Kentucky editorial roundup
Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:
The News-Enterprise on election turnout:
The election night voter turnout in Hardin County was announced as 15.26 percent. That’s dreadful and made no better by the fact it exceeded expectations.
In recent years, miserable turnout has come to be expected. A quick glance at headlines on election turnout stories in the newspaper archives finds descriptions ranging from low to pitiful.
The 15.26 percent figure is not technically accurate because it’s based on all registered voters. In the closed party primaries, only voters specifically registered as Republican or Democratic are eligible. Backing out the independent and other party registrations, the percentage climbs to 17.18. It only inched the scale from dreadful to miserable.
The horrific statistics seem to mean nothing to most voters. In today’s society, people seem immune to the concept of shame.
But this Memorial Day weekend, as we consider the sacrifices of our military and the lives lost in defense of freedom, people ignoring the ballot box should feel embarrassment. The soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in our midst deserve an apology, because people don’t act upon the rights that others have fought and died to preserve.
Only a presidential election year brings out voters — and then it’s only slightly more than half.
What’s the result of this disinterest? Politicians have no need to listen to most people.
No matter how angry residents get, it seldom seems to translate to the ballot box. No matter how expert their arguments or how sincere their ideas, if you are not willing to vote, candidates have no need to fret over you.
That result has motivated extremists dominating the political process. Folks on the far right with an agenda and voices from the far left with passion play to their audiences.
Outrageous candidates with far-from-center ideas draw the most attention. And the election process becomes an ugly set of attacks filled with spin-doctor messages blurring the lines between truth and fantasy.
If you dislike the election process, don’t ignore it. Do something. Go vote.
Acting like an ostrich and burying your head doesn’t work. Inaction doesn’t work. It only makes the process less representative.
Now some people seeing this low voter turnout will make noise about revising the process. You’ll hear calls for early voting, having polls open for multiple days, electronic participation or other conveniences.
All those ideas add two things to the election process: Expense and insecurity.
If we want to pay more to see the polls ignored, provide more hours of polling. If we want to open the door to hackers and cheats, loosen up the process.
The election format as it is today is secure with a long list of checks and balances to ensure its authenticity. It’s also conveniently available for 12 hours with opportunities for people with legitimate reasons to vote absentee.
No one thinks buying a lottery ticket in Hardin County is inconvenient. The lottery commission lists 68 places to purchase a scratch-off in the county, which are clustered along high-traffic streets primarily in our larger communities.
The Hardin County Board of Elections offers 59 polling places scattered in neighborhood schools, public buildings and churches strategically selected to ensure no one has far to travel to participate.
The problem here is not convenience. It’s irresponsibility.
We don’t care enough and we’re getting exactly what we deserve — an unresponsive and ineffective government.
Daily News on graduating from high school:
Graduating from high school is a huge milestone in a young person’s life.
Graduates can look forward to life’s endless possibilities and challenges. It’s a feeling of accomplishment after years of learning and study, from the time one enters school through 12th grade.
Our town and surrounding areas have begun to have their high school graduations. They follow higher education graduation ceremonies earlier this month: Warren Central High School held its graduation Friday. South Warren High School, Warren East High School, Greenwood High School, Beacon Academy, GEO International High School and Lighthouse Academy all held their graduations Saturday.
Bowling Green High School seniors have their graduation ceremony today. Graduations have also occurred or are upcoming in surrounding counties.
This is a very exciting time for these graduates. They have their whole futures ahead of them to do what they want. Many will further their education by attending community or technical colleges and universities. Some will begin a trade right after graduation. Some graduates will go into the military. Others may take some time off and decide what they want to do with their lives. The list of possibilities for these graduates is endless.
Whatever one chooses to do after graduation is certainly his or her prerogative. After all, they’ve earned that right.
They should be very proud of their accomplishments while in school, capped off by receiving their diplomas.
These bright young men and women are our future. We have every confidence that they will make us proud in their endeavors after high school.
Graduating from high school is not an end, but a beginning in the next chapter of one’s life. We wish these graduates the best of luck down the road in whatever path they may choose.
Congratulations are most definitely in order to the Class of 2019 for local and area schools.
May 21, 2019
The State Journal on mountain biking at battle site:
The Frankfort City Commission got an earful and then some at Monday’s meeting over an issue that, as one commissioner noted, many in the community see in black and white rather than shades of gray — allowing mountain biking in Leslie Morris Park, home of Civil War battle site Fort Hill.
In a 3-2 vote, city leaders voted to remove the item from Monday’s agenda before listening to more than three hours of public debate — and occasionally debating among themselves — over the pros and cons of continuing the project that would permit mountain bikers to use a new multiuse trail in the park. Commissioners Eric Whisman and Katrisha Waldridge and Mayor Bill May made the right call.
The topic came to the forefront earlier this month after several citizens complained that construction of the trail in the park disrespected 124 acres of hallowed ground where local militia turned back the Confederates in 1864. The stand solidified Frankfort as the capital of Kentucky, and many agree that had Confederate troops succeeded in burning down the town, the state capital would have been relocated to Louisville.
We believe that delaying a decision on the emotionally charged topic could produce an outcome much like the one on another hot-button topic of late: mural regulation. Cooler heads prevailed and the commission approved Monday night a mural ordinance with widespread support in the community.
With a little give and take, proponents and opponents might just find a way for recreation and historic preservation to peacefully co-exist, as they do in numerous Civil War parks across the country — including at key battle sites such as Gettysburg, Antietam and Harper’s Ferry. In a park the size of Leslie Morris, perhaps the trail could be moved a little farther away from the historic sites to create more of a buffer zone. That’s one possibility among several.
If our community learned anything from the mural debate — which at one point split the citizenry right down the middle — it is that we shouldn’t rush to judgment until elected officials have fully heard viewpoints on all aspects of the issue. The city commission was wise to allow time for both sides to simmer, as this debate is too sensitive to make decisions in the heat of the moment.
We hope by letting the two sides “sleep on it,” the community can find acceptable middle ground.