A senator for the future

Mitch McConnell’s final argument sounds an awful lot like “the lesser of two evils” and “better the devil you know.” 

This is all that is left when you run a campaign against agendas, not for them.Like against Obama and not for a real healthcare alternative, jobs plan or stuff based on science.

So often in politics, we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. And in many cases, voters feel safer with the devil they know. I would argue that this is the biggest factor why incumbents win re-election around 90 percent of the time. However, as the candidates make their final pitches and the final undecided voters break one way or the other, it occurs to me that there is one (albeit subjective) fact that must be stated: After 30 years in the Senate, the devil we know is running for himself — not for the future of Kentucky or this country. 

Whichever candidate wins on Tuesday, I am sure he or she will provide six long years of hair-pulling, forehead-slapping, TV-cursing moments for all of us — Democrats in particular. Undoubtedly, there will be enough fresh material to keep this paper and this column busy, regardless of who wins. 

Nevertheless, the one closing argument that must be made is a point that Alison Grimes cannot make for herself: The most important outcome is electing the candidate that represents our future. 

To spare myself from hypocrisy, when I argued that we’re all a little bit racist and we need to drop the political correctness in order to get past the petty stuff, let me make that point in a more direct way: Mitch McConnell is too old to be a senator in 2015 (and to be fair, so are a lot of his colleagues), and if he wins he’ll be there until early 2021. Personally, I think Alison should promise NOT to vote for Harry Reid as senate majority leader, and actually not vote for him. But I digress.

To put my point in context, I was recently with my dad and two uncles, all in their early- to mid-60s, and all very successful in different ways. One of my uncles made the point that my generation — taking that to mean people anywhere from 20 to 40 years old — is not stepping up to take leadership positions in society, whether that be public service, private enterprise, philanthropy, etc. And instead of grabbing the reins, my generation prefers to complain about what a terrible job its peers are doing, and complain about it on social media while wearing hoodies and backward hats and waiting for the guy to finish our latest tattoo. (I embellished that last part for sake of illustration.)

My first reaction was one of astonishment — that one or two brilliant, engaged minds could be so blind — but then I realized that it is only natural to be blind to the fact that my generation is trying to step up to the plate. We are trying to lead. And because their generation is too unwilling to get off the stage, we are stuck doing it in our own way. 

My actual response was something more direct, like, “We will grab control once you all give up a little bit!” Thinking economically, it is impossible for kids right of college to even get into the game when the wealthiest control 99.9 percent of the cards. In fact, we cannot afford to get into the game while the top 1 percent of wealthiest individuals own 40 percent of America, and the bottom 80 percent have access to only 7 percent. 

The bottom line is, we are trying to take the reins. We are trying to become the leaders of the future. Alison is courageously challenging Goliath. And if there is one fact we can all agree on, it is that after 30 years, Mitch McConnell is not capable of representing or leading us into the future. We will get a senator who is realizing his own dream of becoming majority leader. 

If Alison wins, we will have a senator who is will be out to work with both parties, work with whomever the next president is in two years, and work for all of Kentucky in hopes of winning re-election in six years. 

Again, it may feel to some like the lesser of two evils. But if Mitch wins, we know what devil we will get — the same one we have had for 30 years — and that’s not the devil we can dance with any longer.