Opinion by Ron Leach
While the new administration and US Legislature (with significant bi-partisan support) are attempting to hit the ground running with an appropriate sense of urgency and pragmatic non-partisan solutions this moment in our nation's history requires, there are still those among our representatives that choose to hit the ground digging, building a bunker and fortification to protect their narrow agenda and self interests rather than represent our commonwealth or our nation. Regrettably, it appears that two of our state's own US house members (Brett Guthrie, R-KY-2, and Geoff Davis, R-KY-4) are among those entrenched in protecting a narrow non-representative agenda and not ready to lend a hand towards steering a nation beyond the divisive partisan poisoned politics of the past several decades. Congressman Davis and Guthrie's early record in the 111th congress suggests that they do not understand that we need to get past the divisive culture and partisan wars of the past. They do not recognize that the urgency of our dire state and national condition does not benefit from entrenched partisanship and the stale old battle lines. They fail to acknowledge that at this crucial moment in history that non-partisan solutions and grand bargains are required and that the electorate has endorsed and is demanding a new direction, a new political environment, new responsibility, openness to ideas and a transparent and effective government.
A quick look at their positions, co-sponsorships, and voting record in these early days of the 111ht congress support my suggestion that they just don’t get it.
Despite the tragic results of the previous eight years of rule by executive decree, stove pipe decision making and shredding of the basic tenets of our constitution - made possible to a great degree by the systematic silencing and or slandering of any and all voices of opposition – (no matter the experience, esteem, moderate nature or true patriotism of those opposition voices); Congressman Guthrie and Davis are cosponsoring House Resolution 226 that seeks to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enacting any regulation that might promote the free marketplace of ideas and opinions. Specifically it seeks to ensure that the FCC can not reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine" which was suspended during the early years of the radical rights's rise in the mid 1980's. HR 226 reads –"Commission shall not have the authority to prescribe any rule, regulation, policy, doctrine, standard, or other requirement that has the purpose or effect of reinstating or re-promulgating (in whole or in part) the requirement that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the `Fairness Doctrine'".
It is no surprise that this would be a first order of business for those entrenched in a narrow radical agenda. It was this suspension of the Fairness Doctrine and the suppression of equal access to our airwaves, consolidation of the media, and a suppression of free speech, that enabled the radical right to consolidate its power and reshape the political and social landscape into the social, economic and political ruble that the right's revolution has left us with. Their message of radical partisanship and an agenda serving the select few can only flourish in a vacuum devoid of open thought and exchange of ideas that is the right wing propaganda machine. There is a continued strength of this well funded, focused, and disciplined machine; despite being thoroughly discredited by the culminating collapse of the past year. But a narrow self serving agenda which is represented by the radical right depends on the continued suspension of the open exchange of ideas promoted by the Fairness Doctrine. Congressman Guthrie and Davis co-sponsorship of HR 226 represents their endorsement of the continued suppression of free speech and exchange of ideas.
Let Congressman Guthrie and Davis know that we do not fear the open and free expression of ideas. Let them know that the strength of a free people and a truly representative democracy require protection and the free exercise of all voices. If their tired discredited dogma and narrow ideology that has brought our nation to our current broad based national crises can survive in a free market place of ideas, so be it. If it requires the continued suppression of a balanced and open marketplace of ideas as an artificial life support, then let their radial right ideology die a natural death and take its place in history with the multitude of other failed ideologies which have sought to favor the few and suppress the democratic process.
Congressman Guthrie and Congressman Davis; It is time to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Clinging to the failed ideologies of the past, propped up via the suppression of free and fair expression, will not serve the commonwealth of Kentucky or our Nation.