Kit O’Connor, Frankfort, KY

I have a tendency to enjoy most things that I do, and if I don’t enjoy them, I find a way to make them enjoyable. It’s kind of my superpower. As I’ve written these essays over the last couple of months, I’ve been flummoxed, frustrated, and, to quote Senator Susan Collins, (R-ME), I’ve found myself “concerned.”

This time, I’m angry. I’ve watched the Mitch McConnell ad, Defeat the Mob a number of times. It starts with him saying “It is simply unbelievable.” That’s actually appropriate. This ad is simply unbelievable.

A few weeks back, I commented on a McConnell ad that features a picture of him with Kentucky’s popular Democratic governor, Andy Beshear. It was an odd juxtaposition- putting the self proclaimed grim reaper next to a governor appealing to our compassion for one another.

This ad is much more in keeping with Mr. McConnell’s actual style. It’s bitter, divisive, alarmist and misleading. It stokes anger. It’s propagandistic and makes a direct play on people’s fears.

It is tantamount to a dog whistle. A call to action against the “far-Left mob that wants to tear down our Founding Fathers and defund the police” as he phrases it on his donation page,

What’s up with his point that a statue of Vladimir Lenin still stands. Is he calling the entire political left communist? Is he implying that we must defeat these unruly mobsters or we’ll wind up living in a communistic country?

For that matter, do we even really know who is destroying these statues? Did the “far left mob” destroy the statue of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, NY last weekend?

The ad doesn’t even focus on Kentucky, the state he represents. Why is he talking about Seattle? If he’s going to talk about the whole country, how about calling out the threatening armed mob protesting the democratic governor’s covid policies at the Michigan capitol recently? Or maybe the counter protesters we’ve seen harassing peaceful protesters while carrying military grade weaponry?

Here in Kentucky, we had far right protest after far right protest up here at the capitol in Frankfort recently. I didn’t hear his concern then. Why didn’t he also mention that mob that hanged Kentucky governor Andy Beshear in effigy and stormed up the steps to his house? Surely an act of implied violence against a living leader is more pressing than a statue falling?

Good sir. Do you really think Kentuckians are that gullible?

It calls to mind the movie UP! When the pack of dogs would hear the word “squirrel,” it didn’t matter what they were doing because SQUIRREL! And off they’d go, distracted.

This is a distraction, Kentucky.

While coronavirus continues to rage through our country, with around 130k dead, including 585 Kentuckians, Mitch wants us to worry about statues.

While unemployment is still high and the threat of again closing down the state for covid is looming over us, Mitch wants us to worry about statues.

While our president refuses to respond to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s action putting a bounty on the heads of our service members, Mitch wants us to worry about statues.

While, to our great shame, Europe and Canada have closed their borders to Americans to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Mitch wants us to worry about statues.

While we are losing members of the greatest generation at an alarming rate to Covid 19, and many of these are actual Antifa- the heroes of WWII who fought fascists, who are living monuments of our nation stepping in to aid in the fight against Hitler’s army, Mitch wants us to worry about statues.

Think about that. He’s worried about statues while our greatest generation dies.

We are not fooled, Senator. We are not gullible. We are focused. We are determined. We are engaged. And we will win.

One side note: the ad says that “the mobs have come for our heroes.” Senator McConnell, my heroes are the living, breathing protesters, risking abuse and retaliation, who are on the streets demanding the change of a system that serves only the few. Your ad endangers them. You, sir, are endangering them. I will remember in November. I call on the rest of Kentucky to do the same.

Kit O’Connor is a founding member of the MMRC. They live in Frankfort, KY with their spouse, Nate Orshan. Kit is a lifelong activist, advocate and educator with a focus on human rights, particularly refugee and migrant rights and LGBTQ+ rights. Besides teaching high school, they enjoy public speaking and providing workshops about a range of issues from citizen lobbying to human rights messaging. You can Follow Kit on Twitter @ KitUnbridled