The American people of Kansas show a little light at the end of the tunnel

Aug 4th, 2022 | By | Category: In Brief
“There’s No Scientific Proof” by Michael Seward, August 2022.

NORTH AMERICAN NOTEBOOK. RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO, 4 AUGUST 2022. It would no doubt be wrong to express too much joy about “‘No’ prevails: Kansas votes to protect abortion rights in state constitution.” This supposedly “red state” support for the progressive option may not finally have real impact on the crucial November 8 midterm elections in the USA.

At the same time, Katharina Buchholz’s related August 3 piece “Post-Roe v. Wade: The State of U.S. Abortion Laws” does raise some vague prospect of a progressive electoral geography beyond the (largely north) Atlantic and Pacific coasts, with a mid west burp in Illinois and (possibly) Minnesota.

Kansas, that is to say — the old Bleeding Kansas which finally entered the Union as a free state, some two and a half months before the start of the Civil War in 1861 — is not the only 21st century American state that may be somewhat more progressive (and even ready to vote more Democratic) than currently thought by all too many observers (including the person writing here).

The blue colours on Ms Buchholz’s map, for instance, are awarded to states where “Abortion rights protected/not expected to ban” under current law, regardless of the recent extreme conservative Supreme Court decision on Roe v Wade. And along with the usual bi-coastal suspects (and Illinois etc — and Kansas of course), they include New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska (remember the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854?), and Montana (and the Illinois companions Iowa and Minnesota, along with the new south in Virginia and North Carolina).

Put another way, New York (the old most populous “Empire” state) and California (the new most populous “state of what’s next”) are not the only centres of authentic American civilization and good sense nowadays (and again even with an honourable mention for Illinois and Barack Obama’s second hometown of Chicago).

Meanwhile, there are summer nights north of the Great Lakes. Grace Lake Photo by Jesse Milns, late July 2022.

Similarly, the harsh picture of the USA today divided into two into two increasingly hostile, partisan, and polarized Red State Conservative and Blue State Liberal camps looks a little less convincing, and distressing, than it did before the American people of Kansas voted 59% to 41% to protect abortion rights in the state constitution.

There of course also remain far too many dangerous political currents running through the waters of democracy in America today. And this week’s wave of primaries have brought bad as well as good news.

(As the eminent Ron Brownstein has just tweeted : “The entire top of the ticket for Republicans in MI & AZ, two key swing states, are now election deniers who reject Biden’s 2020 victory in their own state & want to tilt future state policies on voting/counting to make it less likely a D could ever win again. It’s Trump’s party.”)

Still, the American people of Kansas have shown a little light at the end of the tunnel. And on another related front Yahoo News has just tweeted : “Sen. Kyrsten Sinema agrees to ‘move forward’ on Inflation Reduction Act, giving Senate Democrats final hold-out vote.”

Whatever else, democracy in America is far from dead yet. There may even be rising signs that it really does want to live and grow stronger …

… regardless of the Donald Trump who wouldn’t know the truth if it suddenly appeared right next to him on the couch, watching TV, and his followers who fear the future more than they love the unjust past.

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