(Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, speaking at the ground-breaking for Derby City Gaming / Photo by Gene McLean)
Every so often, we will be addressing a few things: comments, decisions, people, whatever that – for one reason or another – should be tossed into the literary “muck pit.”
It is in the spirit of cleanliness, recycling, and protecting the environment that we offer this service of “addressing the muck” – free of charge. After all, someone has to do it, right?
And, it didn’t take long for us to find a few pounds of, well, manure — thanks to the tandem of Kentucky Governor Andy Beasher and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Often, you may see them at a ground breaking ceremony with a celebratory shovel in their hands. Well, it’s time that they put those silver-covered devices to some good work.
As a matter of a disclaimer?
I would like to think that both of these fine gents are friends of mine. At least, I have always considered them so. Gov. Beshear’s mother, Jane, was my typing teacher in high school. And, I graduated from high school in 1974. I have known the family that long. And, I have sat at the breakfast table in Mayor Fischer’s beautiful home in the Highlands before. Broke bread together. I have known him that well.
But, with that being written, it is time that they live up to their oath.
It is time that they do their duty.
It is time for them to do their jobs.
Or, it is time for them to move along.
Or be removed.
You make the choice.
But it is time to do it now.
Here’s the scoop, to use the most apt, most practical and most descriptive term.
And, here’s the why.
When Governor Andy Beshear defeated the oft-controversial, oft-combative, and oft-despicable Matt Bevin to become the highest elected public official in our Commonwealth in 2019, he stood in the state’s Capitol with his left hand on the Bible and his right hand raised to God.
And, he repeated the Commonwealth’s Oath of Office:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of Governor according to law; and I do further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.”
Source: The National Conference of State Legislatures
As for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, he voluntarily quoted something very similar in nature:
“I, Greg Fischer, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and the ordinances of the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, so long as I continue…”
Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.
So on. So on. So on.
I don’t think anyone repeats those words lightly.
I don’t think Gov. Beshear or Mayor Fischer spoke those words without meaning and heart-felt dedication.
I surely hope not.
When they draw the air in, and finally allow those most serious of words to escape upon release, I think they are delivered with both conviction of tone and heart.
I surely hope so.
But let’s be honest.
This Governor, at this time, is not living up to those words.
This Governor, at this time, is not supporting the Constitution of either the United States or the Constitution of our Commonwealth.
And, without question, this Governor, at this time, is not faithfully executing, to the best of his ability, the office of Governor according to the law.
And, let’s be honest.
This Mayor, at this time, is not living up to his words, either.
This Mayor, at this time, is not supporting the Constitution of either the United States or the Constitution of or Commonwealth; or, for that matter, the ordinances of the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government.
This Mayor is not executing, to the best of anyone’s ability, the office of the Mayor according to the law.
Both are failing.
Both us and the law.
Every single day.
Ever since this spring — March 13, 2020, to be exact — and the night that Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers — March 13, 2020, to be exact — the City of Louisville has been thrown into a swirl of complete chaos.
Each week, it seems, another national — or is it international — group announces that it plans to come to OUR city and create more angst.
It may be called a peaceful protest, in some veiled attempt to secure a legal permit to take to the streets. And, to some, that may be the original intent. I’m sure some believe in the belief.
But that is just a fantasy and folly.
These disgusting fits of anger turn into everything but peaceful. These acts — that turn gross, my some, if not most — are disorderly; despicable; destructive; and destroying.
They are pungent.
They are unlawful acts of violence that threaten human life and destruction of private property.
They turn into mass illegal acts of vandalism.
And, many of the participants are breaking the law, along with people’s belongings and their collective spirits.
It has been 5 long months. Five. Very. Long. Months.
Cars drag up and down are downtown streets. Nary a cop in sight.
Trampolines, couches, chairs, and all sorts of make-shift barricades are dragged into the streets in attempts to stop traffic and disrupt every day life. Not a single word of protest from city or state leaders in sight.
Windows of major retail shops and homes of local businesses have been shattered, along with many professional careers. No one there to raise a hand in denial.
Looting and stealing in the broad daylight. No one arrested, that we know of or heard about. Not one. And, they are common thieves. Common. Thieves.
Vagrants have taken over the streets. Garbage piles up on the sidewalks and sidewalks turn into urinals overflowing into the streets. No attempt to cleanse or clean has been witnessed.
Law abiding citizens who have dared to come out and resume their normal lives have had tables — with their meals in front of them — accosted on the streets. Tables turned over like a cartwheel in a Texas tornado. Food thrown into the gutter. No attempt to stop.
