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Monday, August 4, 2014

This year's shootout at Fancy Farms

There is no parallel to the Fancy Farms Picnic anywhere in the nation. Located in Graves County in western Kentucky the village began the tradition in the 1880's as a fund raising device for the local school. It remains that and no outside vendors are allowed as tons of barbecued pork, mutton, and chicken are sold and served. For a candidate running for statewide office attendance is mandatory. Notable attendees from outside Kentucky include Al Gore and George Wallace. Coming from a political family, Alison Lundergan Grimes has probably been attending this political shootout her entire life. The audience is both highly partisan and exceptionally tolerant as it protects the rights of the speakers to be both bullying and, God forbid, hurtful. Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham laid out the rules, "When you agree with what they say, cheer. If you disagree, boo. And then shut up and let them go on with their speech."
It's remarkable that the is more tolerance in an elementary schoolyard in Kentucky than on an Ivy League campus.

While the crowd was it usual boisterous self during Grimes and McConnell's speeches notice the difference when Senator Rand Paul speaks. Paul begins with an unfortunate poem but when he focuses on the topic of coal the audience is hushed. It neither cheers nor boos loudly but seems to hang on Pauls every word. The subject is coal and in Kentucky that is serious business.

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