Hybrids needed

Valley Voice

1
74

Late last month the Kansas secretary of state certified United Kansas as the state’s third minor political party. Certified earlier for the next general election are No Labels Kansas and the perennial Libertarian Party.

Jack Curtis, United Kansas organizer, said the party will nominate candidates willing to work across party lines and for the election of “principled, common sense candidates.”

This has a familiar ring. All parties claim their candidates are overflowing with principles and common sense. (The Libertarians start with government squeezed dry, Ayn Rand on steroids.) United Kansas, according to Curtis, will find noble hybrids, well-founded and without strict political breeding.

This sounds a lot like the peal from No Labels, the other no-backlog party. They seem to share the center lane, their mission of common cause and mutual purpose against the backdrop of Republicans and Democrats, one a party of dogma and the other, restraint.

The Kansas Republican chairman is far right, an election denier and conspiracy theorist who has fashioned a party that would no longer welcome Alf Landon, Frank Carlson, Ike, even Bob Dole. Nancy Kassebaum and Bill Graves are off their list ‒ former governors, senators, congressmen, presidents and presidential candidates, outcasts because they don’t fit the Kansas MAGA mold.

Across the way, Democrats wring their hands. The party’s top brass, secure in the blue nests of the urban northeast, hesitate to venture further west or south beyond Shawnee or Douglas County. It’s been this way through the party’s recent state chairs, each from Johnson County.

A generation ago rural Kansas held Democratic strongholds in the west, central, south and southeast. In the Northwest, Democrat Janis Lee (Smith County) was elected to multiple 4-year terms from the 36th senate district, 10½ counties including Russell in the heart of Dole country ‒ even then a place of hybrid thinkers.

Elsewhere then were Senate Democrats Dick Rock (Ark City), Phil Martin (Pittsburg), Jerry Karr (Emporia), Mike Johnston and Bill Brady (Parsons). Prior Democrats also included Jack Janssen (Lyons), Bert Cheney (Hutchinson), Leroy Hayden (Satanta). Remember John Carlin’s decade, ’77-’87?

Beyond the northeast, the Kansas Democratic party is listless. Ninety or a hundred rural counties are Republican-dominant. Both parties pledge fealty to leaders in Topeka, think tanks in Washington, and private pockets deep with dark money.

*

By neglect or indifference, Kansans have compromised their essential position, permitting straw legislators and their out-state overlords to presuppose what is best for voting laws and our schools, what is bad about abortion, immigrants, taxes and help for the needy.

These local matters are nationalized hard right or far left, take it or leave it. The natural loyalty of the local citizen is made far more difficult with hints that only a confessed, hardened party orthodox is rewarded. This removes loyalty itself from the realm of free choice.

As puritan orthodoxy gains strength, our state and nation lose strength. The loss is neither irreparable nor unusual. It’s the fallout of war clouds, a gathering acrid mist that announces another election campaign.

United Kansas and No Labels hope to find skippers to guide us through the mists, political mongrels who offer a loyalty to the common good and shared purpose. They will need patience and muscle for the task, returning politics to the local agenda and government to local legislators ‒ and dusting off that welcome sign for the likes of Landon and Ike, Dole and Kassebaum and, perhaps, Bob Docking and Bill Roy.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Across the way, Democrats wring their hands. The party’s top brass, secure in the blue nests of the urban northeast, hesitate to venture further west or south beyond Shawnee or Douglas County. It’s been this way through the party’s recent state chairs, each from Johnson County.”

    “This sounds a lot like the peal from No Labels, the other no-backlog party. They seem to share the center lane, their mission of common cause and mutual purpose against the backdrop of Republicans and Democrats, one a party of dogma and the other, restraint.“

    These insights need to be repeated enough to be burned indelibly into the consciosness of everyone everywhere. It breaks my heart and causes sleep loss to witness the democratic party fading into irrelevance and oblivion.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here