Nothing to fear but everything

By Rod Haxton, editor

Never have the decisions facing voters been tougher.

Do you vote in the general election and risk getting Ebola which is lurking in every voting booth?

Or do you stay at home and allow illegal immigrants to cast fraudulent ballots which will ultimately put some left-wing radical into office?

It’s a tough call knowing that if you don’t vote it means we can’t get rid of activist judges, we probably won’t be cutting taxes, we’ll be stuck with Obamacare, we may not be able to exercise our Second Amendment right to carry an AK-47 into the local McDonald’s and some gay couple living down the street will be able to get married and God only knows what influence that will have on our children.

Which is all the more reason we need to vote . . . but then there’s still that Ebola thing.

In today’s political climate, it’s apparent that FDR had no idea what he was talking about. It’s not just fear itself that we need to fear, but everything around us. And we can’t thank the Republican party enough for making that clear.

Sen. Pat Roberts has finally dropped his “fear the Black Death” campaign in favor of telling voters to fear the Obama agenda.

What could be more frightening than giving millions of people better access to health care? Or could it be that an organic garden on the White House grounds is a threat to national security?

And we can certainly understand the fear that comes with providing citizenship to millions of immigrants who already live here, pay taxes, go to our schools and work in our feedlots.

Still not scared stiff? Then you need to join the ultra-conservative Republicans who also fear science, medicine and history as it actually happened.

Other than tax cuts, is there anything that Republican lawmakers don’t fear?

Republican leaders in Washington, D.C., Topeka and across the country are the victims of their own fear - that they will be forced to confront their own bigotry. The famous Kansas newspaper editor William Allen White was fearful of the Ku Klux Klan’s influence in Kansas during the 1920s and made it an issue during his failed gubernatorial campaign in 1924.

The KKK disappeared, though it would seem not entirely.

When President Obama was elected in 2007, many in this nation were under the illusion that it signalled an end to racism - that we had finally taken the final step to truly being a nation of one people.

We are reminded of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert who often jokes of his own colorblindness. He frequently remarks that, “I don’t see color. I don’t see myself as white. People tell me I’m white, and I believe them because . . . .”

Colbert may not see color but, unfortunately, we still live in a nation and a state that does. Tea Party politics is rooted in racism and Tea Party candidates are beholden to that ideology.

Voter suppression laws hit hardest among black people and Hispanics - as they are designed to do. These are people who are least likely to vote for Republicans and that is something we must fear in Kansas (thanks to Secretary of State Kris Kobach) and elsewhere.

In some states, the additional fees required for these individuals to acquire the proper identification so they can vote has been equated with a poll tax, as was recently ruled by a judge in Texas. Poll taxes date back to the Jim Crow era of black voter suppression in the South.


Now you can add the 21st century - and democracy - to the growing list of Republican fears. If we could only return to the good ol’ days of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s when elections were more tightly controlled and minorities knew their place - which wasn’t at the polls.

Which leads us to the Republicans’ biggest fear of all . . . ideas. It’s obvious that this is a huge fear of conservative Republicans because they don’t have any.

We can’t escape the fact that health care costs have been rising at an unsustainable pace. Health insurance has become unaffordable for tens of millions of Americans. Obamacare isn’t the entire solution, but it’s a start.

So what is the Republican alternative? According to Congressman Tim Huelskamp, people need to use the hospital emergency room.

That’s a plan? After six years and some 50 anti-Obamacare votes later, that’s the best Republicans can offer?

Likewise, trickle-down economics isn’t a new idea. It’s been around for decades and it’s failed at every opportunity. Yet, Republicans in Kansas and elsewhere trot out the concept like it’s something we’ve never seen before and this time, by some stroke of magic, it will suddenly work.

Reagan-style tax cuts are draining the Kansas treasury, local units of government are raising property taxes to offset lost revenue and the state faces the very real possibility of robbing money from transportation and education funds in order to pay their bills.

If you want to be fearful of something, that’s a good place to start.

What do Republican policies offer in the way of making health care more affordable, to improve education funding or to make sure that our infrastructure is maintained?

Exactly what is their vision for the future?

Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Roberts and Congressman Huelskamp can’t tell you because they have one plan and one plan only . . . to make us fearful of everything, including fear itself.

FDR had no idea what he was talking about.

Rod Haxton can be reached at

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