When my cleaning lady mentioned that her two little boys were victims of prejudice in the school they attend, I was upset and sad. She and her husband were born in Africa and now live in the Kansas suburbs. Because of President Obama’s commitment to education, the school the kids attend is one of the best in the country.
Then, to my surprise, she said she is irritated with President Obama for coming out in favor of gay marriage. “We’re not voting for him again because the bible says only a man and a woman should be allowed to marry.”
I wondered whatever happened to separation of church and state and, for that matter, where to draw the line on prejudice.
Not long ago, a woman with two little children living in Wichita, Kansas told me she wouldn’t vote for our president because she wants her state to make the rules. Perhaps she doesn’t know that President Obama has made the environment a national priority. She must not realize that there are unregulated Kansas coal plants near her that pollute the air her children breathe and, unless stopped, a dirty oil pipeline that will probably pollute the water her children drink.
Kansas senators and representatives had quite a legislative session this year and through all the talk by our elected officials, we are left to try and figure out what we’ve gained or lost. Business and the rich got great tax cuts. Not so the middle class and the poor. Unlike the national government, Kansas requires a balanced budget so that means big cuts will be made in other places.
We can no longer deduct child care expenses, long-term care insurance, and adoption expenses. Hardest hit will be schools, social services and public safety. Highway budgets must be cut leaving our roads to deteriorate. Services for the elderly, poor and disabled will be decreased or stopped all together. All this on the gamble that lowering state taxes for the wealthy will, according to Governor Sam Brownback, make Kansas a mecca for big business.
Lawmakers did modify the states long lasting “use it or lose it” water policy and thus protected the Oglala water reservoir, but now they should stop the dangerous and dirty practice of fracking, a method of getting oil that requires the use of tons of the precious water they just saved.
It is important that we take the time to read and listen to our legislators. Many of us unknowingly vote against our own best interests. Take care not to be one of them.