LEXINGTON, Ky. — In the wake of disastrous flooding that claimed the lives of more than 30 Kentuckians, those in the state are not only dealing with cleanup efforts but also vitriolic comments that suggest the victims deserved their fate because of the political makeup of Eastern Kentucky.
Many Kentuckians of all political stripes have, in one voice, called out these criticisms as lacking a basic level of empathy and humanity.
One anonymous user tweeted that, while heartbreaking, “this is what they (Kentuckians) voted for.”
“This is heartbreaking, but at the same time, this is what they voted for... The sad thing, is I think they will continue to vote for the same people over and over.”
Another tweeted that “now blue states will be be bailing them out — yet they elect (Senators) Mitch (McConnell) and Rand (Paul).”
It is true that many Kentucky politicians at the federal level, particularly those in the GOP, have voted against legislation aimed at combating climate change. But Kentuckians far and wide have starkly criticized justifying the devastation wrought upon the victims, many of whom are poor and represent a sliver of Kentucky’s 4.5 million people, by blaming them for the state’s voting behavior.
Reacting to a tragedy by saying that the government should adopt different policies is one thing – several climate scientists have lain blame at the feet of a worldwide increase in CO2 emissions – but it’s another altogether to suggest that anybody ‘had it coming’ because of their perceived political leanings, they pointed out.
Writing for the United Kingdom-based publication The Independent, East Tennessee native Skylar Baker-Jordan said that in an article titled “Liberals saying Kentucky deserves these floods need to take a hard look at themselves.”
“Blame the people in power, by all means,” Baker-Jordan wrote. “But don’t blame some of the poorest, most neglected, most mocked and marginalized people in our nation.”
The five counties that are confirmed to have lost lives in the floods – Knott, Perry, Breathitt, Letcher and Clay – average a median household income of $32,464.