Teenagers run amuck, exposing themselves to anybody in sight. We have seen it. We have taken photos of it. And, we have shared with city leaders.
Still, to this very day, some of these disgusting punks verbally abuse young women attempting to make their way from their office to their car. No one corrects.
The beautiful Omni Hotel — which was a victim to much vandalism and terroristic threatening — still remains closed. And, much of it shuttered with plywood planks.
The Convention Center — built with millions of our state’s tax dollars — is nearly vacant.
The expensive and expansive Yum Center? Closed.
The attractive and festive Slugger Field? Closed.
Nearly everything that could draw a crowd or even a small group of people? Closed.
Windows are not just drawn with shades and drapes, they are tinted with wood from seal to crest.
Doors are not only locked, but padlocks and chains secure the security.
Security cameras now hang higher. Standards of living now drag lower.
And, these examples are not rare.
They are the new norm, whatever the hell that is.
But you want to know the most disturbing news in all of this?
One, the news media somehow does not see anything wrong with this kind of behavior. In fact, it seems to take great pride in promoting it; glorying it; supporting it; advertising it; and encouraging it.
As a former member of the press — for 11 strong years, mind you — I am disgusted by you and your lack of ethics now. Disgusted.
Two, the Mayor — who just announced on this Thursday night (Aug. 20) that he will not attend this year’s Kentucky Derby for some odd reason — has apparently forgotten about his one hand on the Bible and the other hand held to God and has now used them to cover his ears (see no evil), cover his eyes (see no evil), and cover his mouth (say no evil). Guess your Derby cancellation has nothing to do with the planned protests and boycott, right?
There has been no action — seen or implied, mind you — to enforce our laws and regulations.
As your friend, Mayor, I am disappointed in you now.
Three, our Governor — the man who has called on all of us to go to war against this deadly virus we have come to know as COVID-19 with hand-to-hand combat — has suddenly forgotten that he, too, once raised his one hand to place on the Bible and the other hand to God Almighty and promised with a vigor in his voice to uphold the laws of our Commonwealth. Disappointed.
There has been no words during his daily, pop-up pressers that he over-uses to tell the world how much he is doing to stop the spread of COVID to tell us in Louisville what he plans to do to stop the spread of hate and crime here. We know what war looks like Governor. And, it ain’t in the form of a virus, unless you are sick to your stomach in watching crime go unstopped, and watching our elected leaders do nothing to correct it.
As a man who helped raise money and votes for you, Governor, I am saddened by your lack of commitment to the very laws that you studied in law school and once swore to uphold as our Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement agent as Attorney General. Saddened.
You know, Governor, when a group of protestors showed up in Frankfort this Spring, you immediately had security resurrect a temporary fence to keep them off the lawn and away from the window where you give your daily COVID briefing.
Later, Governor, when some overly aggressive and under-educated misfits hung a stuffed version of you in effigy in a tree on the Capitol lawn, a world of logical thinking Kentuckians came to your defense. I was one. We called them out. We applauded your courage.
Yet, it didn’t take you and Frankfort’s finest very long to fortify the security in and around the Governor’s Mansion. Took minutes, in fact. Higher fences. Tougher security checks. Tighter scrutiny.
All of your actions to protect your family are warranted. We don’t begrudge you for taking these precautions and measures. In fact, we would have volunteered to come and help build. We would have stood watch, and would have volunteered to serve as your centurions.
But where is the same level of commitment to us, your citizens, Mayor? We can’t run and hide. We won’t run and hide. We can’t cancel our Derby plans, because our businesses count on it. We won’t cancel our Derby plans, because our gut won’t let us.
Where is the same dedication to protection and safety to us, your citizens, Governor? While you may hide behind your new fence, we are left de-fence-less.
Instead of calling out the police force in force — simply to enforce our laws and jail those that disobey them — we have been overrun by car-jackings. So much, in fact, that we called on the FBI for help? Are you kidding me? Our police, state police and National Guard should be here to help.
Instead of calling out the police force in force — simply to enforce our laws and jail those that knowingly violate them — we now have people in cars racing down our interstates shooting at each other. Innocents are caught in the cross fire. Injuries multiply. Who we going to call in to help us fix this one? The CIA?
Instead of calling out the police force in force — simply to enforce our laws, protect our citizens and our property and incarcerate those that flaunt their distain thereof — we now have people terrorizing our very own in their homes and places of business.
