Archive for Monday, October 22, 2001

Kansas clunkers

October 22, 2001

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We complain about our state's image but look what people do to besmirch it.

The state of Kansas has had more than its share of silly incidents to tarnish its image, and we can only hope things are going to get better.

There was, of course, the ridiculous bit about the state school board vote to rule out the combined teaching of creationism and evolution in classes. At least for now, that foolish approach has been blunted, though some still see it simmering in embarrassing fashion.

Then along comes the state legislator, a woman, who declares that females should not have been allowed to vote and that our society has been hurt by the fact they don't all stay home and tend families. A recall effort is under way, but the damage has been done. The woman's term in office may be ended before she is ousted, if indeed that happens in a district that elected her in the first place.

Now there's a new bit of faulty thinking that had to be rectified in Russell. The Russell school board has decided to allow memorials to students to be reinstated, sort of. The past summer, the board voted to remove all memorials from the district's schools, saying they glorified death and could encourage suicide. After several people objected, a committee recommended individual plaques displayed together inside a frame.

How totally outlandish is such an approach? Consider the countless young people who did good things, died early and deserve proper recognition.

Time and again the state has become a laughing stock because of almost-fictional behavior. Like the time our attorney general, Vern Miller, took an airliner from Kansas City to Denver, waited until drinks were served while the plane was over Kansas airspace, then prosecuted because this constituted an open bar which was illegal in Kansas. He also hid in a vehicle trunk and popped out like some misguided genie for a drug raid.

It's tough enough to beat down attitudes about our alleged Wizard of Oz background and our tornado record. Why keep giving outsiders new ammunition to deride us?

Many Kansans complain about the state's image throughout the world. But as long as silly things like the aforementioned keep occurring, we need to believe what comic strip icon Pogo once declared: "We have met the enemy, and they is us."

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