Kansas elections are not the answer


Among the notions inspired by the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling is that the issue is far too important to be settled in a court; this is a question to be answered only by an election – presumably state and local ballots. This way, we might preserve our cherished pockets of intolerance, much in the way we preserve land for a sewer easement, or a county dump, or a superfund cleanup.

Otherwise, a federal law is likely to allow more of them – them! – the rights and legal privileges that others enjoy, married or not.

The trouble with elections these days is that they don’t settle much of anything, especially in Kansas. When it comes to deciding important matters in Kansas, elections are more likely to double the trouble, not resolve it.

Kansas’ state elections today bring out the lowest common denominator in public opinion. If you doubt this, consider among recent results: a governor deluded by a childish theology and, at mid-point in his grotesque career, gripped only by a primal urge to prevail at any cost.

Elections brought us a legislature dominated by right-wing ideologues full of an almost pathological hatred of all learning (see how they abhor education), who deny all human dignity (how they scoff at the poor, the sick, the aged), who detest all beauty, all fine and noble things (the arts, roads and bridges, affordable health care, social welfare, for starters..).

A proposed election to settle the issue of gay marriage promotes something from the Jefferson Davis Family Values Camp, the same outfit that would reauthorize the southern prison camp Andersonville, or restore the confederate battle flag for Kris Kobach’s voter ID checkpoints.

State elections in Kansas have become little more than tin-pot auctions financed by one Koch cause or another, the preserve of special interest radicals, deep-pocket dilettantes and supply-siders. Kansas elections are a pro-forma stamp for the fringe parties’ incumbent petting zoo, the parrots and puppets cemented into office by the convenience and control of electronic voting.

Elections in Kansas are hardly the answer.

Whenever even slightly possible, we must leave the important questions to the courts, the remaining branch of government where the law still has meaning.


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