Partisanship has no place in government

The countdown to the November 2020 election has begun. Candidates for local, state and national positions in government have been hard at work soliciting your vote. Some of these candidates have a clear agenda from which the voter can see. Other candidates have questionable agendas and their own reasons why they are running.

With this in mind, here is a quick test to see if the reader can figure out who the candidate is who includes the following bullet points in their campaign material, and whether the individual is qualified to represent the voter. In the U.S. Senate, candidate X will:

  • Retain Kansas farmer’s voice on the Senate Agriculture Committee;
  • Increase funding for agricultural research in Kansas;
  • Promote continuity of farm bill programs;
  • Support international trade deals that benefit Kansas producers;
  • Support rural Kansans’ unique way of life;
  • Support investments in expanding high-speed broadband access;
  • Work to provide affordable housing and childcare options to families;
  • Ensure the U.S. Postal Service continues to serve rural communities;
  • Protect Social Security from cuts;
  • Help lower prescription drug prices for seniors by working to allow the federal government to negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical companies;
  • Protect Medicare and ensure it is fully funded into the future.

Give up? In the interest of full disclosure, the above policies were gleaned from a prominent Democrat Party candidate. It is pretty harmless, don’t you think? Who doesn’t support agriculture and rural development? Who doesn’t support retaining Social Security and Medicare, not to mention lower prescription drug costs? Who doesn’t support international trade deals which benefit our region? Who doesn’t support agricultural research in Kansas?

If your choice was any of the five GOP candidates for replacing retiring Senator Pat Roberts, it would be incorrect. None—I repeat—none even are focusing on these critical issues at this moment, on the campaign trail.

The candidates in question are, Congressman Roger Marshall, candidate Kris Kobach, Kansas Senate President, Susan Wagle, candidates Bob Hamilton and Dave Lindstrom.

In an empty Manhattan, Kansas ballroom–thanks to COVID-19 concerns–all five GOP candidates assembled on the 23rd of May to debate farm issues; that was the intent, anyway. Reporter for the Capital Journal, Tim Carpenter writes, “the underlying competition among the five candidates at the livestreamed debate….was supremacy in their praise for President Donald Trump. And when compelled by the moderator, they talked about agriculture.”

Not that they accept and believe in some of those important rural policy platforms, but their other priorities are of greater importance, as this debate has shown, and in my opinion, disqualifies each and every one of them for the coveted Senate seat— which has been held, for the most part, by a dedicated individual whose loyalty to the voters within the district is unquestionable.

No wonder outgoing Senator Roberts was described as a “gutless wonder who never takes a stand….who lacked fire in the belly to take on radical Democrats.” Words used by Mr. Kobach in the battle for the right to take Roberts’ seat.

Sadly, this debate resembles that of a group of pigs who turn on one of their own and attack it until it is either severely wounded or dead.

All of agriculture can thank Mr. Roberts for his dedicated focus to secure a workable farm bill, even while his Republican counterparts in the House were working to undermine his efforts in achieving a bipartisan agreement. Roberts certainly had the right stuff, the fire in his belly, the guts to get the job done.

While contenders for the Senate seat fight each other over who can be the most partisan, most combative in defeating Democrats and their so-called socialist agenda, Mr. Roberts was doing his job ensuring his constituents were served up with fair and workable solutions for agriculture and other folks within his district. He held the bipartisan coalition together, along with Democratic party Senator Debbie Stabenow, and preserved the main ingredients of a workable bill.

If any of the five Republican candidates gets the nod, that will all change, from constituent loyalty to unwavering loyalty to the current president in the White House. From a workable farm bill and nutrition program to no program at all.

Just by their testimony, none of the GOP candidates fully understand nor respect the roles of the three equal branches of governance and the checks and balances provided within the Constitution of this United States. They cannot even begin to take the oath of office and swear to uphold the laws which govern us. They appear intent on violating this oath from the first day in office if elected.

Partisanship has no place within our republic form of governance. We may disagree on methods or how we manage our affairs. We cannot, however, raise the level of disagreement to where democratic compromise and governance is impossible.

None of these five candidates deserves my vote, nor do they deserve yours.

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