By John David Dyche
"Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."
Robert Kennedy said this many times according to his brother Edward's eulogy for him. The passage implies a sort of moral superiority for the latter attitude.
Teddy was wrong, as usual. Asking why things are the way they are is as at least as important as dreaming about change, if not more so.
The current political scene cries out for answers to some "why?" questions.
Why are so many Kentucky Democrats and liberals feigning outrage at stupid pro-Confederate statements by a young man now on Senator Rand Paul's staff while Kentucky has honored Confederate President Jefferson Davis with a statue in the Capitol rotunda during decades of Democratic domination in Frankfort?
Why shouldn't an African-American schoolchild touring the seat of state government conclude that Kentucky supports neo-Confederate racism since our hallowed hall celebrates someone willing to destroy the Union rather than risk slavery's demise? Has any Democrat now expressing righteous indignation ever lifted a finger to do anything about that?
Why don't the Democrats currently demonizing Paul push to move Davis to the Kentucky Military History Museum to recognize his pre-rebellion service as Secretary of War and replace the rebel in the rotunda with a statue of Robert Penn Warren, Muhammad Ali, or some other truly admirable great Kentuckian?
Why do liberals like Alec Baldwin, Michael Eric Dyson, Jamie Foxx, David Letterman, and Bill Maher get a free pass for racist, sexist, or homophobic slurs that would ruin a conservative's career? The brilliant Victor Davis Hanson suggests that "the perceived ideology of the perpetrator is what matters most."
Why should the mainstream media and popular culture politics be the arbiters of whether offensive speech is "a reflection of real hate or just an inadvertent slip, a risqué joke, or an anguished reaction to years of oppression?" Hanson asks. Meanwhile, the hip and liberal get the benefit of the doubt for contemporary statements while traditionalists and conservatives are destroyed for even long ago comments.
Why do Democrats, who claim superior devotion to African-American interests, back the Senate immigration bill since it would dramatically increase immigration of low-skill workers and not come close to ending illegal immigration? The bill would therefore depress opportunities and wages for young and low-skill African-Americans.
Why do these Democrats (and some misguided Republicans) want more such immigration when black underemployment already nears 30 percent? The unemployment rate for 16-19 year old African-Americans is a staggering 44.2 percent!
Why do Democrats and liberals do so little to promote traditional marriage and reduce out-of-wedlock births? The data are overwhelming that children raised in married-parent families are much less likely to live in poverty, abuse drugs, be abused, be sexually active, or drop out of school.
Why does the Left devote so much more energy to issues like abortion, gay marriage, and welfare when marriage is the best predictor of poverty for women and children? Yet the marriage rate is at an all-time low and the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 36 percent in 2011. For African-Americans, perhaps the most dependable Democratic voting bloc, it was a shocking 67.8 percent!
Why do Democrats block Kentucky's persistently failing schools from becoming charter schools? These chronically bad schools trap minorities and the poor, groups to whom liberals pay lots of lip service, and prevent them from climbing the economic ladder.
Why do Kentucky politicians put the teachers unions before student achievement by preventing even small-scale experiments with charter schools that are succeeding across the rest of America? The unions clearly carry political clout that the students and their families lack.
"Why not?" is sometimes the right question, however. Edward Kennedy is a good example.
He was neither jailed nor shunned after his despicable criminal conduct connected with the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick forty-four years ago this week. Why not, indeed?
John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and political commentator for WDRB.com. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.