Syntax & Schlepping

This is the heading over a column by Larry Keeling in the Lexington Herald-Leader of 09 August: Indictment or not, Rand to join dad as hopeless loser. An astute sixth-grader knowing the rules of grammar understands that statement to mean that Rand [Paul] is under indictment for something or other. This would be Keeling's fondest wish but it's categorically untrue. Paul is under no indictment for any crime, not even double-parking, so was this a mistake by an editor/proofreader...or was it intentionally structured to smear Paul, anathema to the paper and gloriously hated, especially since he won his Senate seat by defeating the paper's approved democrat.? If so, dishonesty is alive and well. Only the Shadow knows.

Keeling, a retired member of the paper's editorial clambake, offers a monthly column of often curmudgeonly (even acerbic) remarks, which makes it interesting to read, and in this same column indicated that his nose was all out of joint because the Historic Properties Advisory Commission would not vote to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the Capitol Rotunda, notwithstanding that Davis, like Lincoln a Kentuckian, was the second most important U.S. citizen during 1860-65. It only enhanced Keeling's high dudgeon that a recent poll indicated that 73% of the state's citizens wanted the statue to remain where standing, even though Kentucky was a border-state that caucused with the Union.

In fact, despite the fact that my great-grandfather and two great-uncles fought in the Union Army I want the statue to remain where it is, never mind that Kentucky Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted it moved, but that's understandable since he, unlike Donald Trump, is constrained by political correctness, especially in the wake of the recent brouhaha over the Stars-and Bars. According to the political elite, the 1860s should never be mentioned in polite company, and the Lexington statue of John Hunt Morgan is in mortal danger of total destruction, as well as those of John Breckenridge and Henry Clay. Soon, the correctness clique will probably move to burn down the Clay estate, although its nearness (just a few doors) to the mansion of UK basketball coach Calipari, Lexington's most esteemed citizen, may nix such a plan.

Keeling wrote the penultimate literary coup de grâce, however, when he accused the commission of (gasp) actually being on the “wrong side of history,” and not just on the wrong side but PERMANENTLY on the wrong side (caps mine). To his credit, he did not claim to have placed the commission there—lack of arrogance indicating humbleness and goodwill—but that they “put themselves on the wrong side of history,” something akin to civil suicide, since the psychologists, sociologists and J. Fred Muggs all agree that history is stern, unchangeable, and unforgiving, no matter how hard the politically correct crowd tries to revise/excise it.

This, of course, brings up the matter of history, especially in the matter of its sides – what kind; how many; permanence. Keeling didn't elaborate but one might infer that being on the wrong side simply means disagreeing with him, probably on the right side...he didn't say. However, for some there's the nagging feeling that history just is and has no sides at all; however, if it has good and evil sides Keeling probably places the commission on the River Styx with the boatmen transporting it to history's underworld-side. Oh, the agony of being on the wrong side of history!

In a parting shot—a beautiful piece of racist muckraking—Keeling admonished the governor for leaving the Trustee-Board of the University of Louisville “without a black member for the first time in 45 years,” thus compounding a negative legacy (whatever that means), and said he should remove the aforementioned commission if possible by issuing an executive order, which proves that Keeling is up on things politically and may petition the prez, who governs in that mode, not the governor. I believe that a qualified black should be appointed to any board but, unlike Keeling, not because of the color of his skin. In any case, lame-duck governors are sometimes pressed to pay off cronies, many if not most of whom have contributed ever so generously.

Ah...muckraking is such fun. Everyone should try it.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark