(Fletcher certainly is - let's hope Democrats aren't)
What's that I hear? I think it is the distant chug of the 2006 Republican Train. It sounds very similar to the train that steamrolled through towns across the Heartland during the 2004 elections - except the boarding call is not gay marriage this time around - it's "intelligent design."
The last 6 years have demonstrated a number of things - one of which is that when it comes to increasing the welfare of the average American, improving education, protecting the environment, or fixing government programs from Social Security to Medicare, Republicans don't have workable plans or new ideas. They can't run on their policy record, the spreading wealth that is lifting Americans out of poverty or the closing educational gap that separates American children from the kids overseas that are learning to design hybrid technologies and the latest in high-definition television. So what can they run on? Religion.
Since we all know that only Republicans are going to heaven, we also all know that when our country needs moral redirection we should look right. (Yes, that is sarcasm dripping off that last sentence.) So, here we go again. Gay marriage helped rally the support in 2004 - it also served to help distract from a failing war and economy. It appears this election's rallying flag bears the fish logo - or whatever symbol is used to identify those preaching intelligent design over evolution.
(Aside: Can someone tell me when evolution became proof that there is no God? I don't remember being taught that in elementary school. Who's to say that God didn't start things off down the road of evolution?)
And I am not so pleased or proud to report that the Bluegrass's own Ernie Fletcher has jumped on board the Right-Wing Express early. Last night in his State of the Commonwealth Address, Fletcher included the acceptance of Intelligent Design as part of his plan for improving Kentucky's educational offerings. Our illiteracy rate may be high, our science and math scores low, but buddy our kids will know that Darwin was an atheist loon. I feel better already!
My fervent hope is that this election cycle the Democrats won't jump on the Right-Wing Express along with the likes of Governor Fletcher. James Bond may be able to fight while running from rail car to rail car and hanging off the end of the caboose - but as John Kerry and many others demonstrated - the average Democratic politician cannot. And we don't need to.
That's not to say we should ignore these attempts to shanghai the separation of church and state. But Democrats should address the issue with a clear expression of our beliefs and then force the attention back to the issues that more directly affect the daily lives of Americans like health care, retirement and paying the bills. We need to make strides this election cycle - but we can't do that if we don't keep our feet securely planted on the ground where we can fight the good fight.