Most people consider Kansas to be, firstly, fly-over country, and secondly, an intolerant, conservative hotbed.
For the record, neither is true, but there is a disturbing trend toward blind faith.
Traditionally, Kansans value hard work far above other considerations. Now-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius was elected governor in 2002 largely because she worked so hard previously as the state insurance commissioner, and Kansans put faith in her commitment to the people of our state and her work ethic. How times have changed.
Ten years later, “faith” has become inseparable from the term “Republican,” and a battle of ideologies within that party has broken out.
As a fickle backlash against President Barack Obama’s promised changes, Democrats lost big in the 2010 mid-terms, giving Republicans landslide victories over opponents. While voters were lashing out against Obama’s administration, many ignored their local not-so-Obama moderate Democratic incumbents, some who could be considered Republicans if in other states, and replaced them with evangelical, right-wing and rubber-stamping freshman Republican representatives. Since then, education funding was cut to the constitutional minimum, taxes didn’t decrease and businesses left the state. But what does all that really matter if we have faith?
Kansans are largely people of faith, but now, faith is less spiritual and more political. The problem is that Democrats, even very moderate, devout ones, find themselves up against the ‘R’ of faith next to their opponents’ names, often resulting in defeat.
Now Republican candidates fight amongst themselves. Primaries are not policy idea versus policy idea, instead they’re about who is the most conservative and most faithful, despite these terms having no real definition except what media and churches ascribe to them.
This is a crisis. When any person in political office is elected simply because of their faith and willingness to conform most to a set of another’s ideals, true leadership is lost. Moderation has all but disappeared here, and the savviest of politicians who have worked to create this atmosphere are enjoying unrivaled, uncompromising power.
Our leaders are failing us because of two ideals antithetical to America: blind faith in higher powers and ideas, and the fear of change. It must stop now.