Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

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

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What's Happened to Honesty?

With a question like "What's Happened to Honesty?" you might think I was planning to point out the actions of one of our political leaders. I'm not. The sad fact is there is too much dishonesty in politics to rate pointing fingers. None of us are surprised to discover a political leader has lied to us. We are most often surprised when elected officials tell us the truth.

Honesty simply isn't expected unless we are talking about sex. Much ado has been made of Clinton's lies to the American public over his sex life. We gleefully watched the press chase after Gary Hart when he dared them to discover his dishonesty. We want the dirty little secrets out but not the big ones. We don't talk much about Bush senior and his involvement in the Contra scandal. Heaven forbid that we accuse W of any dishonesty...that is...UN-American. Yeah right. That is just the problem...honesty is becoming un-American.

Right now the Atlanta-based Cumulus Media Company is being sued because a Lexington radio personality ran a contest with a hundred grand as the prize. Norreasha Gill filed a complaint Wednesday in Fayette District Court against the owners of WLTO-FM because the station presented her with a "100Grand" candy bar instead of the $100,000 she was expecting. Night host DJ Slick and some of his listeners might think the candy bar stunt funny. I doubt that the FCC will, but that isn't the point. Gill believed the station was acting in good faith. She should not have to depend upon anyone enforce honesty.

Right now someone very dear to me is headed to divorce court and possibly for bankruptcy. After thirty years of marriage and investment in excess of a million dollars into building their dream home, his wife decided she didn't want to live up to the contract they made. A lot of things could be said about his marriage breaking up, his job keeps him away for long hours; he and his wife have grown apart. But there were promises made and the expectation that those promises would be kept leaves him with children to raise alone and caused him to take on a load of debt that will be very difficult to manage alone. On a very personal level someone wasn't honest. Now the courts will sort it out.

If you want to know why our country has more litigation than any other in the world you don't have to look far. When honesty becomes un-American our courts are strained to the breaking point with the excess baggage of our lies. No matter how highly placed we must not listen to those who tell us not to question. We have a duty to our children, our nation, and ourselves to demand honest answers to our questions. We must hold the dishonest accountable at every level of society. Most of all we have a responsibility to demand honesty of ourselves. As always, truth begins or ends with us.

Friday, June 10, 2005

First Candidate files for 7th District City Council Seat

Councilman Bill Cegelka has set his sights on higher office this election cycle. He is leaving the 7th District seat open in his bid for the County Attorney's Office. Rumors are flying about who might be running as his replacement. So far only one candidate has come forward. Twenty-four-year-old candidate, Justin Dobbs, is the first to throw his hat into the ring for our 7th District City Council Seat.

As far as I have been able to determine, Justin Dobbs is making his first run at public office. However, the political newcomer seems to have considered a political career early. In high school he was elected president of the school's Young Democrats Club. He also spent several months in 2003-2004 working on Congressman Ben Chandler's campaign.

We will see who steps up next. There are other names being batted around, but none will be posted until the candidate has offically filed for the position.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Turning the Tide on Illegal Immigration

I have just returned from vacation in Mexico. I had a lot of time to sit on the beach and relax while an enormous number of hard working people made me feel pampered and spoiled. Most of those people were working for wages of about four dollars a day. Some, the lucky ones, were also getting tips from tourists. I have never met a harder working group of people or workers that spoke with such sincerity when they said, "I love my job."

Don't get me wrong. Most of the time I love my job too. After all, it was a gift from my boss that made this trip possible for my partner and I. I spend my days in an air-conditioned office working for people who respect me. I have health insurance and other benefits the workers there only dream about.

I also know the kind of poverty and hardship that makes me appreciate the luck I have had in being here. I grew up in a large Irish-American family under conditions similar to the ones many Mexican families risk their lives crossing the border to escape. Poverty and hardship are not exclusive to any country or people. Americans work hard. Jobs here are often thankless and difficult. My father worked as a logger, a driller, and used a cutting torch in a junkyard until his lungs and heart gave out. My mother spent ten to sixteen hours a day in a sewing factory and spent so much time on her feet that she needs to have both knees replaced. I have housed tobacco, flipped burgers and worked in the sewing factory. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to do better.

The great flood of people crossing our borders every day to pick fruit and clean houses believe in that opportunity to do better. Some will find it. Some will die reaching for the American Dream, the chance to improve their lot in life. I listen to arguments that illegals are taking jobs away from Americans. For the most part that isn't true. The jobs offered illegals are often the illegal jobs. They are filling our sweatshops and laboring below the minimum wage with no benefits, and often no hope of improving their lot. But their children are growing up citizens, and the family left behind in Mexico is benefiting from the dollars flowing home. They dream for their children, for the future, just as I dream of seeing my daughter and grandsons have a better life than mine.

If we are to stem the tide of illegals in this country we cannot focus on closing the border. We must focus on closing the sweatshop. We must go after the homeowner, who hires illegals to tend his garden, fix his roof, and watch his children. We must go after the farmer who loads up trucks with fieldworkers who cannot demand legal working conditions or fair wages. We must be willing to pay more for the food on our table and the clothing we wear. When we are ready to pay the price of labor and punish those who break the law the tide will turn. Until then, we will continue to see a flood of people risking their lives to serve us.