Friday, March 04, 2005

Kansas...As Small Minded As You Think?

The Kansas tourism folks recently adopted a new slogan to bring more people and publicity to the State…. “Kansas, as big as you think.” However, I don’t think the national press that Kansas has been getting in the past month was quite what those people had in mind.

We first got a huge dose of national exposure when the evolution vs. creationism debate in public schools reared its ugly head again (see my previous column). In the midst of the publicity, we’ve got our own Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, a neo-conservative, circumventing the Kansas Open Meetings Act by calling other like minded state board of education members to his office for pro stickers on books meetings three at a time-just so he only violated the spirit of the law and not the law itself.

Of course, with all the media attention focused on Kline, he couldn’t help but bring the abortion issue to the forefront again as well, just so he could spend more quality time with Bill O’Reilly on Fox. Kline wants the records of 90 abortions performed in the State. Why? His reasoning is that he is looking for minors who might have been the victims of rape or incest. If that were true, why is he not demanding the birth records of babies born to underage children? It’s simple. The ultra conservative right who calls themselves “pro life” usually only advocate for the life of the unborn. Taking a look at birth records might even force them take a look at the social ills faced by girls who aren't prepared to become mothers.

I bet though, that the moral savior of our secular laws in Kansas was probably relieved when he was able to take the spot light once again on national television during the press conference to announce the apprehension of the BTK serial killer in Wichita-even though he had little, if nothing, to do with the final outcome. Too bad that BTK professed to be an evangelical Christian though; the moral values crowd might loose his vote in future elections.

The day after Election Day, I got an email from a friend in Pennsylvania wanting to know about some “reverend” in Kansas who hates gays and was running for office. I replied, “Oh, that’s just Fred Phelps, the State’s resident gay basher.” Phelps made national headlines several years ago for protesting the outcry to Matthew Shepherd’s killing in Casper, Wyoming. Phelps took his perverse brand of Christianity and displayed signs at the site where Matthew was killed saying that Matthew is burning in hell because he was gay. Now that’s showing compassionate conservatism, especially to Matthew’s grieving family. We just thank God in the middle of the red sea here that Phelp’s granddaughter (it was she running for office) lost against the gay council member she was trying to unseat in Topeka.

With the BTK killer caught and election day out of the way, good old Phill had time to regroup his abortion subpoena requests and now he’s at it again.

Finally, as if we hadn’t had enough in the national spotlight this month, we learned that the Aryan Nations Neo-Nazi group is reforming and relocating. Yep, the metropolitan area where Marion Labs was built and the place that is home to the Sprint Corp and Hallmark Cards was going to be the new world headquarters for the Aryan Nation. This is a group whose leader boasted in The Kansas City Star the other day that his group had nothing to do with the recent murder of a judge’s elderly mother and husband, but “We love it!” he said. Makes you wonder how they found little old KCK on the map, could it have been the attention we got through a certain failed Congressional campaign last fall that drew praise and endorsements from national anti-immigration groups?

When I first wrote this, I had faith that the people of Wyandotte County, most of who are proud of our great ethnic and cultural diversity would run the Nazi’s out of town. Alas, this morning, the Aryans announced that they would move their world headquarters to Florida instead, thanks to an email campaign directed at their website yesterday. Good. I’m all for free speech, but a hate filled group connected to violence is something we don’t need. Maybe they’ll be more appreciated down South, where I’m told white people won’t buy a house if it is located on a street named after Martin Luther King Jr.

And what does Kansas have to look forward to in the future? Well, we have the gay marriage amendment vote coming up, something I’m sure that will make Phelps and his granddaughter feel tingly all over. We can’t have monogamous gays who love each other enjoying the same benefits as we married heterosexuals.

No, I’m sure the recent headlines isn’t the kind of attention the tourism folks want for Kansas, but thanks to the people that voted for our woman Governor, who is also a Democrat, and to those who drove the Nazis away, maybe there’s hope for Kansas after all.

“Kansas…hopefully, not as small minded as you think.”


Blogger hooper2 said...

With the recent theatrics in Kansas, kind of makes you wish you could fly over the rainbow to the land of Oz.

2:13 PM CST  
Blogger Redundant Redactor said...

"Kansas, as big as you think."

Is Kansas big or small? Size doesn't matter. How well we treat each other is all that matters.

In the mid-1800s, brave Kansans stood fast against slavery, giving even their lives to make sure that all races were treated equally. Kansas towns, such as Quindaro in early Wyandotte County, and Lawrence in Douglas County, dedicated themselves to freedom and justice for all.

Out of this rich heritage has grown a Kansas that values equal opportunity and tolerance. I believe that most Kansans still hold these values dear.

Think big, Kansas. Big enough to treat others well.

3:47 PM CST  
Blogger cienega2 said...

Kansans can be proud of a REALLY BIG thing that happened recently -- Steve Fossett and Richard Branson chose Kansas, specifically Salina, as the one place in the world from which they could launch the GlobalFlyer. I heard that journalists from 60 different countries came to Salina to cover the event.

2:01 AM CST  

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