• 52°

Another example of choosing party over local interests

My report last week on Andy Beshear’s promise to finish the U.S. 421 expansion to the Virginia line brought familiar responses from some readers, something I’ve come to expect over the last decade or so when the subject is politics.

It should be painfully obvious by now that some Harlan Countians would rather nothing good happen for Harlan County if it’s suggested by a candidate from the other side. They clearly care more about their party than their home, and that concept still baffles me.

Beshear, the Democratic nominee and current attorney general, was immediately branded a liar by some Republicans. He may not follow through on his promise, and he wouldn’t be the first if he did, but at least we have something to hold him accountable for over the next four years if he does win. If someone is promising to build or complete a road for Harlan County, you can bet I will get behind the idea, whether it’s a Republican, a Democrat or someone from the Green Party. I’m not concerned with national politics or someone’s religion or sexual orientation. My first priority is helping Harlan County, not protecting a party that cares nothing for me or you against anyone with the audacity to consider a vote for a candidate from another team. If Gov. Matt Bevin decides he wants to expand U.S. 119 to Pineville, you can bet that will be a front-page story and should draw praise from anyone interested in Harlan County’s future.

Bevin didn’t make any promises for Harlan County, and to his credit, the governor certainly appears to be a man of his word. He made it clear he didn’t care for public education when he ran for office last time with his support of vouchers and charter schools. Then, some teachers appeared surprised when he did exactly what he promised, but I believed him the first time.

When you are so brainwashed you think your party can do no wrong, even when an elected official from that party clearly makes a mistake, you’ve lost any objectivity you may have once had before you signed up for your team. This lack of objectivity hurts Harlan County and probably other counties around the state and nation. Most complaining about the road announcement offered no alternative plan or what their candidate will do to help Harlan County, probably because they don’t really care as long as their team wins, even if it goes against their best interests.

Government should be about finding the best person for the job, and it’s difficult to do that if you automatically eliminate half the population because they don’t wear your team’s colors or know the secret handshake, or whatever it is you use now to show the team you are following until death.

Loyalty has its place. I’ve followed the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts since 1971 and plan on being a fan for the duration. I was never able to carry that loyalty over to politics, especially after seeing so many from both sides let their constituents down. The best bet, I think, is to look at each race and the people running before making a decision. In state races, my choice is always the person who I believe will help our county the most.

The art of compromise has been lost with so much hate coming from both sides. We need more candidates in the center from both parties. The Democrats running for president haven’t provided much inspiration for me, and our president continues to be his own worst enemy with his often unpresidential name calling — even though he’s had success with the economy and in other areas.

The older I’ve become, the more I’ve learned to dislike party politics. If you would rather nothing good happen for our area if the other side gets credit you are part of the problem.