This Tuesday, November 4th, Kansas voters will decide the course our state takes with respect to multiple critical issues. We’ll either continue steaming full speed ahead, right for the looming iceberg, or hopefully we’ll begin correcting course. As a state, we must ask ourselves if we want leaders who clearly assess the facts, who seek multiple viewpoints, who evaluate the results of policy decisions and make adjustments as needed, or if we want leaders who blindly follow a political ideology, particularly if that ideology is cancerous to Kansas.*
Do we want leaders who are willing and able to incorporate sound science (including climate and medical science) within policy where applicable, or do we want leaders who reject peer reviewed science because it conflicts with their world view or pocket book? Are we a forward thinking state that embraces sustainability and renewable energy, with all of the associated positive economic and environmental implications, or are we laggards stuck in a fossil fuel tar pit with the other extinct mega fauna?
Do we want to make it harder or easier for all Kansans to vote and have a voice? Do we want a judiciary that operates independently of the governor and legislature, or do we want justices who think and act exactly like the executive branch, regardless of who’s sitting in the governor’s chair? Do we want a state legislature usurping local laws with respect to guns and potentially other aspects down the road? Do we want a state legislature usurping the authority of the state board of education, another elected body?
And do we want state leaders who under-fund public education and undermine the security of teachers (thereby undermining their effectiveness), leaders who have a very narrow definition of efficiency and make decisions that negatively impact our state’s long term economic competitiveness and the future of our children? Or do we want leaders who recognize the short and long term benefits of a strong, well funded pre-K-16+ public education system? As a school board member I am particularly concerned about the inevitable cuts and consolidations that will happen at the local level across the state if we continue on our current course; for many districts it’s already too late to avoid some of this.
So, if you think your vote doesn't matter, if you think the outcome of this election doesn't matter, think again. How fast we correct course hinges on this midterm. The outcome will matter this year, in five years and in ten plus years from now. It will matter to you, to your family and to your community. It will matter to all of us.
*For more on cancerous ideologies, see Reply to Commentaries on Blueprint for the Global Village - the last few paragraphs that start with "On cancerous ideologies."