Kansas: As Red As You Think It Is

Recently through the magic of Facebook an article came to my attention. Bruised Kansas by Jeffrey Ann Goudie laments the transformation of the State of Kansas from a state on the forefront of racial equality and “proud history of women in politics” to a state where Governor Brownback autocratically imposes his “boilerplate political agenda”.

The only thing missing was one of those before and after photos that get passed around on the internet.


When I read the article, I kept thinking that the author must not be living in the same Kansas I live in; one can argue that Johnson County, KS is not representative of the entire state, but I am fairly familiar with a large part of it, having driven thousands of miles on my semi-frequent road trips to familiarize myself with the state where I made my home for the past 20 years. During that time I have met many Kansans, had candid conversations with countless acquaintances and coworkers not necessarily constrained by Codes of Business Conduct and unnecessary politeness, so I have a pretty good idea about the people I am surrounded with in my daily life, and, boy, is this state RED.

I’d be the first one to defend Kansas for being unfairly maligned, but not because the criticism and stereotyping is misplaced, but because, in most cases, it’s coming from places that are no better and not much further along on the scale of progress. I will never stop saying that people of Kansas are some of the most kind, helpful, compassionate people I’ve ever met. But boy, is this state RED.

I may not be a history buff, but I’ve read enough Wikipedia to know that Kansas being admitted as a free state was a result of a bloody power struggle between groups of people who came here from other states just with that purpose, including iconic John Brown.

  • Kansas had both pro-slavery and abolitionist governments and two versions of the constitution. And even the anti-slavery people didn’t have such a noble and altruistic motives for doing what they did:

Most of the Free State settlers were part of a movement called Free Soil, which demanded free territory for free white people. They hated slavery, but not out of concern for the slaves themselves. They hated it because plantations took over the land and prevented white working people from having their own homesteads. They hated it because it brought large numbers of black people wherever it went. The Free Staters voted 1,287 to 453 to outlaw black people, slave or free, from Kansas. Their territory would be white.

Young people marching in a band as part of the Temperance Tornado Caravan against liquor.KS, US. August 1948. © Time Inc. George Skadding

  • Kansas is the state that watched for almost 20 years millions of dollars gambled away in the neighboring states’ casinos, refusing to build its own, instead letting the dog and horse tracks die. The stupidity of this tactic is painfully obvious now.

Williamsburg, KS

  • I am not saying that there are no democrats in Kansas. They are busy measuring sizes of their libraries, playing degrees of separation from the nearest gay person, trying to beat each other by the levels of diversity in their kids’ schools, supporting Obama/Biden bumper sticker industry and writing letters to Huffington Post. When you ask them where they live, they like to name the neighborhood instead of state. In the meantime, some Republican candidates for Congress run unopposed.
Kansas Election Results

Kansas Election results by county. Politico.com

And lady, here is a confederate flag for you:

Confederate flag in Lawrence KS

Confederate flag in Lawrence KS. ©Ross MacDonald

  • David Remley

    You really should include at least one picture of the Phelps clan. They’re kinda like the bearded lady in the circus that is Kansas.

  • Nick

    The ReThugs in the Missouri Legislature intend to give Kansas a run for its backwards money, mark my words. And if that weren’t bad enough both the KC and STL DEMs are of the grasping, money-oriented (not to say storing-it-in-bundles-in-their-freezers), bend over backwards to support every stupid “liberal” idea sort.
    indeed were Missouri and Kansas to enter into a tug-o-war stupidity contest, they’d both come away with several stumps where they once had fingers.

  • I Travel for Jools

    Yes, we are a red state. A place that believes people shouldn’t rely on the government for their welfare for the rest of their lives unless they are truly disabled instead of “suffering” from “mood disorders”.. Yes we are a red state because we don’t believe women should be allowed to abort their babies in the third trimester simply because they don’t want the child. Yes, we are a red state because we believe people should prove they are legal voters just like they must prove they have a license to drive a car. Yes, we are a red state because we believe it is unconstitutional to require us to turn in or destroy our currently allowed guns/ammo or face Class C felony charges like Missouri Democrats are proposing. I could go on but I’m damn happy to iive here in Kansas.

