What isn’t the Matter with Kansas?
We go back, we go way back; I mean we go all the way back to the day I was born 29 years ago this Sunday—that’s how long I’ve known you and for awhile there we were pretty tight. To this day I still defend you when I tell people where I’m from and they say, “egh, yeah I had to drive through there once.”
Kansas, dear, you are better than just a drive-through, but as of lately, as in, the last couple of years, things have happened that are both embarrassing and sad.
In other words Kansas, it’s time for some tough love.
What the F is going on with you?
It’s gotten to the point where honestly, I don’t even want people to know that we have any connections, which makes me feel really bad because all of my family and a good chunk of my friends still live within the confines of your border. And in a way, when I am calling out the state in general, I’m sort of kind of calling out all of them too.
I’m sorry to do this, but friends and family, all the shit that’s been going down, a majority of it is happening at the state level, in the legislature, by people who were voted for by the people. This is a prime example of when voting in this country actually matters. And maybe, just maybe, you’re not doing the whole voting thing very well?
For example, most recently, the Kansas State House passed a bill that would let individuals basically get away with discrimination.
According to the Kansas City Star:
The bill would bar government sanctions when individuals, groups and businesses cite religious beliefs in refusing to recognize a marriage or civil union, or to provide goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to a couple.
Political leaders in Kansas put this bill into motion because they are afraid that the federal government is going to override their current state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Now, I thought the whole point of Christianity (because that’s the religion we’re dealing with here) was to be decent, tolerant, loveable folk?
Well, then, isn’t acceptance, regardless of whether or not the other person believes the same things as you, regardless of whether or not, according to your beliefs, the non-believers are going “to hell,” the major, big, number one, most important part of religion? And if not number one, at least really high up there?
It just doesn’t make sense.
For the most part, Kansas is working class, within the working class there is a motto of “live and let live.” My grandfather, who worked on the assembly line at General Motors for 25 years always says, “I don’t care what my neighbors do as long as they leave me out of it.”
So why the need to pass bills that are actually intolerant? That don’t really protect anyone? That promote hate?
Let me be very blunt here. Are you, Kansas, now a curmudgeon who doesn’t want anyone to live in you, let alone drive through anymore?
Because that’s the route you’re going. And it’s gross.
It’s frightening actually.
As someone who loves you, I have to say, please, please, please, get it together. I grew up within you, in an environment of people who accepted me for the weird eccentric personality that I am and I was able to blossom and really strive to become a decent (slightly idealistic) person. I don’t know what happened when I left to go to school. But you changed and it’s not for the better.
Everyone should have the opportunity for both growth and acceptance, regardless of the state they live in. No one should feel oppressed, isolated, unworthy, unwanted.
If this kind of behavior continues my dear Kansas, many great, amazing, talented people are going to leave and all that you’ll be left with is a bunch of haters.
And what are haters gonna do?
You are the heart of the country. Start fucking acting like it, okay?
And with all of my love,
Love elephant and want to go steady?
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Taken in Anderson County Kansas by the Author 2013
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