May 11, 2015 – Over the last week, the GOP primary in the race for governor has become tarnished with the worst that Kentucky politics has to offer. The allegations of domestic abuse from James Comer’s college girlfriend Marilyn Thomas are disturbing, but so is the response from Comer’s campaign.
The Drew Curtis campaign is speaking out on this matter because as important as the conversation about James Comer and Marilyn Thomas is, there are larger ones that we need to have. There is a serious domestic abuse problem in our state and across the country. Since Drew’s wife and running mate Heather has a background in social work and psychology, this is an issue close to her--and our--hearts.
Every time someone denies their role in domestic abuse, more and more survivors are pushed back into the shadows and feel unable to tell their story without being subjected to public ridicule. Throngs of people have come to Comer’s defense; not with a patient and healthy skepticism but with increasingly hateful and even violent rhetoric towards Thomas.
This response to people who report abuse is what we are speaking out against. It is disgusting, unacceptable and these people should be ashamed of themselves. Kentuckians are better than that. Abuse victims usually have nothing to gain by coming forward. It is an act of bravery and should be commended. To demonize a woman you have never met over events you did not witness is reprehensible.
Abuse is one of the only crimes where the victim is consistently blamed and it needs to stop immediately. Victims and survivors should feel safe to come out of hiding and put a face and a name to the crimes committed against them. Furthermore, any efforts taken by political campaigns or their surrogates to make Thomas’s story public before she was ready is revolting and everything that gives politics a bad name. She has every right to tell her story. Nobody has a right to harass her into doing so.
This week, we have seen the inevitable conclusion of party politics. We see it in every major election. When politicians run out of ways to distinguish themselves from their opponents, they go for the throat. Instead of competing in the arena of ideas, they start fighting dirty and the voters all lose.
Throughout our entire campaign, we have warned--and been warned--about this sad reality. The bunker mentality that comes with political parties is the biggest cause of apathy and disillusionment in our system. Good people get into politics and government every day in hopes of making a difference, but self-serving political hacks who only care about their next “win” keep poisoning the well. We need a revival of that public service spirit with people who want to work for something larger than themselves.
In the future, we hope more prospective candidates will claim independence from the parties that turn politics into sport and instead will work for the people of Kentucky. Democracy is about construction, not destruction. It’s not too late to turn back. Let’s get to work.
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