Daniel Suddeath

Daniel Suddeath

Labels are typically lazy ways for us to categorize people.

Sometimes we label entire classes, races and groups of people. Often, these blanket classifications are used as weapons based on the actions of a small minority of the group of people who are being labeled.

Youngsters? They're all lazy.

Older folks? They're out of touch.

Journalists? They're just reporting lies.

Men label women, and women label men. Different races label each other. Different socioeconomic classes label one another. It's easier to label people than to try to understand what makes them tick.

As we approach the May primary in Kentucky, the labeling is back in full force. It's fun to witness how the different political parties attempt to label their competition.

Kentucky Republican candidates in recent years have favored labeling any Democratic challenger as a liberal. That word is supposed to drum up fear in the electorate. Republicans want you to believe that all Democrats favor high taxes, abortion and border-line socialism.

The fact of the matter is there really are very few true liberals in this state, and not many of them reside in Barren County. Many Democratic officeholders in our county and at the state level are Democrats in name only. Most of their beliefs and actions while in office are more aligned with moderate stances or even traditional conservative platforms.

Think about it. What's the most liberal piece of legislation passed in Kentucky over the past decade? The expansion of Medicaid?

We could be reaping major profits from legalizing marijuana, but that's too liberal for us even though our state's run amuck with methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse.

We could help solidify pensions and shore up revenue shortfalls by legalizing gambling, but that's too liberal for us despite the fact most people will pause on the first Saturday of May to watch horses run a circle in Louisville in one of the most bet-on events in sports.

Despite having a Democratic governor at the time, our state had to be forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize the legality of same-sex marriage.

Folks, we may be a lot of things here in Kentucky, but no one is going to confuse us for being a liberal state.

Democrats use the same scare tactics.

With as much controversy as President Donald Trump has stirred up, many Democrats want to have you believe that Republicans have evil intentions and are out to ruin our country. In many ways, this over-aggressive approach has backfired on Democrats. Just consider the fallout from the Russia investigation.

To hear some Democrats talk, anyone who voted for Trump has business dealings with Moscow, has had numerous marital affairs and is racist.

There's good and bad with any politician or party, and those who label entire groups negatively do so to try and boost their own appeal. This election year, we shouldn't vote on labels, but on tangible actions, policies and progress.

How will our state solve the pension crisis?

What will Kentucky look like in 50 years?

What will our leaders do to not only bring jobs to Kentucky, but to create positions that pay well.

How will we address obesity and general poor health in the Commonwealth?

How can we keep our best and brightest in our cities and towns instead of losing them to other states?

What are we going to do to save rural Kentucky? Our small towns and communities are hurting in many ways.

These are real issues facing us that really aren't partisan. Perhaps the solutions to them are political, but they are problems and challenges we should all be focused on especially when choosing our elected officials.

Vote for who you believe is the best person for the job, not for the person who was the most successful at slinging mud and scaring you into believing their opponent is a big scary monster waiting to devour your young.

Suddeath is the editor of the Glasgow Daily Times. His column appears in the Thursday edition and at various times throughout the week. Reach him at 270-678-5171, or by email at dsuddeath@glasgowdailytimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @DsuddeathGDT.