The Politics of Apathy

John Yarmuth for Congress! KY's 3rd Congressional District

The last time I was actively involved in a political campaign was when Louis B. Nunn, former Kentucky governor, was running for Senate. I was in a heavily Democratic County in Kentucky and met a wonderful Republican lawyer who helped me get involved. I attended a meeting/dinner/fund raiser for Governor Nunn; and afterward he had his photo taken with "Senator" Mike Mansfield. (For those who don't know this, Senator Mike Mansfield, Democrat from Montana, was the majority leader of the U. S. Senate for sixteen years. I am proud to share the same name with this patriot.) I still remember the theme song of the Nunn campaign that said in part, "Nixon/Nunn...More than ever..We need Nixon/Nunn where the national theme left Nunn out and said "Nixon NOW." Nunn lost. Nixon won. Watergate occurred. The rest is history including a turn to the very right by the Republican party and a period of learning about world culture, politics, and an experience of going from the "haves" to the "have less" and working toward being among the "have nots."

Except for regularly voting in primary and general elections, I had been more-or-less uninvolved in politics until I learned of John Yarmuth's campaign for Kentucky's Third District congressional seat. Even though I had never been a Louisville Eccentric Observer reader, I spent many Sundays watching John Yarmuth on Wave-3 TV's "Hot Button" where political discussions with a moderator and a Republican were held each week. John Yarmuth was a quick thinker; and I rarely disagreed with him. (When I did disagree it was generally because I am even more vehemently opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though John is certainly far from the Republican concepts of this war.)

I attended the first meeting of the "John Yarmuth for Congress 10 Club" a couple of weeks ago; and I can remember saying to someone, "I'm pleasantly surprised to see some folk under 40 here." Why? Why was I surprised to see young folk present for a political meeting in 2006?

Because of the increasing way in which large corporations and other large groups have influenced the voting and elections of our national and state elections since the days of Nixon/Nunn, many or maybe even most young folk are just plain apathetic to the election process. Then after seeing Al Gore lose because of a partisan split on the Supreme Court in 2000 and John Kerry lose in an election where he got the most votes they wonder if it is all worth it---especially the multi-million dollar costs of the elections themselves. I guess I was also surprised because John Yarmuth is closer to my age (I am 61. He's 58) than to the ages of the young folk who were present at this meeting.

I likely wouldn't have watched the movie "Election" without the help of my friend, the Reverend Allen Gibson; but I enjoyed it and its message made me think. At the time its main star was Matthew Broderick; but it would likely list Reese Witherspoon above Broderick if it were to be released today. In this "win at all costs" student election it is hard to know if anyone really deserves to win. The fact that the "I don't care" party leads in the polls gives you the idea of the kind of apathy toward the electoral process I am talking about.

So, "Why John Yarmuth"? John Yarmuth has a long public record through LEO and is definitely the brightest person who has entered the process. There is at least the potential he won't get tainted by Washington-style politics because he doesn't need to have this job but really wants to serve his country. He didn't serve in Viet Nam nor Iraq or Afghanistan; but had he voted his heart prior to this most recent war he would have been one of the few who could see the damage this war would do to our reputation as a nation worldwide and even though Saddam might still be running the show there it wouldn't have cost nearly 2,000 American lives and the lives of many other soldiers from countries around the world. It is also likely the people of Iraq wouldn't be involved in their current civil war, or almost civil war. (BTW, as far as I know there were no Iraqis involved in our civil war.) Our "War on Terror" has simply increased the number of terrorists. It would have been one thing to go after the criminals responsible for the deaths on September 11, 2001. That was the correct thing to do; but to create a need for war by manipulation of data is an entirely different thing.

John Yarmuth was against this war before it started. So was I. He wrote about it. So did I. He sees the falling apart of the social structures put in place to help protect those who can't protect themselves, the "little" guys and gals; and he wants it to stop as I do. He sees our freedom of speech, habeas corpus and other freedoms threatened or eliminated by the GOP's use of fear to win elections along with corporate donations, some of them illegal, and illegal spying on American people, etc., etc., etc.

It is time to stop the loss of the freedom for which our forebears fought. It is time to elect an intelligent, creative, caring individual to congress. The possibility that I could play a real part in that process is exciting enough to me that I am staying awake when I should be sleeping to help see that it gets done.

You won't see any apathy in my desire to elect John Yarmuth to congress. I hope all of those at the meetings feel the same way.

For more information about how you can be involved in helping to elect John Yarmuth to congress, go to the following URL:

John Yarmuth for Congress! KY's 3rd Congressional District