LEXINGTON, KY – I could write about the Kentucky Pension System Reform. It’s topical, it’s controversial, and it affects millions of Kentuckians. In a couple of decades, if passed, it will shape the trajectory of my life and career. I could write about Hurricane Harvey and the devastation that has followed this catastrophe. I could talk about the efforts to rebuild Huston, or the reasons why this hit Texas as hard as it did. Or I could talk about the men behind these issues.
People like Governor Matt Bevin and President Donald Trump are a new and dangerous generation of “politicians." First and foremost, these are men who have no political background suddenly taking the highest office inn their respective arenas.
These are men who announce major policy on social media. They unjustly call out their opposition on these unregulated, unchecked platforms. Rather than working towards progress, these men work towards reversing the policies set forth by their predecessors.
Yet, we as Kentuckians and Americans have handed them keys to incredibly powerful offices. Matt Bevin refuses to discuss legislation, policy, or events with the media, claiming that they are against him. Instead he publishes regular videos on his Facebook page. These videos range from Bevin standing on the side of the I-75 by the Kentucky Democratic Party headquarters at 7:00 AM claiming that they weren’t getting any work done to a video claiming that prayer was the way to stop gun violence in Louisville.
He has gone head-to-head with government agencies. Most recently, the Governor has taken up arms against Kentucky Retirement Systems. He created his own Pension website to go along with his new Pension reform plan, rather than working with Kentucky Retirement Systems to bring Kentuckians the best service. He also set dangerous precedents for faith based legislation, allowing religious bias dictate how government positions were executed. He used excessive Executive orders in order to shape the government he wanted. Donald Trump is not much different. His Twitter page can almost go without mentioning, as it is constantly on every news outlet.
Like Bevin’s Facebook page, Trump’s tweets are a double edged sword. They create a direct line to the people, without media scrutiny. However, they show a distrust and disrespect for the press of the United States. Both men make a show of blocking people on Twitter. They also both spend time insulting and attacking the groups who stand up against them, whether they are teachers, protesters, or immigrants. The distrust and disrespect does not stop at the media. Both men have shown an intense disrespect towards their predecessors, dedicating their terms in office to undoing the 8 years of work done by Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Steve Beasher.
Both Bevin and Trump immediately set out on dismantling the Affordable Care Act without having a firm replacement in place. In Kentucky, this led to thousands of Kentuckians losing their insurance. Many doctors offices are being forced to turn away Medicaid patients, as they have reportedly not received payment from the government for these patients. Politicians, just like police officers, teachers, and firefighters, are public servants. They swear oaths of office to uphold the constitution for the people.
Yet, these businessmen who are taking office are not politicians, they are not upholding their oaths of office. Instead, they are operating as though they are running a business, not a country or commonwealth. The government is not a for-profit enterprise and cutting the welfare of the public for the financial gain of a small group is unethical. Both men seem interested solely in cutting spending rather than raising revenue by taxing the one percent.
By doing so, they are encouraging a government that benefits the richest citizens at the expense of the lowest classes. The United States government, as defined by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg address, is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
So, as time goes forward, the American people must ask themselves “What makes a good Politician?” Is it someone who is good for the 1%, who makes policy that is a thinly veiled business deal or is it someone who is good for the 99%? A politician should stand for the people, not the corporations.