Once upon a time, all Americans busted sod, even in Ohio where I was reared. Because my stepmother told me that comparisons are odious, I’m not going to put either of my states down, but there are useful comparisons and contrasts when it comes to selecting a model. Brownback loves Texas and I will get to that awe-inspiring state in a minute.
First, there’s Ohio: history of agriculture and industry, especially heavy machinery and automobiles — commerce connected with big coal, big steel in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan — Rust Belt state suffered great job and population loss — benefits from river and lake commerce — labor-management strife — ethnically diverse —excellent location — drive-through Ohio on the way to somewhere else — Ohioans are roamers and love Florida — emerging from fly over status — professional athletics in big stadiums — Go Bucks! — beautiful scenery — good urban rural mix — nice place to live, not flashy — never been a hot spot — comfortable, temperate climate — bellwether microcosm — liberal-conservative balance — dense population — three dominating cities — income tax. Has its challenges and discontents.
Next, there’s Kansas — big time agriculture — fly over image — never been a hot spot — Go Jayhawks and Wildcats! — nice place to live and work, but not flashy — sunflower summers — sunsets and skies to die for — moderate winters and windy — sparse population — rural and suburban mix —. big time FRIENDLY state — Republican bias — no dominating city — Tall Grass prairie — culturally dependent on Kansas City(Missouri) excellent schools — fiercely independent — Income tax. Has its challenges and discontents but nice place.
Both Ohio and Kansas like most states have “best kept secrets” and undervalued assets, i.e. know us to love us. Flat Kansas resembles flat Texas without Dallas, Houston and the Gulf of Mexico. Varied Ohio resembles varied New York without New York City. In Kansas many love to hate Texas. Many Ohioans love to hate Michigan. Most likely both Buckeyes and Wolverines are content with their likes and dislikes and don’t care who hates them. Texas will never be California and Ohio will never be New York and Kansas will never be Texas, so maybe work on national, mutual admiration should be a goal? Let us not covet what each other has and, much lament what each other does not have.
I know little about Ohio’s governor. I assume all Americans get what they vote for. In Kansas some got what they voted for. Most voted for a politician who wants Kansas to be like Texas, especially income tax free. I suspect that Gov. Brownback would be happy to see Overland Park -Wichita become Dallas-Ft. Worth. Such an expectation is not unrealistic for this man. I believe Gov. Brownback covets Texas. I believe that is a problem. I tend to covet John Steinbeck and that is a problem. Over expectations can be debilitating and belittling of what assets one has.
Before Brownback dreamed about being more like Texas and hallucinated about ending Kansas income tax overnight, Kansas had its problems, particularly funding education and job growth — just like every other state. Ohio had a near constitutional crisis over its schools and job loss has plagued the entire Rust Belt. Too many folks moved south and southwest. No news there.
Unless Brownback has a way to move beautiful mountains, an ocean, Silicone Valley and the Las Vegas Strip to Kansas, I think it’s time for him to make peace and settle for just a better home on the range or a bluff overlooking the Ohio River. Be a happy Midwesterner, Sam, or move to Texas. We are what we are, also what we can become.. .
By all means, Governor, work a lean, mean, progressive budget. Work hard to provide for the poor and the elderly. Make a generous state and they will come. Keep our education among the best. But let’s do it our way, huh? Bust one sod at a time, chop it down, rake it fine, water and fertilize it. Bless the seasons. Ad Astra per Aspera. You want the Presidency, but many of us, if any, do not.