In a splash of 36 glossy pages, a magazine precedes the 71st McPherson County Fair now on in Canton. It’s an alluring promotion, listing dozens of events and attractions, particularly the all-important judging schedules. The rodeo (July 19-20) is sure to draw a crowd.
This reminds us that Fair time sneaks up on Kansas. As we brace for more puzzlement from Washington or the campaign trails, or another burst from a mercurial mother nature, the fairs are most welcome. They are the finest possible antidote to our disordered Congress, a muddled White House, the schizophrenics of Royals baseball.
These travails will remain, and we can’t escape them ‒ except momentarily, to pause in our worry over the big picture to look brightly at the local one: the county fairs – at Canton, and in McPherson, Tri-Rivers in Salina, and their cousins across Kansas.
These fairs provide the revivifying effect of youth; 4H youngsters dominate, with other farm young people and city folk sprinkling the scenes. We’ll have 4H fairs and county fairs, all leading to the big September show in Hutchinson.
Fairs offer the usual display of farm products, and that means food. The evidence at the fairs is that we are in no danger of a food shortage. We do have monumental market headaches, but out where the stuff comes from, man and nature remain hard at work. It never hurts to forward this message to the city supermarkets and boards of trade.
The fair exhibits of vegetables, grain, fruits, and livestock are part of the explanation for our abundant food supplies. Farmers have been interested in improvement of their product throughout history, and especially in Kansas where intensive research has continued for more than a century. The fairs are a result of that research, and the growers’ pride in their work.
The fairs, big and little, are fun, friendly, youth-enlivened, and an escape. On top of that, they carry a message. And that’s quite a package for Kansas these days.
Welcome (again), attorneys
It’s a safe bet that no other group has favored Lindsborg more as a meeting place than the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, and for that the Smoky Valley should be more than grateful.
The attorneys’ organization, started in 1989, has met in Lindsborg each year since 1990, is not limited to women and lists a membership at roughly 270. This year’s conference July 18-20, will be the 30th, headquartered again on the Bethany College campus.
This record brings a history with some remarkable moments beyond the heady issues that confront the legal profession. Guest speakers have included Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Pulitzer columnist Ellen Goodman, the federal appellate judge Deanell Reece Tacha. There have been political engagements during election years, with one of the most interesting in 2002, when every primary candidate for governor – six Republicans and a lone Democrat, Kathleen Sebelius – appeared for a debate at Presser Hall. (The place was packed.)
And there was the great mosquito plague of 2009, an awful irritant, but soon dismissed with a shrug and a “so-what?” As this group saw it, there were no bugs in Lindsborg’s frosting.
It is a measure of this important group that they continue to return to Lindsborg, and a measure of this community that it inspires such allegiance. As we’ve said before, welcome.
And pats on the back all around.
A monster from
the lower depths
Kris Kobach is the defrocked fringe-right secretary of state who lost a Republican campaign for governor to a moderate female Democrat. Now he wants to represent Kansas in the United States Senate.
We had thought we were rid of Kobach, that he had been cast down into the politicians’ 11th circle of irrelevance, a place so low on the scale that not even the ghost of Jesse Helms or the mirage of Sam Brownback have risen through its mists.
Kobach dreams of resurrection, the darling of the confederate wannabes leading parades of Breitbart brown shirts and David Duke’s bed sheet cowboys in his .50-cal Jeep. He remains determined to rid us of phantom swarms of immigrants and fraudulent voters. He demands fierce walls to lock out the unwanted and sharp cages to confine undesirables and resisters. This, he says, is to protect our freedoms.
Kobach’s tired act speaks of the professional job-seeker – cheap, ignorant and parochial. He favors bombastic trivialities over serious thought, babble to inspire the camp meeting or the Klan rally. He wrote Jim Crow back into our election laws, a segregated system that presented one kind of ballot to privileged voters, and a lesser one to the others, mostly the poor, the helpless, the un-white.
This happened in a state born bleeding for abolition and freedom for all citizens, even guests. With Kobach out from under his rock, the estate and dignity of Kansas is at risk; in great days, we were a premier American state, the mother of a president and a Native American vice-president, parent of statesmen, pioneer of progressive government and culture, a do-all and be-all, an “arbiter elegantiarum” of the Western World.
Kobach has already poisoned Kansas and its proud history. He is toxic even for Washington. Not even Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s acidic chief Republican, wants him. Why should we?