Kansas lawmakers cater to minority interests

Kansas Republican lawmakers have no problem accepting a majority of voters put them in office, but that same democratic principle gets tossed in the dumpster when it comes to expanding Medicaid, background checks on private gun sales, and giving women control over their reproductive health decisions. 

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Columnists

March 5, 2024 - 1:29 PM

As a child, the term “democracy” doesn’t exist. The parents call the shots. In return, children are fed, clothed, schooled and loved. Overall, not a bad deal. Out in the greater world, however, majority rule is what makes democracy tick. At least, that’s the idea. ANTE HAMERSMIT/UNSPLASH

Like the vast majority of people, we didn’t grow up in a democracy.

To be sure, we were born in the Heartland of America and have lived here our entire lives, but we were also raised under a roof in which a democracy did not exist —unless it came to deciding what movie we wanted to see at a drive-in.

Dad was the “authoritarian” in our household who had one simple rule: As long as you’re living under my roof you’re living under my rules.

Had we lived under a roof where democracy ruled, midnight curfews would have been waived and rock music would have shaken the rafters.

In exchange for giving up our democratic rights, we were fed and clothed, had a comfortable bed, didn’t have to pay the utility bills and were allowed to join the rest of the family on vacations.

Overall, not a bad deal.

The authoritarian rule of home life has its place, but we all must learn to abide by the laws and, to a certain degree, the accepted values that comes with living in a democracy.

I may not agree with a 65 mile per hour speed limit, but my social contract says that either I abide by the law or risk paying a fine.

I accept that.

I don’t agree with the idea that anyone who is licensed can be packing a concealed firearm in public. I find it less understandable why, in Kansas, a permit isn’t required for concealed carry of a firearm.

I don’t have to like or understand it, but I accept it.

What I have no tolerance for is the idea that ultraconservative members of the Kansas Legislature and the U.S. Congress feel that the democratic principle of one man (or woman), one vote, doesn’t apply to them.

When Mitch McConnell, as the Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate, put a hold on former president Barack Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, it wasn’t because it was the right thing to do, but because he had the power to do so.

It was in direct conflict with the wishes of a democratic majority who elected Obama to the White House not once, but twice.

When an ultraconservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that 50 years of Roe v Wade was long enough and they put into motion draconian measures by states to strip away from women the right to make their own health decisions, it was to appease an ideological minority — not the wishes of the majority.

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