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Reading the Newspaper In Brownback's Kansas: A Daily Horror Story

By Diane Wahto
Opinion | March 19, 2015

Every morning, I go out to the porch and pick up the Wichita Eagle, a paper I have subscribed to ever since I moved to the Wichita area in 1974. My husband joins me in reading the morning newspaper. He reads the sports section while I start with the first section and read through to the comics and puzzles.

Ever since Sam Brownback became governor of Kansas, the headlines on the front page of the Eagle have been a cause for consternation. After he won a second term, with a bunch of right-wing legislators following behind him, reading the front page news has become even more of a horror story. Edgar Allen Poe couldn't have written it any better.

The right wing, small government Kansas legislators have done everything but favor small government policies. From pre-empting local gun control laws to passing laws to further restrict women's health care choices, from taking power away from government conservation agencies to putting restrictions on people's voting rights to restricting public employee unions, we have a huge government overreach in our state legislature.

This is in addition to Brownback's goofy statements about how restricting abortion rights will help foster family cohesiveness and how not taxing the wealthy will lure businesses to Kansas. Add to that the goofiness of right wingers who won't take Medicare money from the ACA, even though hospitals are seeing financial losses because they don't get paid.

Then there are those who want to do everything in their power to turn Kansas into fundamental Christian theocracy. One room in the state capitol is dedicated to "meditation." What that really means is that it's filled with Christian icons, books against abortion, and other such fundamentalist Christian paraphernalia. Also, now only those who go to church, don't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, and are in a heterosexual marriage can be considered as foster parents.

I don't know if Kansas is losing population over these right wing policies. I do know if I were a young person looking for a job as a teacher, a fire fighter, or a police officer, Kansas is not the place I would want to be. I also know Kansas is losing jobs and its economy is suffering mightily because of the experiment that Brownback and the Kansas Legislature have imposed on the citizens of the state.

When it will end is anybody's guess. Apparently, the moderate lawmakers in Kansas and the moderate voters in Kansas have gone down the rabbit hole. When candidates for office in the last election called voters, the questions voters asked most often had to do with keeping their guns and getting rid of abortion. I feel like I'm not in Kansas anymore, but I can't click my heels and go home because, darn it, I am home--and I can't leave. Why didn't I move to Canada when I had the chance?


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This page contains just one story published on March 19, 2015. The one written previous to this is titled "Straight Shooters in Topeka" and the story published right after this one is "Democrats Might Win? Not if the Three G's, A, and O Have Anything To Do With It."

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