith to promote a political agenda. I know it is not the first time Republicans mistook electoral victory for Divine mandate. Long ago, there was another Republican Congress that attempted to make God into a Republican. At that time, they had a wiser leader. President Abraham Lincoln refused to join with Congress in prayers for God to be on his side of the political spectrum. He thought it better that Congress pray to be on God's side. In that prayer, I would be happy to join with Christians and Republicans. I am sure that Americans of many faiths would join in that prayer.

And now, some links:

1) Today's Courier-Journal has detailed coverage of all the events, including a picture gallery:

2) The New York Times article:

3) Herald-Leader story:

4) The Washington Post reports that Democrats are holding firm.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Is Rep. Bill Farmer Beatable?

A reader raised the question of Bill Farmer’s vulnerability today. The short answer, in my opinion, is "YES. A good candidate has an excellent chance to beat Bill Farmer."

Farmer, now deeply into his second term, has given the 88th a lackluster performance. Having the same name as a popular city councilman helped him gain the office, but any candidate who is willing to dispel the connection between Representative Bill Farmer and Councilman Bill Farmer, Jr. would rob him of those votes and force him to run on his record.

Farmer's is not the sort of legislative record a candidate could boast of when running for reelection. The handful of bills he sponsored rarely make it out of committee. His most successful efforts have been on the coattails of other legislators, such as his signing on to the collective bargaining bill introduced by Rep. Kathy Stein. In most cases, he simply votes the Republican Party line and does nothing for the district at large. He did manage to get one of his bills through the legislature. It was an exciting piece of legislation allowing businesses to fax signatures into the state government. While useful, his business legislation impacts only a small number of constituents.

We need a Representative of all the people in the 88th. Farmer is hampered by his reluctance to meet and mingle with voters. He may represent the Republicans of the district, but he does not represent me. In fact, he doesn't even talk to me. On the occasions I have called his office or written him Rep. Farmer has not even bothered to reply. I have not met him in person, ever, although I attempted to visit his office once. It seems I chose a day when my representative was too busy to see me. This kind of distance from the voters makes him vulnerable to a candidate who is willing to be up close and personal with citizens of the 88th. If a candidate is willing to step up and walk the neighborhoods of the 88th could seriously cut into his numbers.

Let's look at those numbers. A cursory glance at the last election makes Farmer's seat seem secure. After all, he carried the 88th with 67.2% of the vote, but look a little closer. Farmer was an incumbent Republican legislator, with strong party support and a well-funded campaign, running against a virtual unknown with no money and little assistance in an election year with a strong Republican president. Yet, Farmer garnered only 67% of the vote. Ordinarily, candidates running in this kind of race have captured virtually all of the votes cast. Even in a presidential election, Democrats tend to simply skip over the legislative race without a strong democratic candidate. According to the Kentucky Board of Elections, 20,508 votes were cast in the 88th, but only 13,776 votes went to Farmer. Less than 13% of the votes cast for Farmer came from outside his party. The makeup of the 88th district makes this fact extremely important. The 88th District is 46% Democrat, 44% Republican, with a healthy 10% of voters not belonging to either major party.

If someone out there would like to run against Farmer in 2006, I offer him or her the following advice: First, make sure that the voters understand the difference between Bill Farmer and Bill Farmer, Jr., the popular city councilman. Then get out and pound the pavement. Talk to every voter you can. Most of all, run with a plan. Let us know why you want the office and what you would do when elected. Yes the 88th is winnable. The 88th is crying for a real leader to step forward. Are you listening?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Change For Kentucky visits Ben Chandler's Lexington Office

Check out the details - and pictures - at:

Sarah G

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Open Letter to Congressman Ben Chandler

Today Sarah and I participated in a meeting on the Social Security issue with Congressman Chandler's aid at his Fayette County office. Since the congressman was unable to join us a presented the following letter to his staff to pass on to Chandler:
Dear Congressman Chandler,
Since I am not going to get to meet with you in person I am putting together a few comments and questions that I hope you will address. I would like to thank you for this meeting with our group. Even though you are busy in Washington, I know our concerns will be brought to your attention. I also want to thank you for your efforts to prevent President Bush from privatizing social security. Considering what the markets are doing he may find this plan an even harder sell than before.
Social Security, in my opinion, is the best program to come out of the New Deal. It is a prime example of how Democrats work to benefit all people, not just the wealthy. I am enclosing a copy of my blog entry on how the current administration is distorting FDR's ideas in their privatization scheme. The Republican plan is not at all what FDR had in mind, nor is it a plan Democrats can support. A solution to the problems with the annuity must be found, but the Bush plan would destroy rather than save Social Security.
I am interested in hearing what you are doing and any ideas you have for things we can do to help resolve the problems. However, I think congress must take more responsibility for the mess this program is in.
I am not sure how the other people here feel about this but I cannot accept the government's arguments about the Social Security problem. Yes, the program is in trouble, but it seems to me that it is in trouble because of government misuse of the trust fund. Interest on the Social Security Annuity has been systematically siphoned off for years. I feel as if he government has taken the money my mother worked ten hour shifts for in the sewing factory and used it to pay off the equivalent of credit card debt. I have included this chart to help demonstrate just how much has been removed from the funds.

Originally uploaded by hypatiax.
How can we trust congress to honestly work to save social security when they have spent years spending the money from our parents and grandparent's contributions to cover current programs? Along with the nearly 1.5 trillion that has been taken from the social security trust fund nearly 1.6 trillion is owed to other trust funds such as the Railroad Retirement Fund I paid into for many years. As nearly as I can tell, there are no plans to pay any of this money back. Can we expect you and other Congressional Democrats to work toward restoring the money past congresses have taken from the trust funds before any actions are taken to cut benefits or raise taxes?
I hope you will take time out of your busy schedule to address my questions. I am grateful for your efforts on behalf of Kentucky citizens. We have an aging population and an above average number of people on Social Security Disability. Though I do not always agree with you, this is an issue I think we can work together on. Thank you for having your aid meet with us today.
Gwen Mayo

Monday, April 11, 2005

Water Company Discussion

My neighbor and I got into a discussion of the RWE and the city council yesterday. The water company issue came up because supporters of FLOW were walking our neighborhood and asking voters to sign a petition to allow Lexington voters have the final say on Condemnation of the water company. First, let me say that Carl and I do not agree on the issue. He believes the mayor was wrong to press for condemnation of Kentucky American Water. He also believes that the issue should not be placed before the voters. I think condemnation is the right thing for Lexington. I also believe officials of Kentucky American Water bought several votes on the council through illegal campaign contributions and the only choice we have for a fair examination of the issue is to place it before the voters. That being said, our conversation was just conversation, two neighbors talking about a political issue and sharing opinions on the issue as easily as we discuss paint colors or landscaping tips.

I did not walk away with a different opinion, nor did he, but each of us took the time to talk about and think about the other side. Carl doesn't object to city ownership of the water company. What he objects to is the city acting to take over a company he believes was legally purchased and one that is doing a good job of supplying Lexington's water. I can understand his position. RWE didn't steal the company, they bought it, and he sincerely believes that the government has no right to try to take it away. I have looked carefully over the purchase, and walked away thinking that I should examine how RWE came to own our water. Since I have already outlined my reasons for supporting the condemnation efforts in past posts, I will not go into them here, but I think Carl may take a closer look at RWE and our current council.

And maybe, just maybe, a few more citizens should talk to their neighbors...really talk about what matters to Lexington. Spend a little time listening to the other side. Think about what is best for our city, our state, and our country. It might not bridge the divides we have over issues, but if all of us are thinking about what is best we are less likely to repeat some of our past mistakes.