I have been stunned and shocked as I watch the news in relation to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. The recent police shooting of a man in St. Louis and other incidents which highlight the ingrained prejudgement of police toward Americans of color. As a 50 something, liberal, white woman living in a suburban area outside of Wichita, Kansas, I have always been aware of the bias, but am appalled as to how this guns drawn hands up, no surrender situations are the norm for African Americans and not the exception.
I was recently driving in Andover, Kansas which is a suburb of Wichita late one evening. It was about 12:30 a.m. when a girlfriend and I were returning home from a late movie. I dropped her off at her home and started towards my home about 3.5 miles away. A local Andover police car quickly fell in behind me. No one else was on the road. He followed me at 30 miles per hour, two feet from my bumper for the entire 3.5 miles, no lights, no siren. I kept thinking to myself....do I pull over? Is there something wrong with my truck? If I pull over will he shoot me? Will he attack me? I was so frightened I called my husband on my cell phone and kept him on the line until I pulled into my driveway and the police officer sped away. It was to say the least a very, scary incident for me.
They next day, being the good liberal I am, I write a letter to the Police Chief of Andover, Kansas. I explain the incident as I saw it. Not understanding how following all the speed limit laws, all other traffic laws that I know of, I could be subjected to such a frightening incident. A few days later, to my surprise, the Andover Police Chief called me. (I think he graduated from the same academy as the Ferguson Police Chief!) The Chief explains to me he had a conversation with the officer involved. He found absolutely no problems with what the officer did! As the conversation continued, it became apparent to me, my offense against the community of Andover was driving a big, black truck. I own a very, large, black Toyota Tundra with tinted windows. It was apparently very menacing to the police officer. It was at that very moment , I knew i had been profiled! Not because of the color of my skin, but the color of my truck!
In no way in relating this story do I compare my situation to what African-American people must endure everyday and in every way. There is no comparison! But it was certainly an eye-opener for me to realize how scary it must be for African-Americans to deal with the police on any level. I was without the cloak of my white privilege for 20 minutes one night and did not like it, not one little bit! The good thing for me, is I can get out of my truck..........
Sam Brownback may have his hands full with his Democratic challenger for Governor, Paul Davis. A recent poll conducted by SurveyUSA for KWCH showed if the election were held today Paul Davis would win by 4 points. He would have 43% of the vote, Sam Brownback 39%, a third party would have 12% and there are 6% undecided. The winds here in Kansas are definitely changing. I just hope they keep blowing until November of 2014!
There is a crazy, disillusioned leader in this world who has convinced his people that other countries are out to get them and are threatening them with attack. He has created a vacuum where a free press is not allowed, so the people don’t actually know what is happening for sure, only the propaganda which the leader feeds to them through the government owned media. So the crazy leader will preemptively attack the country he mistakenly feels is the aggressor, but mostly because it is a culture he doesn’t understand and he wants his country to think him a hero. Many, many people will die for no apparent reason. Just the whim of a crazy disillusioned leader.
The similarities are stunning!!! KIM JONG UN- 2013 and GEORGE W. BUSH-2003
The Kansas legislature has found a new low. In the time of self imposed austerity here in Kansas due to record tax cuts to businesses and income tax cuts, the Kansas State Senate has seen fit to allow all privately owned Health Clubs or Gyms to not pay property tax. The reason they gave for this 4.5 million in total yearly tax relief is because these Health Clubs or Gyms have to compete with the not-for-profit YMCA's. Awww.......but the real reason is the local owner of the very lucrative Genesis Health Club gave 45,000.00 in campaign donations to the 20 or so senators who voted for this. (100 times return on investment. What a deal!!) There was a day this was called bribery or at least croneyism! So, if this should pass the house and the Governor should sign it, the hard working people in Kansas will have to make up the difference. The YMCA subsidizes low income people with daycare and memberships. They do many, many good things for their local communities. I think they have earned their tax-exempt status. Genesis Gym has not! We really need to wake up.....they are stealing us blind!
When I think about the difference between Democrats and Republicans at their core, there is a distinction which always seems deeply embedded in the answer. How each of the parties differ in their treatment of people who they feel are different than themselves. In other words, the others:
The others are people who have different colored skin.
The others are people who have different family customs.
The others are people who have different religions than your own.
The others are people who have mental illness.
The others are people who aren't as educated as yourself.
The others are people who are more educated than yourself.
The others are people who have premarital sex.
The others are people who use birth control.
The others are people who need help affording birth control.
The others are people who have had abortions.
The others are people who are teen parents.
The others are people who are single parents.
The others are people who have been divorced.
The others are people who have had affairs.
The others are people who are members of labor unions.
The others are people who have had their homes foreclosed on.
The others are people who are unemployed.
The others are people who need unemployment assistance to feed their kids.
The others are people who are Gay or Lesbian.
The others are people in prison or who have been in prison.
The others are people without healthcare.
I'll stop here, but the list of human differences and situations could go on and on. As a Democrat when I look at this list, I see myself as belonging to several of these categories over my lifetime. I can include myself as being one of "the others" and can sympathize and can have empathy and understanding for people who are "other" than I am at this point in time.
Republicans look at this list and only see "others". They seem to forget they too had their home foreclosed on. That they too had been a single, 18 year old parent and needed help from the government. They can never quite picture themselves as belonging on this list at any time, ever. You only need to listen and watch the spectacle of CPAC to understand this.
Republicans....Hypocrites all of them!
Over these last days, I am just sure the world has gone crazy! I am a 52 year old liberal woman from Kansas. It seems at times I am mostly alone in a sea of conservatism. I wonder sometimes how we have come to this. Kansas was not always this way. Sure, we have always leaned right, but we used to elect really strong democrats too. For example, we elected Kathleen Sebelius...twice! But the winds of change have been blowing since Barack Obama was elected president the first time in 2008. Racism seems to be the unspoken pox which is evident with every editorial I read in the local newspaper and clouds every discussion about politics I hear. And what is with the guns? I have lived my entire life in Kansas and I have never needed, I have never wanted or even held a gun. What is everyone so afraid of? For god sakes, we live in Kansas! We don't live in Chicago. We don't live in the projects of New York City. We live in Kansas! This is a place where we can walk without worrying about our safety. Where our kids can play outside. Where they have a whole town of parents who watch their every move. I would always tell my kids, I will know what you are doing before you do it! I was always proud to live here. Proud of our bleeding Kansas history of rebuffing slavery in the 1800's and becoming a free state. It seems all of this has changed. We now seem to fold right into the hatefulness of the great southern tradition.