Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thanks, But I'm Not Switching Kansas Parties

Election season is upon us. Monday was the filing deadline for Kansas State Representative candidates, meaning those of us involved in campaigns are talking. We are talking about districts and candidates. We are talking about numbers and demographics. We are talking about how we can best get rid of the extremists in Topeka by replacing them with moderate, cooperative, and intelligent citizens.

I’ve been met with a particular statement many times over the past few years, by some of my favorite Republicans in Johnson County (yes, there are many Republican friends whom I love but respectfully disagree with on some issues). They have all said to me “You should just switch parties!”

Um, no. I shouldn’t.

In fact, how would you respond if I told YOU to switch parties? Would you be insulted? The question itself implies I lack an awareness of who I am and what I believe. Actually, consider that, in light of the current state of Kansas, maybe moderate Kansas Republicans should be the ones rethinking their party affiliation.

After all, it is your extreme party members who have destroyed the legislature by such ridiculous acts as holding sonograms under the dome, sponsoring discriminatory bills (leaving Kansas the laughingstock of the country), and who single handedly removed teacher’s rights within our state.

Wasn’t it YOUR party who introduced and passed the tax bill which is directly responsible for the state’s downgraded bond rating and projected 900 million dollar+ shortfall by 2017?

Yours is the party who played host to a group of lobbyists who targeted every moderate incumbent for ouster two years ago in order to bring in patsies who would do the bidding of Brownback, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the Koch brothers. And these are the same Republicans now attempting to do the identical thing again during the current pending primaries. And yet not one of you who asked me to switch parties has openly denounced Brownback.

And isn’t it your party’s governor whose most beloved henchmen are now being investigated by the FBI for alleged illegal lobbying activities?

No, I think I’ll stick with the Democrats, thank you very much.

You see, there is a reason I’m a Kansas Democrat.

It is because I believe in teachers, public schools, and providing the best education possible to every single Kansas child regardless of their income or religion.

It is because I believe in equal rights for all Kansas and United States citizens, regardless of gender, race, religious belief or sexual orientation.

It is because I believe in a woman’s right to make private medical decisions without the government intruding. In fact, I believe in a man’s right to the same.

It is because I believe that taxes are vital to maintaining first world conditions within this country. To be brutally honest, I kind of enjoy our paved roads and invaluable public services.

Call me crazy, but I’m even partial to some government regulations. In fact, I kind of prefer not having raw sewage in the local ditches.

I'm even pro-business but understand that a state like Kansas lacks the necessary resources to support a zero business income tax model…and it certainly didn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this simple little fact before the vote was taken on Brownback’s experimental grand tax bill. Yours is the party that has supported candidates who lack the basic ability to use pragmatism, nuance, and simple honest research before making informed decisions regarding how they will vote on a bill. They blindly follow their masters' bidding when it comes time to make those votes.

It is because I believe our elected officials should be financially supported by donations offered by average citizens versus massive and lopsided donations by the corporate elite, which is one of the ways the extremists in YOUR party have managed to wrestle control of the state away from your very own moderates.

It is because I believe that employee unions paved the way for worker’s rights and a solid middle class so that families could afford to buy a home and send their kids to college, knowing there would be a pension.

Oh, and yes. I believe in global warming and science. Call me crazy, I’ll accept that.

I believe our founding fathers would be horrified to see the push by some to turn this state into a theocracy and further horrified to see traditional Republicans who oppose this refuse to stand up to the Governor who is leading the charge.

It is because I would never, ever, associate myself with a party that refuses to purge hatred, bigotry, ignorance and discrimination from its ranks, even when it is costing the citizens of Kansas dearly.

Thanks for the advice, really. I appreciate the offer to join the reigning party in Kansas. I really do. It makes me feel humbled and wanted, kind of like hanging out in the bar during last call.

Frankly, though, I’m pretty darn comfortable with the Kansas Democrats.

They fit who I am and what I believe and I've never considered leaving. Not even to be on the state's current popular team.

But hey, we have plenty of room in the party. Our arms are open and accepting…ALL Americans and Kansans are welcome.

With one caveat: You can’t hate/malign/push to remove civil rights/or otherwise disrespect your fellow citizens because they aren't like you. If that’s your scene then stay right where you are. The majority party in Topeka seems to have a monopoly on bigotry and ignorance.

Not my party, though. They represent true Kansas values.


  1. A very strong, honest explanation. The moderate Republicans in Kansas prove the definition of insanity....Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

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  3. Hear, Hear! The sad fact of the matter is that I achieved voting age in an era when Richard Nixon could have been mistaken for a radical Democrat.