To the editor:
Is anyone else upset at our secretary of state's recent invitation for millions of Kansans to leave the state? Recently I read in the KC Star that Kobach says Kansans who disagree with the state's right-wing tilt are free to leave. He said:
"Americans can vote with their feet," he said, "and choose a state that reflects their values and the way of life they'd like to enjoy. If a person wants to live in a San Francisco lifestyle, they can go there. If they want to live a Kansas lifestyle, they can come here."
Here are my thoughts. I am a Democrat so I assume I am included, along with many moderate Republicans and independents, as a person who doesn't live Mr. Kobach's "Kansas lifestyle." I am a transplant with deep roots here. I grew up a military brat with no hometown or home state and came to Kansas for college 50 years ago. You might say that I received my values from my family, my country and this state. I love Kansas for its frontier and pioneer spirit, for its deep love of community, responsibility and opportunity, for its history of progressive politics, joining the fight against slavery and for women's suffrage even before statehood, for its friendliness and down-to-earth good sense. I intend to stay!
I take issue with our secretary of state inviting Kansans to "vote with their feet." I know that Mr. Kobach has made a name for himself nationally trying to make immigrants leave our country, but his words bring to mind exactly the reasons many immigrants leave the oppressive dictatorships like Cuba.
I do not believe that Mr. Kobach is equating our state with a dictatorship. Instead, he is a believer in smaller government and in America there is no law that prevents us from moving to a place where there is a better quality of life, better job opportunities, finer public schools and higher education institutions, as well as lower taxes. We are, as Mr. Kobach says, free of political restraints. However, many Kansans are not able to "vote with their feet" because they are poor, disabled, elderly or otherwise constrained by circumstances.
I personally do not want Kansans to leave our state for political or economic reasons. My vision for our state is that it be a welcoming "home on the range . . . where seldom is heard a discouraging word." I remain encouraged by the Kansans that I know who are living a daily life of working together to create a more perfect union in a state that is tolerant of many different lifestyles and values.
I've been to San Francisco, Mr. Kobach, and to many other places in this country and abroad, and I gladly came back to Kansas.
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