Rachel and I were paired for the Kentucky Kitchen Table Project, and we were accompanied by Madi and Allison from our section along with some of Madi’s family: parents Kim and Tim as well as cousin Nick. I had never spent any time with anyone around the table outside of class, so I had no clue what to expect when I arrived at the house. I could make a pretty good guess at the political views of my classmates from the thoughts they shared in class, but the project allowed me to actually find out their stance and learn about the views of the three new faces.
Through our discussion I was able to confirm that Allison tends to lean left on most issues, while Rachel is a moderate. Surprisingly, Madi and I have a very similar stance as we both consider ourselves Libertarians. Kim and Tim are strong conservatives, but Nick tries to avoid politics if he can. Even though this contradicts what most people what say is good citizenship, avoiding civic engagement is pretty common because of the complex nature of the political scene.
Nick was an interesting outlier from the group; while Allison, Madi, Rachel, and I are college students, and Kim and Tim are working adults, Nick is not in school and on his own at age nineteen. While skipping out on college for a job is very common in my small Tennessee hometown, it was intriguing to learn from Nick about what it’s like.
Not everyone could form an answer of what citizenship meant to them beyond voting, paying taxes, and obeying the law. Tim joked that the question shouldn’t be so quick to assume he believes those three are required in his definition of citizenship. However, he did add that he believes community involvement is essential to citizenship. This comment reminded me of the section of readings from Smart Communities with the Owensboro healthcare crisis, and the impact community involvement was able to make in that situation. Madi thought political literacy was important, as well as knowing the laws and the reasons they exist.
I wanted to make one point about citizenship regarding our obligation to others: I think we aren’t always obligated to help others, rather our duty should be to avoid harming others.
When asked what type of community she wanted to live in, Allison responded by saying she wanted to live somewhere that it was easier to pay for her diabetic supplies. Tim poked fun at the socialist agenda saying, “I want to live in the Bernie commune where everyone else can do the work, and I’ll reap the benefits.” While we agreed Allison, and everyone else, shouldn’t have to struggle to pay for health care, we also agreed socialism is not the way to go about it. Though Tim could benefit from a free healthcare system as he was blinded in one eye by a childhood accident, he was the largest opposition to socialism because he doesn’t deserve to be penalized for his hard work.
Now to the important part: the food. It had been about a month before this project since I had eaten a home cooked meal. The cuisine Madi’s family graciously supplied us with did not disappoint. My favorite parts of the Kentucky Kitchen Table Project, aside from the invigorating discussion of course, were the burgers straight off the grill and the homemade macaroni and cheese.