Commentary

GOP supermajority: Silly, unserious, unconcerned by Kentuckians’ real problems

February 1, 2024 5:40 am

Rep. Nancy Tate touts her legislation to “keep children away from sexually explicit content.” (LRC Public Information)

On Jan. 31, I began my day reading a story that opened with a stunning sentence. “Some residents of a county in Kentucky are going on two weeks without running water, forcing them to use public toilets and catch rainwater to bathe.”

As I was reading this news, a 7:31 a.m. tweet popped up from Rep. Josh Calloway. “Actually, what it means to be a good parent is to tell your children the truth. The truth is men are men, women are women, and neither can become the other. The truth is, they were not born in the wrong body, they are perfect just the way God made them. It is Evil to lie to children.”

Yes, this is anecdotal, but it is also reflective of a maddening reality. We are one-third through the all-important budget session of our 2024 General Assembly, and the GOP supermajority in Frankfort is wasting their days focused on problems we do not have and, well, sex. Always sex.

Sen. Lindsey Tichenor and Rep. Nancy Tate called a press conference to talk about bills they have filed to move simultaneously “to keep children away from sexually explicit content.” Rep. Tate said, “Children should be given the opportunity to develop … without thinking about sex or sexual preferences. It is our responsibility as adults to protect the innocence of their minds and bodies.”

Is this not already the responsibility of parents and guardians? Or is the party of small government saying it is government’s job? Because it sounds like the latter. And where are the statistics to show that parents are not already protecting the innocence of their children? 

Perhaps if Calloway, Tichenor and Tate spent more time out in the world talking with teachers, caregivers, kids and parents, and less time overthinking sexuality and regurgitating Tucker Carlson’s talking points, they could make better use of their time and the salary we are paying them.

There is also an odd push by lawmakers against their own party’s secretary of state to eliminate no-excuse voting and to cut voting back to a single day. 

… because none of the above dumbness is dumb enough, we also have multiple Republican lawmakers filing toothless, irrelevant resolutions that have little to do with Kentucky and everything to do with playing follow-the-leader in national political theater.  

In a bill aimed inexplicably at ending early voting, state senator John Schickel, the bill’s lead sponsor, justified the absurdity of this bill saying, “Election Day is special; I would even say sacred. That is why it was established to be special. So those who say that we should worship at the altar of convenience and casualness, I say voting is a privilege and it’s an awesome responsibility that should never be taken as an afterthought.”

Sen. Schickel appears uninterested in the fact that Kentucky voters overwhelmingly appreciate being able to vote outside the hours of 6 a.m and 6 p.m. on one day. Would Sen. Schickel also snicker at those of us who attend church on Saturday evening vs. Sunday morning as “worshipping at the altar of convenience and casualness?”

Continuing on the path of Republicans strapping on their pads and donning helmets to tackle problems that do not exist, Rep. Michael Meredith filed House Bill 341 to keep noncitizens from voting in our elections. 

Excuse me, sir. Non-citizens are not allowed to vote in Kentucky. 

Could someone — maybe someone in, ahem, leadership? — pull folks like Schickel and Meredith aside and tell them about real problems like, I don’t know, the need for potable water, and to stop fixing what ain’t broke?

And yet, because none of the above dumbness is dumb enough, we also have multiple Republican lawmakers filing toothless, irrelevant resolutions that have little to do with Kentucky and everything to do with playing follow-the-leader in national political theater.

There were three separate resolutions filed in support of the Texas governor — that’s right, Texas, which is not Kentucky — to secure its southern border: House Resolution 57, sponsored by Rep. Richard Heath; House Resolution 63, sponsored by Rep. Savannah Maddox; and Senate Concurrent Resolution 111, sponsored by Sen. Johnnie Turner.

I realize many of our representatives disagree with and/or dislike our newly reelected governor, which is their prerogative, but when did it become their job to waste our time and our tax dollars filing multiple resolutions supporting a governor in another state? 

Meanwhile, on a cool and partially sunny January morning, “Some residents of a county in Kentucky are going on two weeks without running water, forcing them to use public toilets and catch rainwater to bathe.”

And our GOP lawmakers are all het up about sex, Texas, and too much voting. 

There are a handful of Republican lawmakers doing good work. One can always find a few good eggs in an infested, rotting nest. 

But collectively, Kentucky’s massive GOP supermajority is as consumed as Narcissus by its own image. They are silly and unserious. And they appear unconcerned by the many real problems faced by real Kentuckians as they bustle about the halls of the Capitol filing bills that go nowhere and help no one. 

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Teri Carter
Teri Carter

Teri Carter writes about rural Kentucky life and politics for publications like the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Courier-Journal, The Daily Yonder and The Washington Post. You can find her at TeriCarter.net. 

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