• The 2016 election gives us hope that common sense and vision will return to state government.
Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “If you’re not a liberal at 20 you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 40 you have no brain.” The observation of the legendary leader of Great Britain highlights the change that so often comes with age: idealism matures into practicality.
Kansans, as a whole, have never been thought of as a “liberal” people, at least as we apply the label politically. But the label “conservative” definitely changed with the elections of 2010 and 2012. Moderate Republican office holders who had always considered themselves “conservative” on fiscal and social matters suddenly were targeted by “true conservatives.”
Since then, Kansans have experienced the result of having “true conservatives” in charge. Tax collections missed projections in 11 months of the past year, resulting in serious budget deficits that led to cuts to our schools and universities, services and infrastructure.
Kansans responded with a very different outcome in 2016. In a recent visit with the Goessel school board, Rep. Don Schroeder, a moderate Republican himself, described the coming change: Kansans elected 45 new members of the House, which is comprised of 125 members; one-third of those 125 members will be Democrats, one-third moderates and one-third conservatives. Change has come to Topeka.
Kansas has a political legacy for progressive conservatism, an outlook that balances the rights of the individual with a responsibility to care for those of lesser fortune. We’re counting on that as the new Legislature begins. Perhaps brain and heart working together can find a better way for all of us. —DR