One has to wonder sometimes if the editors at the Washington Post actually read what they are publishing, and if they do read it, do they understand how crude are the stereotypes in which they routinely indulge?
Kansas has been the left’s favorite whipping boy since Thomas Frank indulged his self-loathing in the bizarre bestseller What’s the Matter With Kansas.
Taking a fresh new whack at the Kansas pinata this week is one Davis Hammet who wrote his piece with the encouragement of Post editors. As a “22-year-old queer,” Hammet moved to the state in 2013 not knowing “much about Kansas except that it’s in the middle of America and famous bigots live there.”
According to Hammet, he “arrived to a state in crisis.” Like so many on the left, he speaks only in hyperbole. From his perspective, Kansas is a right wing freak show, a Midwestern hellhole, whose essential imagery would have better captured by Hieronymus Bosch than by Thomas Hart Benton.
Says Hammett, “A radical economic experiment had cut income taxes dramatically and eliminated taxes on hundreds of thousands of businesses.” He laments, “Rather than boost the economy, this devastated it.”
Unrepentant, In 2014 Kansas elected the “most one-sided government in Kansas history.” Kris Kobach was busily suppressing votes, Brownback was making “it legal to fire and harass LGBTQ state workers,” the Kansas government was using “prejudice and scapegoats to distract from the headlines,” legislators were demanding that illegal aliens should be “shot like swine” and were claiming that “welfare recipients were going on luxury cruises.”
To be fair, Hammet sees some good in the state. The headline of his piece is “How I fell in love with Kansas —and spent the next five years trying to change it.” You see, the people in Kansas–translated, the liberals in Kansas–were not as “backwards” as their politicians. To prod the state leftward, Hammet shifted from gay rights to voter registration and helped enroll thousands of new voters.
His work paid off. The 3rd District elected a lesbian to Congress, and two LGBTQ’s were elected to the state legislator. Stiil, this is Kansas. “They will go to work in a chamber,” Hammet imagines, “that has spent close to a decade blaming people like them for every ailment under the sun.”
Judging from Hammet’s piece, the Washington Post has abandoned journalism for paranoia, self-congratulatory paranoia at that. “Every drop of decency is fought for,” Hammet boasts. “We pushed a boulder slightly up the hill.”
Here’s hoping it rolls back.