No place like Kansas? Umm… There are actually a lot of places like Kansas. . . .
Conservatives and Liberals, it’s time to take a seat
I’ve been back living in rural Kansas for the last 20-ish days having taken a 13+ year break from the sunflower state with a 3-year-stop in Chicago and decade-long stop in Colorado.
Many people, mostly people not from here (and several from my exact small town) can’t seem to fathom what has gotten into me. It seems strange, absurd, crazy to move back to an area that, to put bluntly, is dying from the inside out. A place that to an outsider, is staunchly and stubbornly conservative with no hope for redemption of any kind –spiritual, economical, physical, mental, etc.
But, I’ve always been down for a challenge. I only gamble on a sure-thing. I play to win. (You get the gist.)
I wouldn’t have moved back here if I thought it was completely hopeless.
Every time I’ve come back to visit I’ve driven through these small towns and I’ve thought, ‘Wow, what the fuck happened here?’ Downtowns deteriorating, plywood up over historic building windows, movie theaters no longer showing, restaurants no longer serving, even the bars are washed up dry in many places.
If they’re not dead, they’re dying.
I’ve often asked myself, can rural America be resuscitated?
Most economists say no.
But when have Kansans’ ever gave a fuck about what economists think?
What I’ve always loved about the people from this state is that we’re all a bunch of weirdos. We’re free-thinkers. We’re rebellious. We’re strong as fuck.
The people here have always been innovative, they’ve always been able to DIY EVERYTHING, they’ve been tough and wild and funnier than anyone really anywhere outside of here. Not only that, but they’ve been fucking kind as fuck. I mean, real thoughtful folk that will give you the shirt off their back if you ask.
Here we are.
All of us here, fucked.
Tell me you’re not.
Come on. Prove to me that everything around here is going real swell.
I’m not here to go into some sort of political rant that continues the polarization of our community. That’s useless.
I want to know if the people here can get back to those traits that are so rooted in our blood? And can these traits of strength, DIY, rebellion etc. be used to their fullest potential for positive change?
I do not care about your morality.
I care about your reality.
What is your reality?
Fuck democrat. Fuck republican.
Liberal, conservative, something in between, or outside of that– your morality could in fact be in direct conflict with your reality.
Put that bullshit aside. Take a minute and reflect on what your issues truly are.
I’m only through part one of What’s the Matter with Kansas? And though the book is like 16-years-old, not much has changed, mostly if anything, it has just gotten worse. The most vital take-away thus far is to REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU COME FROM.
Take Populism as an example.
- People v. The Elite
- Marginalized groups v. dominant power structures
- 99% v. 1%
- Poor v. Rich
This section of the book stuck out to me:
“This is not far from how the Populists saw their movement: as a sort of revelation, a moment when an entire generation of “Kansas fools” figured out that they’d been lied to all their lives. Whether it was Republicans or Democrats in charge, they believed, mainstream politics were a ‘sham battle’ distracting the nation from its real problem– corporate capitalism.”
Could it be that the main issues people are facing here are financial in nature? Or is everyone who lives in Kansas secretly into being financially dominated* and role-playing as pay pigs to the government and corporations and anyone else who asks for money and I just missed the memo?
Are we really going to sit around and play the part of the masochist in this brutal BDSM scene?
Just because we can handle the pain doesn’t mean we have to take it.
It’s time to change the rules of the game. It’s time to own our strengths, our weirdness, our rebellious nature. If no one else is going to do it right, it’s time we DIY.
I’m ready to work on the actual problems, the reality of the situation we are all facing. I’d love to hear your stories, your opinions, what your action-plans / thoughts are for improvement / empowerment / resuscitation are. Or, if you think I’m wrong, bring it on. I’m open to dialogue. I’m also okay with being wrong, if that means more things are right than I realized.
More to come soon on:
- How political polarization has infiltrated our daily capitalistic purchases
- Fucked up yet badass Kansas historical leaders and what they can teach us
- The best of the best crowd commentary + clapbacks
*Financial domination is a fetish in the kink community based on power exchange where people (mostly men) enjoy having other people (mostly women) take their money (large sums of money) from them. If you are one of these people send me all of your money, I deserve it more than you. I’m at least going to do something useful with it. AKA change the world.
Here’s the link if you too want to read What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America