March 4, 2005


Swallow the poison

by Patrick Dobson

Let’s face it, Kansas conservatives — like many, if not most, conservatives these days — are lunatics. Still, I argue instead of lamenting elected offices filled with small-minded boobs, let them have their way.

That’s right! Let conservatives believe God made the world in six days. Let them ban Holden Caufield! Hester Prynne! Sophie McDonald! Bigger Thomas! Black Elk! Sylvie Foster! Newt Winger!

Imagine, a life without the vagaries of sex, of violence, of the difficulties of human relationships. Books, towns and streets by white people, about white people, for white people. Little suburban villages. Farms with cows named Bessie. That will fix the problems all those colored people have and make all the white, suburban people feel better about themselves and their kids.

Abortion? What Kansan needs it? I want to see Mary Kay Culp’s living room filled with the babies, the mothers, the sons and daughters. A house filled to overflowing with love, understanding and all the help those special-needs moms and kids will ever desire. Operation Rescuers and Kansans for Life won’t have to torture young mothers anymore — with their signs, their screams! Instead, pro-lifer can take some of the million or more moms who might be thinking of an abortion this year into their homes and show them what the good, Christian life is all about.

The state motto: “Bring ‘em to the world. We’ll hang ‘em later.”

Racism? In a state where poor, black and immigrant are discouraged from living, it should only be a matter of a few years before they all clear out. Without any racial difference, there can’t be any racism, can there? But wait…before everyone leaves, the Rev. George Babbits of every suburban development and golf course ought to able to vote on whether their colored person or immigrant acts white enough to keep. This is, after all, a democracy.

And of religion, there will be none…because there will be one. It will be enshrined in the courthouse, the statehouse and the farmhouse. Christ Jesus will the Kansans’ guide in all things, thick and thin. And none of this “Christ looking like a Jew or an Indian or a black man.” O Holy Mary, Mother of God, only blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned Messiahs here.

I say there’s nothing to fear in letting Kansas become what it says it wants to become. Attorney General Phil Kline has already begun the quest. Kline embodies the ways in which religious fervor justifies hypocrisy, megalomania and outright dishonesty. This great legal mind has figured out how to champion the rule of law until its time to attack perfectly legal practices he doesn’t like. He’s an advocate for citizens’ privacy. Then, he uses his office to violate privacy of women who have had abortions. Once a staunch believer public accountability, he and his anti-evolutionary pals recently dove behind closed doors to figure out ways to get primates out of the human family tree.

But that’s all right. He’s battling moral degradation, even if it’s hypocritical. Even if he has to lie in public, he tries to do it on national news (and rarely where locals might ask more savvy questions).

Besides, it plays to the ever-closing minds of increasingly “moral” people who aren’t very moral at all. Let’s face it, “intelligent design” means design by a God (not gods) with a very human brain. The underlying current in anti-evolutionary thinking is that the human mind must understand the workings of God, a being that thinks and acts very much like a male human. Anti-evolutionary thinking actually elevates, rather sacrilegiously, human to equal or greater status with God. God, in this kind of paradigm, cannot create a universe so great, complex and wonderful that its complexities may never be understood by human beings and, in which, human beings may not be God’s greatest creation. Thus, evolution, rather than explaining how God’s universe works rather than explaining its outcomes, must be hogwash.

In addition, Kansans, overall, have never really liked all that racial mixing business. Things like affirmative action, equal opportunity in housing, education, and employment — that’s for places like…Massachusetts.

A person could trust a group of fiscally wary believers in small government, whose faith in the work of human hands was solid and deep. In fact, I’m sure many Kansans are just of this type. Their moral consistency is above reproach. But the people at the helm of state policy and decision making have become beholden to the roots of extremism — the inability to stand morality “outside” norms only they define, need to streamline the behavior and thought of those outside of their norms, and the vilification (and exile) of those who resist their efforts. Soon, they will offer only extremism, and in being extreme, will snuff out the fire that keeps their balloon afloat.

I wish I could say that Kansas was the only place where monkeys flew, storks delivered babies and Sally kept her teeth after Joe Bob smacked her around for getting pregnant again. But I live in Missouri. Our conservatives are just as bad or worse. Only there’s not as many of them per capita as there are in Kansas — soon, probably. But that’s the way it is in the Midwest. It has to get to the bottom, the end, past the very worst it can get before it gets any better.

Patrick Dobson can be contacted at 



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