The best thing about having a job, or profession, with a clearly-stated purpose is that there should be no confusion whatsoever about where one’s priorities should lie. For example, a police officer’s priority is to protect and serve that is not unlike a politician’s priority is to serve and advance their constituents’ best interests and uphold the laws of the land. For the most part one likes to think that most law enforcement officers do prioritize protecting and serving the people, and that politicians uphold the Constitution and advance the interests of the people electing them and paying their bloated salaries.
Unfortunately for the poor saps living, voting, and suffering in Kansas, their governor, secretary of state, and Republican legislature have failed miserably in fulfilling their duties. They have, however, taken advantage of the taxpayers and used what little of the dwindling state revenue remains for their own pleasure and recreation as well as to advance religion and help other Republicans disenfranchise Americans that don’t fit their concept of a “real American.” In this instance, real American is a religious, white, racists and conservative voter. More on that later.
It was revealed earlier this week that as Kansas is sinking farther in debt due to non-existent revenue from tax cuts for the rich, and while Governor Sam Brownback is slashing education, transportation, and social services’ funding to continue those outrageous tax cuts, Republicans are utilizing a taxpayer-funded and government-owned airplane for personal travel. It gets worse when one realizes that the same Republican Governor Sam Brownback and state legislators who complain that educating the state’s children is too costly and burdensome, and road repair is a luxury the state can’t afford due to non-existent revenue, Brownback and company take their family and friends around the state, and the nation, at taxpayers’ expense.
It is true that in Kansas the governor is allowed to use the state-owned executive aircraft for business, and pleasure if he reimburses the taxpayers, but there is nothing in the state’s law allowing the governor’s family, friends, and political allies to ride for free. Of particular note is Brownback traveling to sporting events with his extended family in tow, and according to an investigation by the Associated Press, making religious and family interests part of Kansas’ state business on so-called “government excursions.”
Now, what should be particularly irritating to the people of Kansas, and frankly any patriotic American who believes in representative democracy, is the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach traveling at taxpayer expense around Kansas and out of the state on his crusade to subvert the voting rights of American citizens who are not white, note rich, not Republican, and not evangelical-religious.
Kobach has earned quite a reputation as an advocate for restricting voting rights for Kansans, and other Americans across the country. In fact, Kobach has become one of the leading Republican crusaders and a major figure in the conservative’s nationwide movement to add more requirements and make it as difficult as humanly possible for Americans to cast and even register to vote. It seems that within mere weeks of the conservatives on the Supreme Court gutting key parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Kansas Kobach became on the primary players at the center of most of the “legal skirmishes over voting requirements that have popped up [in Republican states] across the nation.” Again, when Kansas Kris travels out of Kansas to help other Republicans suppress the right to vote, Kansas taxpayers pick up the tab for him to fly in the official Kansas executive aircraft, and to date Kansas taxpayers appear to approve because they re-elected him to continue his crusade against democracy in Kansas and around the country.
It is noteworthy that Kobach’s anti-democracy crusade was dealt a blow, at least in Kansas, when a federal district court ordered him to allow thousands of Kansas residents to register to vote. Kobach was incensed that a federal court dared interfere with his anti-democracy crusade, and he waited over a month to finally comply with the court order. Unfortunately, his handiwork in other states has not been as hampered by the judicial system; his taxpayer-funded use of the state’s executive aircraft has proven successful.
Maybe it is acceptable for Kansas taxpayers to pay for Kobach’s trips around the nation to suppress other Americans’ right to vote because he has done a fine job of making it perilous, if not impossible, for thousands of Kansans to engage in government and have their voices heard. It is also likely acceptable for Kansas taxpayers to pay for Governor Sam Brownback’s family and religious outings because they re-elected him despite breaking the Kansas economy and Kansas schools, transportation, and social programs.
At one time not too long ago, one felt remorse for Kansas residents because they have suffered under Republican leadership whether it is Brownback bankrupting the state, drastically underfunding public schools and leaving roads in disrepair, or secretary of state Kobach racing to deny thousands of Kansas residents the right to vote. However, Kansas residents that still have the right to vote re-elected both Kobach and Brownback despite the level of damage they’ve wrought on the state and the people is beyond comprehension for civilized human beings.
Although it seems that news of the governor and his Republican cronies wasting taxpayer dollars to fly about the state, and the nation, to spread their filthy conservative policies would incite ire and rage among Kansas residents, nothing will come of it. Kansas voters are just too religious to do much more than condemn Brownback and Kobach’s critics. Remember, when it looked like Brownback and Kobach were in electoral jeopardy in the last election, Brownback dusted off his trusty bible and his super-secret October surprise, the fetus, and the evangelicals came out en masse and re-elected the Republicans easily.
Kansas residents have had more than enough time, and evidence, to put a stop to Republicans destroying the state’s finances, education system, roads, court system and social programs, but they have done exactly what they will do after learning they are paying for Republicans pleasure, religious and anti-democracy excursions: nothing. Pundits and political commentators often rhetorically ask “what’s wrong with Kansas,” and although what’s wrong with and about the state is certainly Republican rule, but what’s really wrong with and in Kansas is the insanely religious and stupid people that Brownback and Kobach still allow to cast a vote.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.