Brandon’s Kentucky Kitchen Table, Georgetown

By Brandon

                I had my KKT on March 20th with 6 people, including myself, Brandon, in Georgetown, KY. The others were named Drew, Michelle, Chris, Richard, and Joyce. Drew and I are both around the same age. Michelle and Chris are both in their mid-40’s, Richard is 72 and Joyce is 68. Drew and I are both from Central Kentucky, while Chris is from Western Kentucky, Michelle and Joyce are from Eastern Kentucky, and Richard is from West Virginia. Michelle works at a CPA’s office, Chris works for Toyota, Joyce used to work in an office for the board of education, and Richard was in the Army (He went to Korea to guard the border, but it was during the Vietnam War) and then he was a Coal Miner. As you can tell, we were all different ages, with three generations being represented, and were all from vastly different regions of Kentucky. Many of us had had very different job experiences and therefore different experiences with others in life.

            To the first question they all had different answers. To Michelle, being a citizen meant being involved with others in the community, but not just by giving them what they need, by enabling them to get what they need for themselves when possible. Sort of a teach a man to fish rather than feed a man for a day sort of outlook. Chris said that he thinks that being a good citizen should mean that people leave each other alone more, to not get too involved in others’ affairs unless they ask for your help. He said that everyone has the right to be active as a citizen or not be active because it is their choice and we all have our roles to play. Joyce said that being a good citizen means helping others in need. Joyce grew up very poor, so she has a lot of sympathy for those in need. She understands what it is like first hand to be in need of food and clothes, and that It can be hard to ask for that sort of thing from others. Richard said that he thinks that people need to be more informed members of communities in order to act better. He feels like things are very tumultuous in the U.S. right now and that we need people to work together to fix them, but they need to learn what they are talking about first. Drew said that everyone needs to help each other when they need it, and that we all need to be more involved with our communities and the others in them. For me I fell somewhere between Michelle and Chris, I think that people shouldn’t have to be involved if they don’t want to, but that personally I would like to help other people through programs that help them to get what they need and to learn how to help themselves.

            One thing that was really interesting for me about the talk was that Chris and I both found out we were part of the same political party. My family and I almost never talk about politics since it will normally lead to arguments, or so we worry, so we never ever bring it up. But in bringing it up we learned that Chris and I both feel the same way about a lot of issues and were both a part of the same Party, which is even more impressive than it sounds because it is a third party, not Democrats or Republicans. It was really fascinating to me that I could live under the same roof with someone my whole life and not know that we both felt the same about so many things. I guess it makes sense though, we probably shared a lot of the same ideas and talked about them in passing without really realizing it.

            Richard responded a lot to the question about how a job helps others in the community since he was in the military and he was a coal miner. When he was in Korea he wasn’t just there to protect Americans, but also to protect people in Korea. He also felt like he did a lot for the community as a coal miner since they used to give people all across the country electricity. Joyce used to work for the board of education, she chose what students ate for lunch every day, so she played a huge role in her community. She was part of deciding what healthy options kids had to eat every day, so she played a role in almost every kid’s life in her county every day. Michelle does taxes, so obviously that plays a big role in society. Chris makes cars, but the company he works for is what keeps my entire hometown going, so that plays a big role in the community as well. Drew and I are both students, so we learn about how to make a difference in society even if we don’t have jobs to do it through yet. We still try to help others and be involved at our schools because we are the future of the community.

            The only real debate was between Drew and Richard. They were debating about someone being a citizen because they were born on U.S. soil, but not having parents that are from the U.S. that have just moved here. Richard said that he couldn’t understand how someone who was only born here and doesn’t have family from here could be a truly engaged citizen because they would have no love for the land or the community. This may seem like a bad thing to say at first, but it is important to remember that he is from a town of about 500 people in West Virginia where there was only one family that wasn’t white, and they were Native Americans, not immigrants. Drew, on the other hand, has a lot of friends that are immigrants, so he explained to Richard that they can easily grow a love for the community when they live here, especially if the community takes them in and makes them feel welcome. If that happens, they may even love the community even more than others in it do.

            Overall the dinner went really well. I learned a lot about my own family that I never had because we don’t normally talk about these sorts of things. It was also nice to get family that we don’t see very often to come over and have dinner, since my family and I almost never take the time to sit down and have dinner at a table together like this. It related to class because it showed me how much people have different ideas about things in one single family. Some thought they shouldn’t have to be engaged in the community, while others thought they should be. It reminded me of the environment readings in the way that some people think we should all do little things to help, like Drew, and some others, like Chris don’t think that there is much we can do and should leave it alone. Others, like Michelle, think we need to change how we work as a society, not just as individuals. It all tied back into class very nicely and the entire dinner went smoothly.

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