Candidate Shannon Fabert labels Massie’s opposition to the relief bill as abhorrent.

Candidate Shannon Fabert labels Massie’s opposition to the relief bill as abhorrent.

Burlington, Ky

Representative Thomas Massie of the Kentucky 4th Congressional District is currently impeding the passing of the Families First Act in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Shannon Fabert, running against Representative Massie, had the following to say about his obstructionist politics. 

“I chose to run in large part because of the lack of leadership our district has been afforded by his tenure in office. Representative Massie has voted to give tax breaks to the rich. Representative Massie has attempted to take your healthcare away. And now, Representative Massie has at every turn attempted to impede any progress our nation has made against the crisis of Covid-19. His insistent grandstanding and fear-mongering are that of an attention seeker, not a leader.” 

Shannon Fabert is on record as supporting the bill, despite it not containing more relief for individual families. She went on to say: 

“I would be fighting to pass it today if I were in congress. A large part of my campaign is about keeping the bailouts on the kitchen table. Americans need those relief checks now. It would be a different story if Thomas Massie had legitimate policy concerns. But he doesn’t. Throughout the entire crisis he has attempted to impede any possible response to the pandemic. The fact that he cannot see what has happened in the most afflicted states is absurd”.

Shannon had this to say specifically about his obstructionist tactics on the Families First relief bill: 

“There is no political ideology that professes to leave your fellow humans to suffer at the hands of crisis. What we have seen in the past few weeks is nothing short of conceited self-adoration. He does not care about us, he only cares about his publicity.  This is some of the most abhorrent behavior I have ever seen in his long line of publicity stunts. The fact that even conservative news outlets are condemning his actions today speaks volumes. Thomas Massie does not have an ideology, he has a self-serving ego. Leaving his constituency to the ravages of a broken economy is absolutely abhorrent.”  

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Candidate Shannon Fabert encourages protecting working class families from COVID-19’s effects on the economy

Shannon Fabert candidate for the Kentucky 4th Congressional District had the following to say regarding the spread of COVID-19.

“Many of us have been anxiously watching the news regarding the spread of COVID-19. And while health officials are still trying to understand the scope of its reach, without proper health insurance and sick leave policies the toll on the economy is real. Recent studies show a large percentage of Americans cannot handle a $500 emergency expense. Imagine the devastation of a 14-day self quarantine. This is what the stock markets do not show. There are the people who will be left destitute if we do not have leadership that will take the actions needed to protect them when our markets fail.”

Fabert’s opponent in the race Representative Thomas Massie favors a hands off approach to the economy and healthcare and believes markets will self regulate through supply and demand. Shannon Fabert believes that our leadership should take calculated and compassionate actions to protect Americans from market externalities such as virus outbreaks. 

“Working class Americans are more than statistics. The lack of paid family medical leave, and adequate sick time are issues at the forefront of this health crisis. I agree with Governor Andy Beshear and the advice his leadership has given. If you are sick or your children are sick please stay home. We, however as leaders must address the needs of those who do not have access to paid leave to quarantine themselves or care for their children. Leaving labor markets to police themselves through the invisible hand could take us down the same path as we were on 2008. With historic losses in the DOW Industrial the needs of working class families have to be the first thing on our leaders minds.”

Candidate Shannon Fabert condemns Massie’s opposition to Anti Lynching Bill. 

Candidate Shannon Fabert condemns Massie’s opposition to Anti Lynching Bill. 

Burlington, Ky

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed long overdue anti-lynching legislation that had already passed in the Senate. This piece of legislation, although symbolic, would do what states have not in the past by making lynching a federal crime. The bill was named after Emmett Till who was lynched in 1955. Shannon Fabert issued the following statement on Representative Massie’s vote. 

“Some will say that it is in the past, but this bill matters. A few years after Till’s lynching my father and his sister were integrating schools. This is the history of the baby boomer generation. This is living history. I am certain Thomas Massie has some ideological loyalty he will turn to in defense of why he voted no but I can not find a respectable reason. Whether he accepts it or not his vote contributes to the systemic racism of our nation.The 4th District was the gateway to freedom, the last stop on the Underground Railroad. Instead of working to heal wounds that still resonate, we have a representative who enjoys divisive politics. As the descendant of African slaves, of black people who had to endure Jim Crow era laws, I find the defense that this would impinge upon free speech unacceptable. This type of logic disguises the domestic terrorism of racial  violence as “sacred rights”. We will not be made to live in terror because of the insensitive and ill informed actions of the person elected to represent us.”

Shannon Fabert is running for the Democratic nomination in the 4th Congressional District of Kentucky. Her website and contact information can be found here: Fabert2020.org. 

A Call for Positive Peace

Every year on #MLKDay I reflect on the entirety of the Civil Rights movement. I come from a family of activists, from a father who was a child and teenager at the height of the movement. My father and his older sister integrated Jackson County schools 10 years after Brown, not because they were the first black family in the area, but because it was the right thing to do, it was the moral imperative. In Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, he speaks at length about this moral imperative, not just from a legal perspective but most effectively from the Christian perspective.

