Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Civil Rights Hero

    Congressman John Lewis passed away last night. This is a great loss for our nation. One by one we are losing an entire generation of men and women who made the Civil Rights movement in the United States a reality.

    At one point all we did was talk Civil Rights. Talk is good, but it doesn’t get anything done. Especially when most of the talking was done by white people.

     Then came Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and he inspired a wave of action and activism across the nation. For the first time we had a leader who could inspire people to do more than talk.

     Dr. King was taken from us in 1968. Our loss was grievous. But in his place those that he inspired, through their overwhelming grief and sorrow, rose up and took his place.

     John Lewis was one of those who refused to let the work of Dr. King stop with his death. As a young man Lewis marched, and was beaten, while kneeling and in prayer, at the Edmund Pettis Bridge on Bloody Sunday, in March 1965. He was present when Dr. King made his “I Have A Dream Speech”. Since then John Lewis has spent his life serving the state of Georgia and our nation as a member of Congress.

     And now he has left us. His part of our struggle for Civil Rights is over. It is time for us to stand up and do our best to take his place. We can’t go back to simply talking. That’s unacceptable. We need positive, action. We need to be inspired by the words and deeds of men like John Lewis.

     It is my strong belief that working for the rights of others makes our own rights stronger. We must lift each other up. No one should live in fear. Every life has value. We must respect that value in each other.

     What kind of action am I talking about? It doesn’t take a lot. When you see something wrong, speak up. Don’t look the other way. Don’t pretend that you don’t see. When you see something wrong, speak up. Make your voice heard.


I’ll end with a quote from Congressman Lewis’ book “Across that Bridge”

“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don't be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”

President Obama, President Bush, Congressman Lewis and other civil rights activists cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday in March 2015.

Civil Rights is a non-partisan issue which affects everyone of all races. 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Why I wear my mask.

I’ve been wearing my mask in public all along. I don’t wear it because the governor told me that I have to, I'm not being forced by anyone, or giving up my rights or freedom.

I wear it because it’s the right thing to do.

The most important, obvious reason why is because I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want to make others sick. The mask is the most important tool we have to keep the spread of disease down. I want to stay healthy and I don’t want to make those I love and care for ill. So, I wear my mask. 

In a month or so we are hoping to start school again. As a teacher I’m going to be expected to tell students to wear their masks. If I expect them to do it, I need to do it as well. So, I wear my mask.

Kentucky started to open back up a few weeks ago, stores and restaurants. I like that. I miss being out. If the Covid numbers go up, those places will have to be closed again. So, I wear my mask. 

People are being harassed and bullied because they were wearing masks. I hate bullies. We need to stand up to them. So, I wear my mask.

It is time for all of us to do what needs to be done. So, wear your mask.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

What does being an Independent mean to me?

          Expect me to vote on issues, rather than party affiliation. There are certain things that the state government must provide. Safe roads, effective schools, and a stable environment for business. Those are the necessities and I want to make sure that we take care of the necessities first. I will vote for whatever bill provides the most secure way for us to meet our long-term needs.

          Party politics are too wrapped up in national level concerns. The competition for control of the White House and the Congress has trickled down and interfered with the effective operation of our own state government.
          I look at Republicans and Democrats at the Federal level and honestly, I don’t see anyone who cares about you and me here in Breck, Meade, Grayson, Edmonson, Hart and LaRue counties. They all want our votes, (and our money!) but what have they done for us? What do they know about us?
          I look at Republicans and Democrats at the state level and I see little difference between the two. I've been to Frankfort, I've met many of our legislators, from both parties and, generally, they are all good people who care about Kentucky. The one or two key issues which divide most Kentucky Republicans and Democrats politically aren’t even issues which the state has control over, they are FEDERAL issues.
          Kentucky voters need to quit letting national politics influence state decisions.

          Our lawmakers must follow the rules. The past few years we have had several illegal laws passed in Kentucky. Laws passed by lawmakers KNOWING that those laws would be challenged in court and expecting the courts to allow their law to stand because they hoped that courts would favor them.
          I will not vote for an illegal law, even if it is something that we want or need. The ends do not justify the means.
          Instead of letting the courts decide what the law is, we need to change the law as needed. And if this means fighting a battle to the US Congress, then that is what needs to be done.

          As an Independent lawmaker I will have an opportunity to get things done that those with a strong party affiliation can’t have. There are many, many solutions to our problems that Republicans and Democrats won’t discuss or even consider because they are afraid that it is unpopular politically. I want to bring all possible solutions out into the open where we can at least discuss them and let the people decide what actions Kentucky will take.

