The good news is, the election is almost here. The finish line looms. The emails for the dollars and the invites for the hollers from your friends and colleagues for “their candidates” will soon cease and we will have “chosen” representatives in the legislative or judicial branches who may or may not share our views and values in the corporatocracy we call the U.S. of A. Citizens United? You betcha — but only if you’ve got the cash to go with your sass. They say money talks, but so far it’s a one- sided conversation in my house and I’m getting tired of carrying it.
The bad news is, all the money we, the people, donated to PACs and StupidPACs and various campaigns to get our candidate elected could feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and educate the masses, but instead it will be flushed down the Keystone Pipeline if our guy or gal loses. Politics, thy name is gag. Which brings me to rimrack.
In a U.S. Senate election whose excitement level is comparable to that of having sex with your partner when you’re not in the mood — i.e. “OK, let’s just get this over with” — at least national media have had some fun at our expense, evoking some giggles and drawing attention to some intractable issues that plague us, including the four horsemen of the Kentuckiocalypse: poverty, unemployment, lack of education, disease and addiction.
Recently, Kentucky gained national attention when three things happened. One: “The Daily Show”’s #mcconnelling hashtag went viral after the writers grabbed song lyrics befitting Congressman Mitch McConnell to match a video of him with a blank stare, in which — love him or hate him — he really does resemble a turtle. Twitter lit up like the sky during Thunder Over Louisville and all at once, people knew about “the race” in Kentucky. Two: This spring, Rolling Stone featured a long-form story by Mark Binelli on McConnell, Senator Rand Paul, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, and my favorite of the four, Johnny Cummings, the outre-and-proud mayor of Vicco, a tiny town in eastern Kentucky, who became famous when his town voted for a fairness ordinance. (According to the story, “Kentucky Death Match,” Cummings is coming to a reality show near you.) Before you vote — and vote you must — read the story; I almost guarantee you will learn something surprising about the views of one of these individuals vying for power.
Finally, we went viral again (and Urban Dictionary got a record number of hits, I’m sure) during the third event: the debate that wasn’t a debate — the October 14 KET debacle wherein McConnell tried to get voters to believe Kynect, the Affordable Care Act portal, is merely a website that he would not eliminate, while Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, is the devil incarnate — or, for McConnell, a woman for whom he has zero affinity. McConnell said something akin to insurance companies being rimracked (or was it hospitals? I forget who is the top and who is the bottom), and social media went crazy over the gentleman from Kentucky’s use of a word whose slang meaning involves nibbling at the nether regions — and by “nether” I mean back door, y’all, and not the bar. Oh, the indignity!
So between the (I’m sure) strategic ads condemning immigration that Grimes ceded to run and somebody being rimracked, what stands out as the key to deciding the vote between McConnell and Grimes in the race for the commonwealth? Women. Overflowing binders full of us busting out to demand equal pay for equal work, real wages to pay for our health and families and childcare, insurance to cover our lady business and federal laws to provide us remedies when we’ve been subjects of job discrimination. We also want equal access to opportunities in STEM and to start and grow businesses, and someone in Washington who cares about what we care about: hearth, health and having it all.
In the debate, Grimes repeated her jobs plan to include STEM initiatives and to raise the minimum wage to ease the burden on folks attempting to feed families on $7.25 per hour. McConnell’s jobs plan, as he iterated, it was to keep coal and build the Keystone Pipeline — a hot fracking potato if there ever was one. The basis of McConnell’s objection to increasing the minimum wage was that the majority of those who hold minimum-wage jobs are young people, and raising the wage wouldn’t help adult earners and would kill job creation — the former of which is simply not true, as can be attested by all the people in Jefferson County trying to modify child support and either can’t pay it because they earn minimum wage or need more because they earn minimum wage … not to mention the families who have to choose between jobs and childcare, as wages often fall short of childcare costs. In the debate, Grimes also mentioned easing the debt on students graduating from college as part of a jobs plan that McConnell advocated during the debate, but actually voted against in June when Senate Republicans defeated Senator Elizabeth Warren’s bill to allow student borrowers to pay back debt at current rates.
McConnell also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act (he did vote against it four times) which sought to update the Equal Pay Act to close the wage gap. He voted against extending the statute of limitations for employer lawsuits based on gender discrimination under the Lilly Ledbetter Act. He would eliminate Obamacare and its contraception coverage component, and he voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, an act with amendments extending both protections to same-sex couples and also the limit on visas to immigrants who are victims of violence.
While it is impossible to predict whether any candidate will act once elected as he or she speaks during a campaign, my bet is that if Grimes gets to what is still overwhelmingly the big boys’ table in D.C., she will vote for women when she votes on what are not really women’s issues, but rather people’s issues — a truism McConnell seems to have missed. Today, we’re all bringing home the bacon and frying up it in a pan — and if we have time, between the chores and the labors of love we pursue outside our jobs and the businesses we start on the side — never, ever letting you forget we’re a (wo)man. Should that involve sex acts defined in the Urban Dictionary, so be it. Just don’t talk about it in a senatorial debate. I’d hate for us to be the butt of jokes.