Today, we are at a crossroads that feels too familiar to those Dr. King spoke of 56 years ago. As he wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice...” I’m sure he didn’t think this would be the same fight in 2019. Two recent events affecting Northern Kentucky have compelled me to call upon the community to condemn the negative peace and address this for what it is.

Over the course of this weekend, we were represented in the national media by young men from a prominent local Catholic school “engaged” with Nathan Phillips, a veteran, not because of his views but because of the color of his skin. The mockery of a Native American using a chant associated with sports teams at an event for indigenous peoples is consistent with nothing other than a stereotyped appropriation. The response, or lack thereof, to this is the very negative peace that King spoke of when he said the moderate is more devoted to order than to justice. To be sure, this is not the teaching of the true Catholic faith. As a Catholic, I was taught to stand up against hatred of any kind and to have compassion for all in our community of saints. But what we cannot ignore, regardless of faith, is the blatant racism and ignorance in taunting a brown person at a march celebrating indigenous peoples. What they were promoting was, in fact, a policy of divisiveness, of segregation as there was nobody there trying to gain a mutual understanding.

There are two other incidents seen in video footage that must be addressed though. The full Black Israelite version is full of hateful rhetoric and taunting of the high schoolers. Yes, the overwhelming mob was baited. What was being promoted by the Black Israelites was the same policy of divisiveness and segregation. To the man accompanying Nathan Phillips, you do not get to tell people to go back to Europe any more than a white supremacist telling me or any of my family to go back to Africa which is zero percent of the time. It is in fact, the same divisive segregationist rhetoric.

Dr. King continued from Birmingham Jail, “To use the words of Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher, segregation substitutes an "I - it" relationship for the "I - thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. So segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, but it is morally wrong and sinful.”

We have to know within our community there are consequences. Their privilege cannot be their out, we cannot ignore this negative peace. Parents will lobby that they are just children who didn’t know better and that their punishment has been met through national humiliation. These “children” chose to engage and wearing MAGA gear chose to involve themselves in an unrelated rally not to make a point but to drive a wedge between the “I-thou” relationship and literally turn a moment into an “I-it” one.

This is the negative peace we are now fighting to eradicate. At the root of this incident, these “children” found a group of brown people to engage. While they did not infringe upon the hateful rhetoric of the Black Israelites, a large crowd closing in space on five opposing people to the point a moderator has to push them out is nothing more than a mob. They did not join in to celebrate the diversity of a military veteran of Native American ancestry who was trying to create peace in his own cultural way; they were in fact mocking him.

Perfect is the enemy of good. It is the negative peace. Society will not come up with the perfect solution this time. And I am sure people will not be pleased with the punishment regardless of what it is. It is in our nature to have differing opinions and context. But to allow nothing to happen as punishment for these young men reeks of apathy or worse, consent. It is the negative peace. And that is not who we are. We are the point of freedom; the last leg to freedom started on this side of the Ohio River. The nation is watching with the hope that we have the dignity to rightfully condemn and punish all the hateful actions in this event, to invite the tension of a positive peace which demands justice. For the sake of the future, thoughtful action must be taken as Dr. King preached, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

But their actions can also be viewed as an extension of their leaders. To this, I direct my attention to Mr. Massie, Representative of Kentucky’s 4th District. On January 15th, Mr. Massie claimed he never heard Steve King, the maligned representative from Iowa, say a racist word. It could very well be true that Mr. King has never said blatantly racist words in front of Mr. Massie. Everybody knows it is inappropriate to use the n-word and other derogatory names. What I do find implausible is Mr. Massie’s inability to verify statements spoken by Mr King as racist. There is no doubt that Mr. Massie is capable of doing such as he is surely savvy with the internet. It begs the question of Mr. Massie; why is he supporting what even Senator McConnell has condemned?

Mr. Massie did not act in good faith to his constituents with that statement. In this unprecedented era of dog-whistle politics, Mr. Massie sent a message loud and clear that this behavior is acceptable and even went as far as to retweet a thinly veiled and poorly constructed rebuttal in support.

Mr. Massie’s feckless retweet of Mr. King’s statement of “misquote” is at the heart of this negative peace. The use of the 1st Amendment argument to be an overt racist is not only repugnant but the retweet is indeed promotion of said ideals. Yes, he did vote for the resolution to condemn hate speech but then did the opposite by actively promoting it. Mr. Massie living in that negative peace is the opposite of condemning hate speech. More importantly, this type of two-faced behavior is not becoming of any representative. This lack of moral leadership begs the question, is Mr. Massie the best representation for Kentucky’s 4th District’s voters and our children?

51 years ago, Dr. King gave his final speech in my hometown of Memphis, TN. I won’t be presumptuous enough to guess what he would opine about 2019. I do though have full confidence that he would not want us to sit by idly. He would want us to speak out and hold people accountable to their actions or lack thereof willfully being in that negative peace, especially those who call themselves leaders.

Once again, “The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around...But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr ‘I’ve been to the Mountaintop’