A contemporary example of something that’s happened first in Kansas would be the full implementation of the Arthur Laffer Trickle Down economic theory that many believe has never worked and never will.
So what would William Allen White say today?
Well, for the benefit of the entire country, Kansas is clearly demonstrating it doesn’t work and it is to the point that other states have already taken notice and are taking steps to avoid the financial mess we’re experiencing.
Despite Kansas having a long, bipartisan history of properly supporting public schools and building and taking care of our infrastructure, we got sucked into the Laffer theory. Turning this ship around will not be easy and the longer we wait, the harder it will be and the more damage will have been inflicted. Key will be how long it will take for voters to be willing to vote incumbents—not all, just those who supported this change—out of office. And that will depend upon voters feeling the pain and turning it into action by speaking up and turning out the vote for candidates willing to help lead us back to sanity.
But let’s be perfectly clear, electing candidates for a return to sanity will not be easy. There are powerful forces with lots of money in support of those who have gotten us into this mess. In addition, a very aggressive State Chamber of Commerce will have no reluctance to use any tactics that will bring their desired results. That is why our candidates for sanity will need all of our help.
I will have more to say on how we can build and strengthen this coalition in future blog posts, but perhaps the next thing to “happen first in Kansas” will be the birth of a better politics focused on compromise and unity among a broad, sane middle who stand together to support what’s in the best interest of the state.
In 2016, I shared this blog post about the next story to "happen first in Kansas." I wrote about the birth of a new politics based on sanity, civility, and the ability to compromise for the best interests of the people. As a result of the 2016 elections and the engagement of citizens statewide, Kansas may indeed be writing that new story as we speak. This time, we have the opportunity to build a model for the rest of the country, as we work to raise critical thinking and engagement around the recent actions coming from the White House. According to the designers of the "Kansas experiment," they're looking forward to the implementation of this playbook in Washington, D.C. So, as we celebrate our founding as the 34th state, let us continue to build on this "Kansas model" of both activism and civility, which can help lead change for the benefit of all 50 states. Then we can truly say, "it happened first in Kansas."