Ah Kansas, the high plains state ripe with golden wheat, soybean, and sweet corn. Flat as a flapjack with meandering rivers and streams, this former Sioux Nation stronghold is currently dominated by Republicans.
It was a sunny morning with an azure sky when I blew into the Southwestern part of the state and landed in the town of Liberal – a place named not for political leanings, but for a friendly settler who was “liberal” with sharing the much needed fresh well water.
I searched through the Wizard of Oz museum, visited Dorothy’s farm house, and traversed the Yellow Brick Road motorist attractions (funding for the road was raised by the actors who portrayed the Munchkins) and found only shiny, fresh scrubbed Republicans. In fact, in this quirky town of 20,350, I could not find a single actual social liberal. But I did find Edwin Grieves having breakfast at the Pancake Alley, and he schooled me on the economics of our country over eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast.
Grieves, 71, is a geologist and business owner who sets wells in the area. A fiscal conservative with a soft spot for the hard-working illegals in the oil and gas business, he is for the wall but would like to see an “amnesty” on a probationary basis for those who are good citizens. “I just wish they would legally migrate and spend their earnings in our community instead of sending it home to Mexico.”
Grieves had opinions about President Trump, the Swamp, and politics in general, and I spent an hour furiously taking notes on every topic under the sun. He believes in comparing the financial statements of incoming members of Congress with their lifestyle (look out Maxine Waters!), and that imposing term limits would rectify that issue:
Politicians are just in it these days for the glory, and potential to make money. They don’t have the slightest idea of how to create jobs in the private sector. They only know how to cash the checks that American’s are forced to write. I don’t love Trump, the man, but I sure like what he is trying to do for our country.
And about gridlock in the Swamp, well, he had a thought on that as well. “Give them a time frame to repeal and replace, to do the people’s work and move this country forward. For every deadline missed, fine them and remove their benefits.”
As I headed towards Wichita, the local FM radio stations played tributes to Glen Campbell, who passed earlier that day, and the songster was gentle on my mind as the power poles went past in a blur on the open road. Trump flags and banners still waved in the wind in the middle of nowhere, and while stopping for coffee at a two-pump gas station, I saw a weathered old man reading the Bible and making meticulous notes on a steno pad. As he closed the Good Book, I noticed a MAGA sticker planted firmly on the cover. He nodded a friendly greeting and added a “God Bless” as I left. This heartland state is Trump territory; the citizens are behind him and believe in his mission of America first.
I stopped in Kansas City, Emporia, and at a dozen little roadside businesses from the southwestern to the northeastern parts of the state, only to find like-minded people rooting for this administration to succeed – except one millennial that overheard one of many conversations and gestured his dislike by waving with only one finger.
The people of Kansas are cautiously optimistic that Washington is headed for a new awakening with a new leader, yet frustrated with the distractions of special investigations and the internal game playing of the Democrats. Not surprising, Kansans are disappointed in the Republicans they have sent to Washington and see their actions akin to treason against voters. Like most Americans, they need a hero. As my Pancake Alley pal, Edwin Grieves would say: “someone needs to step up and become Monty Hall, and dammit people, Let’s Make a Deal already.” I think I love Kansas.
Stay tuned to Liberty Nation as Sarah takes us to another part of fly over country with some surprising interviews in part four of her series on “Voices From the Heartland.”