Governor Sam, the Values Man

The ads on TV are continuous now as election time nears.   Governor Sam Brownback’s favorite, it appears,  is one where a group of people are gathered around him on lawn chairs in the back yard..   The men  are all wearing their best blue jeans and brand new cowboy straw hats and the women don’t look like they’ve ever set foot on a farm.  Sam is telling them that he grew up on a farm in eastern Kansas and that his parents still operate it and from time to time he visits—but his dad still won’t let him operate a combine or plant (much laughter here).    But—he continues—the important things he learned from his parents in growing up on that family farm are his values and his character…..

I think perhaps, Sam, you need to go home more often and ask for a refresher course in these two areas of values and character..   Obviously you either weren’t listening, are a slow learner, or are forgetful.   You just don’t seem to be operating on any values except “winning at all costs” and “maintaining your power at all costs.    I hope when you take that refresher course that you will ask Mom and Pop Brownback to emphasize some of the Biblical values especially.   For example:

The value of not bearing false witness against your neighbor—also known as truthfulness and honesty.    Look at the half-truths and the outright lies in your political ads about the state of the Kansas economy as well as your political mudslinging toward your opponent.

The value of compassion for the vulnerable, the poor, the sick and children..  This compassion was what Jesus, whom you profess to follow, demonstrated time after time during his ministry.   I see it in very few of your actions as governor the last four years.   You have refused to extend Medicaid coverage for a large number of Kansans who can’t afford health insurance but don’t now qualify for Medicaid, including lots of children.  Should they not  have health coverage?   No, you said in spite of overwhelming recommendations by Kansas doctors and hospitals that you do so.   Why?  Because that might cause problems with your political supporters who hate Obamacare for some reason and will stop backing you if you do so?     I don’t find any compassion at all here.   Even Republican governors in other states have expanded Medicaid out of concern for the poor in their state who did not have medical coverage.   You made  cuts in social programs and education in Kansas  so that the rich can get even richer through the abolition of the state income tax on “small business.” The resulting downturn of income for the state has caused and will cause further cuts in the programs for the poor and the sick and the mentally challenged, and for schools.    Where is your compassion?  —-how unlike the compassion that Jesus portrayed this all is!!

Are winning at all costs, even by shading the truth, and the character assassination of your political adversaries  the values that you learned at your parents’ knee?   I hope not.

How does misrepresenting the true facts of what is happening in Kansas  and saying “The sun is shining on Kansas and don’t let anyone tell you different” represent your values that you learned at your parents knee? Independent analysts, economic experts, all warn that Kansas is in trouble financially even if we do not spend more because of the tax cuts and resultant decreasing income for the state.  Two very reputable credit agencies downgraded Kansas’ credit rating this year because their economists warned of the financial trouble.   Does this sound like sunshine?   Are you being honest with Kansas about the sunshine or are you only saying it to get re-elected. Do you value honesty or a power?   When the two are in conflict, power seems to win.

How does making the rich more rich through your policies and the  laws you have signed, then blaming the poor for being poor because they won’t work fit into your value system?  How are the poor to find jobs if they are living on the street?   The jobs that are available are mostly ones that do not pay a living wage—-often below the minimum wage.   How are they to lift themselves out of poverty.   What did Jesus ever do that advocated blaming the poor for being poor? 

How about attacking the character of your opponent in the election and lying about his motives?    Where did you learn that particular value?    Even the ancient Greeks had a name for this— Argumentum ad Hominem”—and it described a spurious argument that attacks the person when you are not able to attack the person’s ideas.

Winning at any costs, the end justifies the means, is not a value that Jesus taught or practiced.    In fact Jesus said “the last shall be first and the first shall be last“.   He also said:   “he who is the master shall be the servant of all.”  Greed and power never were a part of the values that Jesus taught.  These two values ((greed and power) seem to dominate your value system and the actions that spring from it.  

Character is the result of our values.   And our values need to be weighed against the moral standard of the Great Commandment:   “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength—-and love your neighbor as you love yourself.   How do your values measure up to this Great Commandment, Sam?    I’m sure you love God and that you love yourself, it’s the love of neighbor that gives me a problem.    I think your neighbor is not considered to be the robbed and beaten and dying man on the side of the road who the Good Samaritan gave aid to.  That’s how Jesus defined who our neighbors were   I think your neighbors are  limited to your political allies and those who contribute vast sums of money to your political campaigns.  Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t believe most of your words!

Come on, Sam—-you really need that refresher course!!




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