I was born and raised in Morehead, Kentucky, and I earned my first college degree from Morehead State University. My parents and many of my closest friends still live there today, and it is my home.
Most people had never heard of my hometown before Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, defied the U.S Government and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, so it's understandable why the national media is having such an easy time misrepresenting the residents of this small town.
Since there seems to be much confusion, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight:
- No. We are not all religious extremists who dress like extras from an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, despite what you may see in the media. Some women wear long skirts and hairstyles for religious reasons but, for the most part, we wear the same mainstream clothes as you do. When we do wear overalls, we are probably doing something worthwhile like farming or gardening, not holding a national press conference.
Indeed, the conservative religious culture has a great deal to do with our current political mess, and during my 22 years in Morehead, I witnessed plenty of closed-minded, ignorant behavior. But Morehead is also home to a thriving theatre community, amazing bluegrass musicians, talented local artists, and tons of absolutely brilliant, kind people who live there not for religious reasons, but for their profound connection to the land and Appalachian culture. I refuse to sit by and watch the craftsmen, artists and teachers who helped me make my way in the world be ridiculed and shamed.
If there is a lesson to be learned from Kim Davis, it is that this situation could happen anywhere where an elected official allows their personal beliefs to cloud civic duty. Perhaps instead of bashing Morehead, the media could use this as an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of voting in local elections. Instead of shaming an entire town, the media should draw more attention to the grandstanding manipulations of presidential candidates who aim to further their media reach by prolonging the "15 minutes" of a small-town court clerk.
But what do I know? I'm just a silly redneck from Kentucky.