A Newsletter of Indivisible Bluegrass
April 13, 2017
Message to Barr: Country Trumps Party!
Perfect weather and frequent honks of solidarity from passersby provided a festive backdrop to Indivisible Bluegrass’s “Country Trumps Party” rally in downtown Lexington on April 12. The rally, protesting Rep. Andy Barr’s 100 percent support of the Trump Agenda, took place in Triangle Park while the Congressman spoke at a Commerce Lexington luncheon at the nearby Hyatt Regency.
“Barr totally supports a President whose national approval ratings are in the high 30s,” said Indivisible Bluegrass member Suzanne Froelich. “He is clearly not listening to his constituents. We held this rally to show that, like most Republicans in Congress these days, he is putting party before country.”
Several TV stations and the Lexington Herald-Leader covered the event.
At left: Indivisible members holding posters at the rally are Victoria Vicary, Susan Ferguson-Wheeler and Shannon Arnold. Center: Jane Eller is interviewed by a Lexington Herald-Leader reporter. At right, our new blue and white banner is on display.
Facebook Group Etiquette
We encourage all members of the closed group on our Facebook page to express their views, but to do so with courtesy and respectfulness. To ensure a welcoming environment for everyone, we have established these ground rules:
- You cannot use our closed group, or our public Facebook page, to campaign for public office. Candidates may be members and post articles but may not make any mention of their campaign.
- You may not sow divisiveness (for example, rehashing the Hillary vs. Bernie arguments) in your posts. Rudeness, badgering and especially name-calling will not be tolerated.
- You should present blog posts and editorials as opinions, not truths. You should verify the legitimacy of articles before sharing them.
Remember our Indivisible Bluegrass credo: We are always courteous, we are respectful, we conduct ourselves with dignity.
New Coalition Walks the Talk
In Kentucky’s Sixth District, some 14,000 Democrats who normally vote in general elections did not vote in the last two mid-terms, and a new coalition wants to learn why. Lexington attorney Shannon Stuart-Smith spoke about the effort at Indivisible Bluegrass’s April 2 general membership meeting.
Called “Walk the Talk,” the coalition will give trained volunteers the names and addresses of 25 to 30 of these Democrats and encourage them to visit each one several times between now and the November 2018 Congressional mid-term election. Volunteers will ask the Democrats what issues are important to them, what they look for in a candidate, and what would motivate them to vote next year.
“The responses we get will help Democratic officials in the district decide which candidates to support next year,” said Stuart-Smith, the coalition’s founder.
Kentucky’s Sixth District has been identified as one of 59 Republican-held districts in the country that are considered “flippable” because they contain more registered Democrats than Republicans. If Democrats can win back just 24 of these districts next year, they will be the majority party in the House.
Stuart-Smith said the door-to-door approach is the surest way to make that happen.
In an ironic twist of fate, Republican Congressional candidate Andy Barr knocked on Stuart-Smith’s door in 2012. “He already knew from the voter rolls that Democrats lived in my house, but still, he introduced himself and we had a pleasant chat,” she says. “I was not persuadable, of course, but I was impressed by his taking the time to visit me.”
Indivisible Bluegrass and eight other progressive groups are part of the new coalition. Walk the Talk plans to be active in each of the district’s 19 counties. Training begins this month in Lexington (see Upcoming Events below).
Searching for Truth in Age of Trump
“Alternative facts” and “fake news” intermingle with honest reporting these days to create a murky and disturbing political environment. Separating truth from lies in the Age of Trump was the topic of a talk retired Lexington Herald-Leader reporter Andy Mead gave to some 100 Indivisible Bluegrass members at our general meeting on April 2.
There are two types of fake news, said Mead, who is an Indivisible Bluegrass member himself. The first involves untrue stories distributed through the Internet and social media for the sole purpose of making money. The more sensational the story, the more clicks it gets and the more advertising dollars it generates. Examples: Hugh Hefner found dead… The Koran and the Bible are the same.
The second, more troubling, type consists of untrue stories created to influence people politically. During the 2016 presidential campaign, countless fake stories went viral via Internet, Twitter and Facebook. We all remember them: FBI agent investigating Hillary’s private email server found dead… Pope Francis shocks world by supporting Trump for President… Hillary has Parkinson’s Disease.
Mead offered these tips to help us separate lies from facts in the news:
- A good place to start is snopes.com, the oldest and largest fact-checking site on the Internet.
- The most reliable news sources are still the mainstream media giants, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and the major TV networks, among others. Online subscriptions to these sites are inexpensive.
- Be wary of Wikipedia. Anyone can edit information on this site, and errors may or may not be fixed.
- Pay attention to the quotes in an article. Fake stories often do not include any. If there is one, try to find another article with the same quote. If you cannot, the story is probably fake.
- Do not trust any source blindly. While left-leaning organizations are not as blatant as their right-wing counterparts in peddling untruths, they have been known to bend the facts.
Weekly MoC Visits To Go Monthly
In January, the national Indivisible movement asked its local groups to visit their Members of Congress (MoCs) weekly during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration. We have done so faithfully. While this commitment ends in May, we have decided to continue our visits on a monthly basis to assure our MoCs that we continue to watch them and that we will persist in opposing any and all threats to inclusion, fairness, and honesty in government.
LESSON IN DEMOCRACY
Indivisible member Susan Stempel, second from left, gave her grandson, Noah Parson, far left, a lesson in democracy in action by bringing him along on a visit to Rep. Andy’s Barr office on April 5. Others in the group are Rita Salzberg, third from left; Geoffrey Young, center rear; Anne Cammack, center front; and Gretchen and Ted Grossardt. The topic that day was whether Barr would call for President Trump’s impeachment if the current investigations into his Russian ties found proof of collusion.
- TAX DAY MARCH
Saturday, April 15, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Fayette County Circuit Courthouse, 120 N. Limestone.
MARCH FOR SCIENCE
Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day), 1 to 5 p.m., Fayette County Circuit Courthouse, 120 N. Limestone.
WALK THE TALK TRAININGS
Sunday, April 23, 2 to 4 p.m., Lexington Public Library Northside Branch, 1733 Russell Cave Road
AND Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m. to noon, Northside Branch.
For more information on these and other Indivisible Bluegrass events, go to the Events page of our web site.