Sometimes, it gets hard being a person who loves Kansas and its incredibly wonderful, compassionate, caring people.
It gets hard because the people currently in charge of government have made Kansas the butt of late-night TV jokes and the subject of derogatory commentary on the national stage.
So, one night in April, I sat down and wrote a defense of the people of Kansas, explaining that the people who live here are not mean. We just ended up with mean leaders because too many people didn't vote.
Normally, I don't hear from a lot of readers one way or another on my editorial comments. This one was different. The magazine only came out a week or so ago and I have already had letters or emails from seven people -- five who thanked me for writing the article and two that took me to task.
Obviously, this is a topic that needs discussion in Kansas as the Legislature goes into overtime with not much progress on actually figuring out how to fill the giant hole in the budget. I'm sharing the comments that came to me via letter and email here. Feel free to add comments of your own, either on this blog or my email at [email protected] In case you missed the column in question, you can find it at http://magissues.farmprogress.com/ksf/KS05May15/ksf008.pdf
Here is what I've heard so far:
You said exactly what needs to be said
Dear Ms. Griekspoor,
My husband John and I want to thank you for your editorial, "Most Kansans Are Not Mean People; they just didn't vote."
It thrilled us to see this point-of-view represented in our farm magazine, and thank you for having the courage to speak out and write it. We agree strongly with your characterization of our current legislature and your list of specific examples to back it up. Also, we agree that Kansans at heart are decent people and try to help their neighbors. We must all act and vote to get Kansas back to reflecting our citizens' kind hearts, not the narrow-minded, selfish sensibilities that are controlling Topeka now.
Thank you again for this important public statement - you said exactly what needs to be said.
Annie & John Wilson
Five Oaks Ranch
Elmdale, KS 66850
Editorial as well written and right on
Your recent editorial “Most Kansans are not mean people . . .” was well written and right on. It is a shame that our Kansas elected officials do not listen to you or any of the other Kansas editorial writers who are making the same points in different words.
They only need to listen to the Kochs and their PACs so money for attack ads against whoever their next opponent may be will be there. The “Citizens United” Supreme Court case five years ago is just a disaster for democracy.
Love your May editorial
I love your May editorial! It shows you have compassion and common sense with a heart of gold. I had already written my own economic version.
Brownback as Secretary of Ag in Kansas had the same corprotist, uncaring mentality. His water plan then was "pump, pump, pump". Check out his Board of Agriculture video on Kansas's future, all based on center pivots.
He was also the architect of corporate poultry, rabbits, dairy and swine. Yes, amazing. Legislators are busy scrambling and spinning the story.
Alma, Ks. 66401
I commend you for your recent editorial
Dear Ms. Griekspoor,
I am a fifth generation wheat farmer in north central Kansas. For some 60 years, I have considered Kansas Farmer "essential reading." You are making it more essential than ever, because you are the FIRST editor of this influential paper whom I can remember taking a stand on a crisis of government in Kansas.
I commend you for your recent editorial "Most Kansas are not mean people; they just didn't vote." It contrasted the cooperative, charitable nature of our people with the mean-spiritedness prevailing in the Governor's administration and among a majority of legislators.
In February, State Rep. Susan Concannon spoke to a legislative forum that I attended in Concordia. There was overflow attendance because of people's concerns over cuts in education funding.
Mrs. Concannon was frank and said that the 2014 election had put five more Tea Party Republicans in the State House of Representatives, which was counter to what moderates had hoped for. Concannon was not optimistic about whether the income tax cuts (which have thrown the Kansas budget into the ditch) would be rescinded.
I agree with your point that "the only way to return Kansas to its rightful places as a normal, compassionate and sound-values state is to un-elect" many of our current legislators. In this era of unlimited political contributions from dark sources, it will be difficult to find progressive candidates who are willing to wade into the electoral swamp.
Thank you for writing about how we can do better in public policy AND how we can improve our state's agriculture industry. We Kansans need to pay attention to both.
1689 N. 240th Road,
Concordia, Kanas 66901
Thank you for your article
I always enjoy your articles in the Farm Progress magazine!
But I want to thank you for your "Most Kansans are not mean people; they just didn't vote" article.
I did vote, but not for those who were paid by super pac funds. I certainly agree with your position that a lot of people didn't vote and now we are stuck with some really bad decision makers in our state legislature!
There is one person that writes his views in the Winfield Courier, Ed Trimmer, who has tried to stop some of the outrageous bills. I hope Kansas will wake up and reduce the number of "Brownback" supporters at our next election.
Troubled by 'put down' of voters
I am troubled by you putting down the Kansas voters who elected our leaders.
I think if you would have been raised and educated in rural Kansas, you might have a different outlook on why we vote the way we do.
First, you would of learned to budget and be totally responsible for your actions, or lack there-of. It is real easy to be compassionate with other’s money.
In my 75 years as a Kansan, we have always taken care of our friends and neighbors, and others in need.
When the government took over, we became skeptical. Rightfully so, as non-profits and charities have become the fastest growing industry.
Why? My opinion for what it’s worth is that we are “enablers”.
To say “children are starving in Kansas? That is extreme! I would expect an article like yours would be in the newspaper but not a Farm Journal going to Farmers who as a whole, despise the newspapers and their liberal agenda.
Thanks for letting me vent!
Must have misunderstood, need to look closer
I always carefully re-read a writer’s work that makes no sense. It must be that I have misunderstood and need to look closer at the text and intended content. Then I will be able to better understand.
The ‘As I See It’, May 2015 issue caused me to look much more than once. The first several paragraphs describe Kansas as I know it. Caring for those in need.
But then your version of the truth comes out. Is your opinion fact-based or politically and emotionally based?
Nowhere can I find any reports of Legislators who are happy about children who have starved to death in Kansas. Please help me to understand this issue by providing their names and the number of dead children.
Nor can I find reports of elected officials satisfied with the homeless, uneducated kids in Kansas. What are the facts? Who are these uncaring louts or loutesses?
When our family has met with health care professionals during the past 22 years of raising 2 special kids we have been repeatedly told by them that our efforts have been extraordinary. Yet we don’t have to look far in our own community to find others who deal with far greater challenges and also succeed.
The parents are the key.
Or the brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and community who step up. Elected officials can never solve this problem.
Throwing money at it has not worked in my lifetime.
What info can you provide as to the number of working poor who have been refused help when ill?
You use terms such as "cuts, refuse to expand, set up and degrading" to describe what our elected officials do in the budgeting process. They have no money to spend other than that which was collected from the citizens of the state.
Has the tax revenue collected and spent in Kansas increased at all in the last 10 years?
Have you ever had to not increase your spending, reduce it, refuse to spend unwisely or have rules for where your money gets used?
Set up and Expand are also terms the rural community knows that cost $’s when considered on their farm or business operation.
Are those in the rural community who use a budget process to manage their lives also to be labeled as uncaring, unloving and un-Christian?
You write using we and they. That also is not factual about Kansas.
KANSAS is US !
Are you in or out?
Mike and Debbie Nickels
Nickels Farms & Old School Guide Service
17100 Fairview Rd
McLouth, KS 66054