Instead of calling the General Assembly into Special Session and enacting legislation that would ban “No Knock Warrants” forever, we wait.
Instead of asking all of us — including all our best private schools — to donate and match contributions to create a super fund that would enable the West End School to have access to the same level of operational and educational funds as Louisville Trinity, Louisville St. Xavier, Louisville Country Day, Louisville Collegiate and others? We wait.
Instead of creating more jobs for the less fortunate; creating work-release programs to re-introduce our incarcerated back into society with less hassle and more opportunities? We wait.
Instead of a world-wide search to identify, recruit and sign a police chief who is as good, fair, equitable, kind and successful as our great college basketball coaches? We wait.
Instead of recruiting world-class role models like Louisville’s own and legendary Darrell Griffith and Junior Bridgeman and Dan Issel and Artis Gilmore and many other great citizens to help develop youth programs that help educate and instill values, ethics and morals? We wait.
And, as a result?
Every day now, we have some other group announcing that they are coming to our state, our Commonwealth, our city, our homes, our businesses and are threatening us.
Some wear military gear, armed to the hilts with AK-47s. They are so gun-savy that they accidentally shot each other the last time they were here. Not the kind of people we normally have the airport welcoming our guests and racing fans.
Some are less organized, but no less vigilant. They build their numbers in mass. They wear their hatred — of anything and everything — with pride of destruction.
We even have a group called “Until Freedom,” who has so much money behind it that it has hired a full-scale PR firm. Are you kidding me? A group called “Freedom” that spends millions on creating fear that jails the soul and the mind? Lets just see how long these so-called protests remain “peaceful.” I’m a betting man. Let’s bet.
The counter protesters are no less frightening. The boisterous debates are full of profanity and vulgar threats.
It doesn’t matter if these folks are white or black or anything in-between.
It matters that these folks are here and hellbent on hell.
Some say they want to and will shut down our Kentucky Derby.
Some announce they want to and will march on our downtown and our most respected institutions without stop and without mercy.
Some promise to disrupt.
Some swear they will scare.
Some want to harm — whether it be physical, mental or financial.
Some will do harm.
And, all the while, we — your constituents; your citizens; your tax-payers — wait in silence for anything other than silence from you.
And, we wait.
And, we wait.
In this case, there is more than Rome that is burning, my friends.
In this case, it is our way of life. Our way of life that is built on law and order. Our way of life that is dependent on rules and regulations. Our way of life that renders peace by penalizing those that violate it.
Truth be known, Governor and Mayor?
While you all spend every waking hour of every waking day talking about COVID-19, and wondering who you are going to penalize next for spreading a disease that even the most expert doctors don’t have a clue how it is transferred from human to human?
We — us people here in Louisville — are dealing with a sickness that is far more dangerous and long-lasting than COVID. (I know, God-forbid I wrote that Governor. I will go wash out my mouth with pure grain, and hand sanitize my fingers for typing it.)
One of these days soon, the medical experts will develop a vaccine that will help us stay healthy. The memory of COVID may remain. But the threat will soon subside. So too will your daily TV ratings.
But unless you take your job — and oaths to God, for God’s sake — more serious?
We will not have a City left to promote, to advertise, to brag about, to live in.
We will not have a City where visitors will want to travel to, stay in, or enjoy.
We will not have an economy built on “Bourbonism,” or “Derbyism,” or any other kind of “ism.”
We will not have the Kentucky Derby extravaganza like we used to have; to know; to enjoy.
We will not have jobs for our citizens.
We will not have commerce.
We will not have good things. Period.
Instead, we will have a deeper racial divide.
Instead, we will have a bigger social and economic divide.
Instead, we will have more hate and less peace.
Instead, we will have more crime and less civility.
Instead, we will have a city more like Beirut than a city that we know as Louisville.
It is time that you do your jobs. Protect and serve all the people — including the ones that live here; work here; vote here; and pay taxes here.
It is time that you do your jobs. Make it known, up front. You come to our city. You break our laws. You will be arrested. And, you will serve time. No matter the color of your skin; no matter the gender; no matter the religious intent.
It is time that you do your jobs. Uphold our laws that you swore to uphold.
If you do not, then it is time that you resign.
And, if you do not resign?
Then, it is time that we ask our “other leaders” to relieve you of your duties.
Time is up.
We don’t have more time to wait.
We can’t afford to wait.
Our health; our safety; our homes; our city; our lives are at risk.