The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Kentucky deserves our sympathy. Climate change deserves action.

The remnants of a structure in Fisty, Ky., following severe flooding in the eastern part of the state. (Arden S. Barnes for The Washington Post)

Regarding the Aug. 1 op-ed “The Kentucky flooding is horrific. So is Democrats’ lack of sympathy.”

The problem with Courtney Lucas’s complaint about the lack of sympathy for the flood victims in Appalachian Kentucky is that by voting for Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, Kentuckians vote against their own best interests with regard to climate change. When other states have disasters, Mr. Paul sees no need for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief, only keeping his mouth shut when it helps his own state.

More important, the Democrats’ anger that Ms. Lucas complains of derives from fear. Ms. Lucas needs to understand it’s not all about Kentucky. We’re afraid for the entire Earth.

Virginia Nuta, Montgomery Village, Md.

Lack of sympathy for victims of any disaster in our country, whether it be by fire, flood or GOP chicanery, is callous and un-American. However, Courtney Lucas’s disdain for some Democrats’ behavior in her Aug. 1 op-ed, “The Kentucky flooding is horrific. So is Democrats’ lack of sympathy.,” regarding the state’s flooding tragedy is misguided. We cannot single out Democrats for callous behavior. Party tribalism is not new to Americans, and it is not exclusive to any particular group. Victims of any and all misdeeds reach a boiling point. There are lots of justifiable grievances that can be lodged against the GOP and Kentucky’s leaders for either supporting or turning a blind eye on issues such as abortion rights, fair tax laws, LGBTQ rights, climate advocacy and election fraud. But mocking victims because of their state’s political posture or values is despicable.

My advice to Ms. Lucas is to realize that as a country we need to focus on sympathy and the financial support needed for Kentucky flood victims. We also need to remember the victims in our Western states and the out-of-control fires in such liberal havens as California, Oregon and Washington, despite any insensitive Democrats or Republicans.

Stephen F. Callahan, Annandale

The impressive Aug. 1 op-ed, “The Kentucky flooding is horrific. So is Democrats’ lack of sympathy.,” by Courtney Lucas might have been on the mark for some of the negative comments about the Kentucky flooding, but she missed mine. I don’t wish the anger of the Fates on anyone. However, I don’t see why citizens should not be held accountable for their actions.

Kentucky has consistently sent representatives to Washington who have voted against all climate-change legislation, fair taxation and health care. And they continue to do so. This accountability issue will affect the whole nation.

We can be certain the folks in Florida, those who helped to saddle us with Donald Trump and now Ron DeSantis, will cry loud and long in a decade when more of their streets are underwater at high tide. The irony is they will blame the Democrats for not doing something to prevent it.

The issue is not a lack of sympathy but the old-fashioned American value of taking responsibility for your actions.

Richard O’Bryant, Alexandria