by Ron Gregory
The tragic beating of State Senate candidate Richard Ojeda in Logan County is a further indication that politics and the general health of the country need adjustments.
There is no excuse, anywhere or any time, for what happened to Ojeda. He did not deserve what he got; he is a victim of the violence that overtakes our people. As a pacifist, I never condone any form of violence but find it ironic that “patriots” often speak of beating people up and/or shooting them. The tone is wrong and that leads, in some ways, to the incident in Logan.
It is safe to say everyone of every political persuasion offers support to Ojeda and his family at this time. Hopefully, his recovery will be swift and thorough. I am confident his Democrat primary opponent, State Senator Art Kirkendoll, is much too decent and wise to ever condone what happened to Ojeda.
* * * * * *
The current atmosphere I refer to includes the status of Republicans who believe everyone should be carrying a gun. While I see on Facebook that Lincoln County Republicans condemned the Ojeda beating, I would point out that if it were up to them, it could have been worse. It is the Republican legislature and those like-minded in Lincoln who support a firearm on the belt of every citizen. A gun would surely have made things worse. Their sympathy echoes a bit shallow.
* * * * * *
It also goes without saying that I find the advertising of Logan Circuit Judge Douglas Witten offensive. Not only do I think the radio advertising I have heard is offensive; I suspect it is unethical and it is definitely unprofessional of a sitting judge.
For those who have been fortunate enough not to hear the Witten ads, he attacks his opponent, Joshua Butcher, for religious reasons. How absurd in 2016! This judge has evidently never heard of the separation of church and state.
I cannot commend Butcher’s advertising, which proclaims that “So help me God” is his campaign slogan. But nothing he has said or done deserves the type of response Witten has given.
After attacking Butcher for “wearing his religion on his sleeve,” Witten proceeds to take most of his 60-second commercial extolling his own supposed-Christian values and activities. Talk about hypocritical! This spot takes that word to the max.
Judge Witten apparently is not used to anyone challenging him or saying a discouraging word. Well here’s one or more, Your Honor: your advertising is despicable.
* * * * * *
Three days from now, we will be digesting the winners from the 2016 primary elections. But as the last minute campaign winds down, there is much to comment on and a host of candidates who should hide their faces for the kinds of campaigns they have conducted.
There will always be debates about whether negative campaigning is effective. Quite frankly, I’ve found over the years that folks would much rather believe a lie than the truth. In that way, at least, untruthful negative ads probably pack some punch.
* * * * * *
There are also negative ads that make no sense at all. For example, hideaway Republican Congressman Alex Mooney decided to stick his fingers in the Democrat primary to pick his opponent. While Mooney was constantly in the news in his Maryland home base because of political hijinks, he has largely avoided them here.
But no political consultant nor candidate that I can find ever heard of an incumbent politician of one party trying to openly influence the outcome of the other party’s primary. Mooney has run ads, made calls and sent mailers to historic Democrats asking them to vote against former Delegate Mark Hunt to be his opponent.
While largely underscoring that Mooney apparently thinks Hunt would be his toughest opponent, one wonders if Democrats are likely to take the recommendation of a Republican Congressman as to their own primary.
* * * * * *
The campaign logic of opposing candidates because they are identified as being supported by one politician or another is a bit unique to Mingo County. Apparently, the worst thing opponents of Family Court Judge Sabrina Deskins can say is that she is “supported by Truman Chafin.” Oh my.
Then, Teresa “Love the Children; Hate the Child” Maynard and her supporters have little positive to say about her, the Prosecutor who ignores the plight of Dawson Isom. Instead, she pushes photos of Jewell and Chafin and intones, “Truman Chafin is up to his old tricks. But, this time, he wants to control our Judicial System.”
It would be nice if someone interested in justice controlled the justice system in Mingo. Maynard has not only let the beating of 18-year-old Isom into a permanent coma go, she ignores federally-produced evidence that implicates Mingo Countians in the fraud investigation into disgraced Judge Michael Thornsbury.
So, what has Maynard done to earn your support? Nothing actually. Unless you consider keeping criminals on the streets to be a raving accomplishment. I’ll point out again that while Maynard ignored the beating of Isom, she managed to go sit at a House of Delegates District Executive Committee meeting on office hours and take notes. No indictments have come from THAT meeting, either.
But Maynard did manage to run a full-page ad saying how she “fights for Mingo County families.” Then she cites seven people as saying positive things about her. One wonders if any of those seven have taken the time to visit Dawson Isom in the skilled nursing facility where he has lay for nearly a year. I wonder why the Prosecutor, with her heart filled with compassion, has never visited nor made any attempt to support the family.
Could it be that Maynard is a tool of those who seek to keep Mingo County in the dark ages? Is it possible that “liberty and justice for all” is not really her goal? Does her track record give any indication she is concerned about this young man confined to a bed in Kentucky?
If Teresa Maynard was actually concerned about families, she would do something to right the wrong that was committed on Second Avenue in late May 2015. She simply has proven she is not worried about a family that has no political clout in Williamson.
That’s the record. It is plain and simple. Maynard has had a year to do something about it; she has failed to act appropriately.
Meanwhile, her opponent, Duke Jewell, is so honorable he would not authorize or approve a publishing a photo of Maynard in which she appears to be sleeping. Jewell said the picture was “unprofessional,” which it was. But then, Maynard IS unprofessional. A pamphlet saying Maynard has her eyes closed to justice featured the photo but Jewell would have nothing to do with it.
There’s a difference between class and lack thereof. Jewell is professional and will remain so. Maynard doesn’t quite understand the meaning of the term.
* * * * * *
Your comments, story ideas, gossip and examples of a Prosecutor who doesn’t give a damn about justice are always welcome. Use the email address listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.