The road to the Fancy Farm Picnic in West Kentucky was lined with campaign signs of the many politicians who were to speak at the annual political stump-speaking, smoked-meat fest, seemingly put there to fuel my excitement. After a heavy morning rain, the air was hot, thick with humidity, and filled with the scent of smoked pork and mutton. The ground was soft and muddy, trampled by the thousands of people who gathered to see the spectacle for themselves. There were booths set up for various political organizations, old-fashioned games for kids, bingo, and literally tons of smoked pork and mutton.
My first trip around the grounds at St. Jerome Parish revealed thousands of people, some there for the food and bingo, others for the politics. I noticed that there were a lot of people wearing red Team Mitch t-shirts, and after some digging, found out that the McConnell camp paid for five busloads of people to come to the event in support of the ripened Senator. They donned his shirts, carried his signs, and cheered during his speech. Alison supporters were not in short in number, but they certainly didn’t fit the cookie-cutter, paid to be there mold of the McConnell camp. The Alison supporters were all unique individuals, who assembled with passion to fight for a better Kentucky.
After my initial tour, I took my place amongst the rest of the media, grateful for the shade and the front row seat to the festivities. The announcer explained the rules: each speaker would have six minutes to address the audience, no cursing, no air horns, and no swearing. Following introductions, it was McConnell’s turn to speak. He took to the stage holding up his hands as if to quiet the audience, which will not happen at a Fancy Farm Picnic. Stumbling through the first minute or two of his speech, he seemed distracted by noise and chanting. He avoided any direct attacks against Grimes, opting instead for his canned anti-Obama, anti-healthcare, war on coal, IRS “scandal” charade. Notably, McConnell and his five busloads of people left the event early, missing out on Matt Bevin’s speech among others. It seems in the face of a challenge from his own party line, McConnell chose to take his ball and go home.
Subsequent to the rhetorical speech by McConnell, Alison took the stage. Not wavering from the noisy, chanting, screaming audience, she began her speech loud and confident. Joking about her long name, she invoked her grandmother’s support, saying together they decided to do something about that. Alison: “Come January 2015, you can call me Senator!” Drilling Senator McConnell, Alison said “If Senator McConnell had his way, his version of Kentucky healthcare for our seniors, Grandmother, would be to walk-it-off”. She continues, speaking on his voting record; voting against raising the minimum wage while voting to increase his own pay and quadrupling his own net worth, voting against the women of Kentucky by saying no to the Lily Ledbetter Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, while the Alison camp concurred with “It stops now!” Alison rounds out her time saying, “Senator McConnell talks about team Mitch, well Kentucky, I’m here to invite you to join Team Switch!”
One important note of observation: while Alison was addressing McConnell’s vote to increase his own pay and quadrupling his net worth while serving in public office, he sat there giggling like a kid in a candy store. It was absolutely sickening. The time has come to take Kentucky back from McConnell and his big money interests.