    • Sorry, I was on vacation and your previous comment got stuck in spam, which I now fixed. I’ve known you for a long time, so we can dispose with B.S.
      Plenty of people in KS rely on welfare, whether it’s for whatever reason – disability, being poor, or just knowing a way around the system, or if it’s called farm subsidies, which probably go to every single farmer in Kansas. Most of whom hate the other people on welfare. And who are also responsible in part for bringing illegal immigrants to Kansas, violating every possible employment and immigration law, and having welfare support them too.
      And let’s not kid ourselves, it’s not just third trimester abortions we are talking about here. The only reason that’s even specified is that banning abortion entirely is not possible until Supreme Court takes another look at it.
      Also, I am with you on illegal voters, but they must not be using them efficiently, since republicans are in majority, the Governor and all representatives are republican, so illegal and dead voters are not helping democrats to get ahead.
      As for guns, I don’t really think people should own machine guns. If anyone thinks they are going to stand up to the government “tyranny” I would actually pay money to see the “militia” of delusional people on scooters try to do something against the real force.
      The point is there is a disconnect between what people scream at meetings or online and what they do when they go home. And neither one of us should be surprised if that’s exactly the opposite.

      • I Travel for Jools

        I don’t consider non-means tested subsidies welfare. Subsidies could be bad tax policy (such as farm subsidies) but that doesn’t make them welfare anymore than your mortgage tax deduction. The point is I believe means tested welfare spending is out of control and growing to become totally unsustainable (see article below). I have a brother and sister in law who knew how to game the system in Wisconsin so well that they really never worked their whole adult lives except sporadically. After many years of the family giving them financial assistance and other kinds of support, we finally all gave up because we realized their motivation to work and get ahead in life was not as attractive as their ability to live off of various forms of welfare.


        As for abortions, Roe v Wade has been challenged many times at the Supreme Court and congressional level. Kansas used to be the mecca for late term abortions but that was ended after Sebelius left and Brownback took office. Interestingly, I found that just this month the ACLU dropped a lawsuit against Kansas for restricting insurance companies from providing insurance coverage for abortions. Now, if you want that type of insurance, you have to buy a rider for your policy. You’re right, it’s not just about third trimester abortions and red state Kansas law suits me just fine as opposed to what blue state New York is proposing.


        As for gun control, I have nothing to add other than what I’ve already said except that we’re not talking about machine guns here. They have been illegal for a long time.

        Bottom line: I like living in a red state.

        • I saw a documentary about corn once where they showed how corn only returns 97 cents on a dollar invested. the rest comes from the government. that’s welfare in my book, maybe by a different name.
          as far as abortions, I just want them to be available, in a medical setting, I don’t care if they are covered by insurance or government. you know people will still do it. they had abortions before roe v. wade and they will if they ever manage to ban them.

    • wfjackson3

      I am not a republican, but I agree with you that welfare should help people who need it rather than those who want it.
      I am not a republican, but I agree with you that third trimester abortions are saddening, but I don’t think it is my place to tell someone else what to do. I would rather maintain their freedom.
      I am not a republican, but I agree with you that we only want people voting in our elections that have a right to do so. However, you should note that in this country, nobody can demand to see your papers. Nothing should scare you more than a national, or state, identification registry. Requiring people to show a state issued identification document before voting means you have created a de facto state identification registry. Anyone wishing to exercise their constitutional rights must sign up for the registry.
      I am not a republican, but I agree with you that requiring you to turn in your guns makes no sense. I also think it is reasonable to create rules that require you to pass certain tests to acquire guns, or show that you belong to a well regulated militia.

      Your issues are not red state issues. They are issues for everyone. However, it is in the best interests of all of us that we find common ground and ways to solve the real problems that we face. What do we want to stop, start, or change in our society? Where can we agree on problems, and what can we do about them in a way that respects all of our citizens? When I hear you say ‘we are a red state’ I think it means you don’t want to work to find the common good. I hear you saying you just want to have it your way.