We are in a crucial moment in the state of Kentucky and this nation, so I do not have time for everyday pleasantries. Perhaps at another date we can sit down and grab a latte and talk about our life experiences, but right now, time is of the essence. We are at a point in this nation when things can change for the better for everyone, or we can continue down the road toward hatred, bigotry, racism, locking kids in cages, losing our healthcare and jobs and a host of other issues that are plaguing this nation.
I am unsure how Kentucky got the trifecta of bovine spillage voting for Matt Bevin, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, but here we are. Many people have come to realize that while Trump is the impotent, pathetic puppet in The Oval, it is genuinely Mitch My-Family-Owned-Slaves McConnell who is the puppeteer, pulling strings and directing the course of this nation. McConnell must go. As a Kentucky resident, I, like many people in the state, had been waiting to throw full support behind anyone who opposed him. We fully understood this would be an uphill battle and an arduous fight. No one stays in politics like Mitch has (since Moses was an infant) without making tight connections, knowing where all the bodies and bones are buried and having serious allies with a lot of money to help him win. In fact, I am sure Mitch believes the race is already won. (Because you are handing it to him!)
Nevertheless, I was willing to support anyone that opposed him. This week, you stepped on the scene to announce that you would run against, Mitch My-Family-Profited-From-Slavery-But-I’m-Against-Reparations McConnell. Was I thrilled? No. However, I was willing to put aside what I felt to support you. And, then, you started talking and showed me that you are not the one to beat Mitch McConnell.
In just a few days, you have managed to botch your campaign. I am unsure of who is advising you, but this is not the way to go. You cannot run as someone who is opposing Mitch but is pro Trump. This is your problem. You are trying to appeal to Mitch/Trump supporters who more than likely are not going to vote for you anyway, and, in doing that, you have alienated the very people who would support you. Make that make sense.
You are in a state with a governor who is fighting to take away healthcare, with a U.S. senator who doesn’t support universal healthcare, with families who are collecting rainwater so they can drink and bathe, with people who are fighting for jobs, with coal miners who worked and got paid only to see the company snatch their checks back, with some of the worst health outcomes in the nation, with people who are fighting to survive, and your plan of attack was to oppose Mitch but support Trump. That is like me saying I hate air but love to breathe.
You cannot have it both ways, Amy! Stand up for something!
And if this is what you are standing for then, perhaps this is who you are, but something in my gut doesn’t believe that. I think you are saying whatever you feel will help you win. And this ain’t it. In fact, your flip-flopping and weak public stances on issues that matter to Kentucky residents are only helping you lose. I believe you are listening to the wrong people instead of to your heart. At this moment in time, we don’t have the luxury of being afraid. We don’t have the luxury of remaining silent. We don’t have the luxury of spending time pandering to those who wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire.
Stand up! Have some courage! At this point, what do we have to lose?!
I know that’s scary. I know that it is difficult. I know you are facing a man who has the longevity and power in politics to make your life hell. But as the Good Book says, “If you cannot run with the footmen, how will you race against the horses?” You are still among footmen and have not shown this state and the nation that you have the strength and integrity to run with the horsemen.
If, in fact, you do support Trump and his policies, you are just like the 53% of white women who did and have shown this world once again that white women are not coming to save us. If you support Trump and his policies, you are a white woman who supports racism and hatred. You have simply dressed it up as Democratic.
Remember that Martin Luther King Jr. said, “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
If you want to win, listen to me! It is OK to listen to black women! Trust us for a change!
I wrote about this in my piece, “Dear Kentucky, Your Whiteness Will Not Save You.” You don’t have to kiss Trump’s ass to win: Just hold up the mirror to the lives of those in this state who are suffering! They are not going to listen to me, but perhaps they will hear you.
Show them: “The things that you want, we want. You want healthcare? So do we. You want your kids to go to a good school? So do we. You want a decent job that keeps a roof over your head, food on the table, lets you keep the lights on and save a little bit for rainy days? So do we. You want to work and have a pension and be able to retire? So do we. You want a government that looks out for the least of those, the forgotten? So do we! You want to be able to go to the doctor and have health insurance even though you might have high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma? So do we. You want to work a job with a decent wage to be able to save and send your kids to college? So do we. You want to stop robbing Peter to pay Paul? So do we. You want the powers that be to stop coming into your community, stealing the resources and giving you the scraps? So do we.
We are not that different!
In fact, I would argue we are more alike than you could ever imagine! I don’t care who you are, the basic human needs of life generally are the same! I don’t want to take anything from you. What I want for my people is justice. And you have been led to believe that justice for the marginalized means losing something for you. Wrong! What I need you to understand is that justice for us means justice for you too! Get on board!! Chickens always come home to roost, and you act as if you cannot hear the clucking at your doorstep! Your whiteness will not save you! Trust me! You are not in a league with men such as Bevin, Mitch or Trump. Mitch is a multimillionaire with no regard for your day-to-day problems. Do you think that he cares about your pension? His family is fine! Trump is worth $3 billion. You will never be invited to the table at Mar-a-Lago! You would be bussing the table along with immigrants they cannot stand unless those immigrants are providing them a service! They would place their Ferragamo shoes on your back and walk all over you with no regard. Their wealth, coupled with a lack of compassion for fellow human beings and a gross longing for power means you are no better than me. Contrary to popular belief, you are in the same boat as I am, and they want us fighting over life jackets that they have limited.
Show Kentucky, all of Kentucky, the reality of what is and what we can be if we dare to stand together!
But know that this milquetoast method of campaigning will not work!
How long are you going to remain lukewarm, Amy? How long are you going to flip -flop on issues that impact this state and this nation? How long do you want to ride the fence? How long do you want to play in the middle? Pick a side and show us why you are the better person to lead this state!
If not, then step aside so that someone can stand in their truth and courage to show the people of this state just how much we can rise when we stand together! •
Hannah L. Drake is an author, poet and spoken word artist. Follow her at writesomeshit.com and on Twitter at hannahdrake628.