          My decision to be an Independent candidate is a commitment to the people of  the 5th District. It is a commitment that I will be working for YOU, and not pushing a political agenda from Frankfort or Washington.

John Whipple
The 5th District Project

Sunday, July 5, 2020

My background.

My name is John Whipple. I am an Independent candidate for the 5th district Kentucky State Senate seat. If you don’t mind, I would like to tell you a few things about myself.

          I’m not from Kentucky but have lived here nearly all my life. I am a retired US Army Sergeant First Class and met my wife (Mary) while stationed at Fort Knox. She’s a Meade County girl who taught me to love her home as much as she did. Over the years both our sons were born in Kentucky and we made it our home when I retired from the Army in 2003.

          I had a wide variety of assignments while serving in the Army. I started out as an Infantryman serving in Germany and Fort Knox. My final Infantry assignment was as a member of the Presidential Salute Guns Battery, stationed at Arlington Cemetery. At this point I reclassed my MOS and became a military linguist. I was fortunate and over the years was able to learn to speak three languages at the DOD Language School in Monterey, CA. As a German linguist I was a Platoon Sergeant in a tactical Electronic Warfare/Radio Intercept Platoon on the old East-West German Border. As a Serbo-Croatian linguist I flew Direction Finding/Radio Intercept missions as a crew chief in EH-60 Blackhawk helicopters in Tuzla, Bosnia. My first Russian assignment was as a Team Sergeant with a Special Operations Team-A in the 10th Special Forces Group. All of these assignments required a Top-Secret clearance with a Special Background Investigation. My final assignment in the Army was as a consecutive interpreter on START-Nuclear treaty verification missions in Former-Warsaw Pact Nations, such as Russia.

          Upon my retirement in 2003 our family returned to Kentucky where I was able to gain Alternative Certification as a language arts teacher and was hired by the Breckinridge County Middle School. Since then I have served two years as their Assistant Principal and returned to the classroom where I now teach social studies.

          Over the years I have been become interested in Kentucky politics. It all started with my membership in the Kentucky Education Association. I was asked to serve as local president. When the funding issue with the Teachers Retirement System became an issue, my involvement grew along with it. Now I serve as a member of the KEA Board of Directors. Through KEA I have been involved in several issues and campaigns.

          This year was the start of my own campaign. In December and January, I watched to see who was running for 5th District Senate. The only declared candidate was the incumbent.

          I have strong feelings about democracy. One of them is that we ought to always have a choice at the voting booth. I could not sit back and watch the incumbent go unchallenged. Our democracy is stronger when our incumbents have a primary challenger and we have strong competition in the general election.

          Another belief I have in our democracy is that elected representatives are there for every constituent in the district. This is largely why I am registered as an Independent. If elected to represent the 5th district I will do exactly that. I will gladly listen, and consider, input and advice from all sides. But in the end I will vote for the interests of the people.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Our 244th Independence Day

Before the Constitution that joined us together under one government was the Declaration of Independence which joined us together as one people, united in a common cause.

Let's use this Fourth of July to rededicate ourselves to each other and our common goal, that all men are created equal, and have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I spent 23 Independence Days in uniform. Some of the most memorable were when I was stationed at Arlington Cemetery, with the Old Guard.

On the first Independence Day the 2nd Continental Congress ordered that a cannon salute be fired in celebration. The Army continues that tradition to this day.

The video is of the 2013 Presidential Salute Gun's Battery firing the salute. It's a little different from when I did it back in 1984 and 1985, but the same pride, honor and dignity are still there.

By the way, notice the name of the field that they are firing the Salute from 😉

Have a safe and healthy Fourth. God Bless America!

Welcome to the 5th District Project!

Welcome to my blog, the 5th District Project.

          The purpose of the blog (and my Senate campaign) is to represent the interests and people of Kentucky’s 5th Senate District. This is Meade, Breckinridge, Grayson, Edmonson, Hart and LaRue Counties. Six great counties, right in the middle of a great state.
          I believe that the people that live in each county know all about what is going on in their county. But I don’t think that we share much back and forth between each other.   For example, Meade and Breck counties are pretty close, but Meade and Hart counties probably know very little about each other. And since we’re all in the same Senate district our counties are tied very closely together, whether we know it or not.
          My goal is to post information of interest and use to the people of the 5th District. I want to be able to help people find solutions to problems. And I want to help keep everyone informed about what is going on in Frankfort and in other parts of the district. In this crazy world we need to make important decisions, and to do that we need to know what is going on.
          I am looking forward to learning more about the 5th District and sharing it with you.
          Be well!

    Well, the election is over and done, two months now. I should have posted this long ago. Congratulations Mr. Calloway, and we wish...