Don’t Ever Come to Kansas. It’s the Worst.
That headline might be the most obvious statement ever written. But that doesn’t keep it from being true.
I used to defend my home state to outsiders. Who are they to talk smack on the prairie? It’s like I can say horrible things about my family, but you can’t say anything bad about my family. That’s a privilege you have to earn.
But now? Now I’m done. There is nothing left to defend.
You see, I’m convinced that the state of Kansas wants nothing more than to be the most conservative and reality-denying state in the Union. And, boy howdy, is it on its way.
Exhibit A: New, epic abortion restrictions. I say restrictions, but I mean a ban because it defines “life” as starting at fertilization. It also requires that doctors tell women of the non-existent link between abortion and breast cancer. Yeah. The law now requires doctors to lie to their patients. Because accurate information might lead a woman to make the best decision for her, which might be an abortion? Well, we can’t have that.
But let’s get back to this “life” issue. What is ultimately so enraging is that this is largely a symbolic gesture, at least at the moment:
While it would not supplant Kansas law banning most abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy, it does set the state up to more swiftly outlaw all abortions should the U.S. Supreme Court revisit its 1973 ruling making abortion legal, Nash said.
“It’s a statement of intent and it’s a pretty strong statement,” [Elizabeth] Nash [state issues manager of the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute] said. “Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade or should the court come to some different conclusion, the state legislature would be ready, willing and able to ban abortions.”
Yeah, because the Kansas legislature has a really hard time getting its act together when it comes to restricting abortions in the state. Gotta get right out there on the precipice, ready to jump.
If my esteemed state lawmakers are super organized when it comes to getting all up in my uterus, they are mercifully inept when it comes to teaching controversial science topics. And when I say “controversial,” I mean factual. Which brings me to Exhibit B: The desire to raise a generation of climate change deniers.
This is essentially what it sounds like. Teach the controversy! Even if that controversy doesn’t exist, even a little bit. If there is one thing I’ve learned from living in a bright red state it’s that it doesn’t matter what the facts are. If you can say it with enough conviction, it’s true. And I guess if you can keep people from being educated enough to question you, all the better.
If you’re the kind of person who thinks there is a scientific controversy surrounding climate change, then you’re probably the kind of person who might want to eliminate sustainable development entirely.
Oh, what’s that, Universe? Such people live in Kansas? By golly, you’re right! I give you Exhibit C.
Wichita Republican Dennis Hedke is super concerned about sustainable development. He thinks that state and local governments shouldn’t be allowed to do it. Because reasons?
This isn’t a matter of interpretation. The bill Hedke introduced is pretty in-your-face about it, right from section one:
No public funds may be used, either directly or indirectly, to promote, support, mandate, require, order, incentivize, advocate, plan for, participate in or implement sustainable development.
Ok, ok. Maybe the law defines sustainable development really narrowly. Oops. Nope.
“sustainable development means a mode of human development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come, but not to include the idea, principle or practice of conservation or conservationism.
Yeah…because that would be the worst thing in the world.
I could go on, but you get the point. This state is hostile to women, science and education. And it doesn’t look to be letting up soon. Just stay away. Save yourself.
Image credit: HPZ