Witt: There’s something wrong in Frankfort

There’s something wrong with Frankfort.

Everyone knows there is a political carnival every year when the legislators get together, but what happens to make those events so … unusual?

There’s an old saying that, instead of the legislature meeting for 60 days every two years, it should meet for two days every 60 years, apparently suggesting less damage could be done to the people of Kentucky.

Regardless of how often — or how seldom — the legislature meets, the mischief that ensues beggars explanation, but here are a few possibilities.

Water. Frankfort lies alongside the Kentucky River. If the drinking water for the Capitol building is drawn from the river, there may be something residing in it that alters the brain, like the lead in the water of Flint, Michigan.

But, if this were the problem, why are not the residents of Frankfort affected? The common folk of the city seem perfectly capable of going about their daily business without the rancor and disputatiousness that appears to linger in the building that houses our government. Surely they get their water from the same source.

Perhaps there is something peculiar about the air in Frankfort. Is it possible some miasma arising from the waters of the river render the atmosphere in the Capitol toxic to the senses, especially those regulating friendliness and camaraderie? And, most especially, common sense? Or the air could be unnaturally polluted by fumes arising from the nearby I-64, which skirts the city and is within a stone’s throw of the building.

Ah, there’s another possibility, the building itself.

Either the construction of the Capitol harbored some maleficent material that was not cleaned up as necessary and remains embedded within the walls, continuously exuding a malodorous perfume and rendering our legislators impotent of reasoning; or the building was constructed atop some ancient burial ground whose spirits of the long-dead inhabitants vexate all those who wander near or linger in the environs.

More likely, if such a burial ground exists, those lying there are simply so mortified by the workings (or non-workings) of state government they reveal their abilities to confuse and discomfit those who roam the halls each time the legislature is in session.

Well, this is all speculation. Without scientific investigation, none of these hypotheses can be proven. The most likely explanation for the truculence and vacuity that exhibit themselves in Frankfort periodically are not the result of anything inherent in the city or Capitol environs, but in the torpor of those who gather there periodically to, ostensibly, represent the people of Kentucky. Perhaps those delegates bring all these atrocious effects with them, their own lack of compassion, their own biases and prejudices, their own special interests (all too often at odds with the interests of everyone else, including their fellow delegates), their own selfishness, their own venality, their own provincialism, all of which mitigate against the possibilities of being able to do what is right and honest and most beneficent for the largest number of people.

It’s likely that, no matter where Kentucky’s capital were located, the good people of the state would still be subject to the ludicrous expulsions which emanate from Frankfort each year.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.