Saturday, May 04, 2013

Kentucky Derby doings obscure the state's dire state, rural papers' correspondent writes

As the nation prepares to watch the Kentucky Derby today, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., state-capital correspondent Ronnie Ellis reminds his mostly rural readers that "What the world sees during Derby Week, however, isn’t the Kentucky most of us witness the rest of the year."

For example, Ellis writes, "Our state can’t afford a little money for a social work program operated by the Department of Public Advocacy that can alter the despair of drug addiction and save the state millions. And lawmakers can’t find money to buy textbooks for school children or help pay for day care for working single mothers who will likely have to resort to welfare."

Ellis notes that many "wealthy industrialists and mining executives" are at the Derby, "but you won’t see many of the little people left to live in the wake of the pollution and poverty their profits leave behind. . . . Children whose lives were cut short by abuse even while they were supposedly under the protection of the state won’t watch the Derby this year, either. But a lot of those people who were elected to protect them will be dancing and drinking at the elegant parties."

He concludes, "Still, the more I think about it, the more I think the Derby extravagance is just what we need. Lord knows, we all need a little break from reality. So I hope everyone has a great time, and I hope the hangover isn’t too painful. But I hope we’ll spend the other 51 weeks of the year trying to help those other folks who live here, the ones too busy trying to stay afloat or just stay alive to enjoy the Derby." (Read more)

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