OPINION: We are playing way too nice

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By Kenny Fogle

It is common for something to come up in an instant and change every plan you have made. For the past two months I have had a column ready to send in for this newspaper, but at the last minute something was said or done in the political world to make me rethink what I would say in my monthly column. This month is no different.

A couple of weeks ago on behalf of the local Democratic Party, I submitted a media statement on our opposition to racism and bigotry. Some in my party believed we should keep it civil and as non-political as possible in order to keep peace with our Republican and independent friends who may take offense and read into it more than we were saying. The editorial page of The Kentucky Standard a few days later called us out on that tactic as saying we didn’t stand up enough, and we went too easy on the president by not calling him out by name. The newspaper was correct, and our local party was wrong.

You can say a lot of things about the Democratic Party on all levels — national, state and local. At the local, grassroots level, we often agree with national political leaders; sometimes we don’t, but the one thing we know is that we have to live next door to people who don’t share Democratic Party values. We see people from other parties and ideologies at the grocery and in the doctor’s office waiting room. We try to keep our friendships and our politics separate. We even have family members who would be offended if we were too harsh in our political speech. We try to be nice, and maybe that is what our problem is — we are too damn nice.

To be in politics, to make a difference, you have to take a stand. Neither I, nor anyone else I know, chose a political career for anything other than wanting to make a difference in our county, our country and our world. We see a wrong, and we are obligated by something in us to make it right. It is not always a pretty job, or a comfortable job. Sometimes you must step on a few toes. If you are thin-skinned and get offended easily, find another venture to get into. Politics does not just affect you, but everyone around you — family, friends and associates. To do it right, it can be painful.

With that said, I know I speak for most of my party in opposing Donald Trump in most of his words and actions. Not that we always disagree with him on political policy. Sometimes we actually might even agree with him. But in terms of moral character and integrity, we part company. His racist rhetoric, his bellicose approach to diplomacy, his hateful speeches, his cozying up to brutal dictators and his total disregard for human dignity toward anyone opposing him cannot be defended and, more so, must be challenged and fiercely opposed. As a party, this is our obligation and civic duty to speak out for what we believe will be beneficial for the country we love and speak out even louder for what we see as harmful to our citizens, and in many cases detrimental to our people, our government and our Constitution. We have identified that danger as Trump.

We have candidates on the ballot this fall for whom we will be working diligently to help right the ship in Kentucky. Matt Bevin must be defeated in November. Next year we will work equally hard to unseat Mitch McConnell and Trump from their offices in Washington, D.C. This is what we do as a party, and as active, concerned individuals. It is our civic duty, and being a nice guy is not the recipe for doing it.