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A vote for
staying informed

Before college athletics became the equivalent of the mergers and acquisitions pit of a stock exchange’s trading floor, fans of particular teams faced a dilemma.

Who should a good KU basketball fan — and all of them are, of course, good — root for when hated rivals K-State and Mizzou play each other? Would it be too much to cheer for a scoreless tie?

Politics unfortunately have become a bit like that, with most of us inclined to choose a candidate whose name might as well be Lesser of Two Evils.

A bunch of people doubtlessly loved one or more of our nation’s four most recent presidential candidates, but can anyone truly doubt that, overall, Donald Trump ever would have been elected had he not been running against Hillary Rodham Clinton or that Joe Biden ever would have been elected had he not been running against Donald Trump?

Too often, it seems, all of us cast votes not “for” someone but rather “against” someone else. Political ads, especially those from one of this year’s attorney general candidates attacking another year, prey on that tendency.

This year, it seems, anti-Barker is running against anti-Hill for state representative in the northern half of Marion County. Some people doubtlessly love every position either of the candidates has taken, but greater numbers probably shudder over at least a few of them.

We’re trying something different with this year’s political coverage in the Record. Instead of sponsoring a debate, which rarely brings out more than stump-speech slogans about hot-button topics, or profiles that make you wonder whether you’re considering electing a person or dating him or her, we’ve tried to find out what separates the two men.

Our coverage is imponderably long but we hope useful as voters begin deciding which of these two intelligent, articulate, and caring people will represent us for the next two years.

Although their stances on hot-button issues are largely identical, they represent radically different approaches. He’s not much of a drinker, but you probably would prefer to have a beer with Scott Hill, who can be the more glib of the two — unless, of course, you wanted the inside information on something, in which case John Barker would be the better plus-one.

Hill will make more headlines, much in the manner of Sen. Roger Marshall, while Barker is likely to produce more actual laws, much in the manner of Sen. Jerry Moran.

If you care about the issues of the local Patriots for Liberty group, you’ll probably vote for Hill. If you care about the issues local politicians might raise once either of the two candidates is elected, you’ll probably vote for Barker.

Still, it seems to some of us like having to choose between K-State and Mizzou when what we really want is KU.

It’s kind of like the Value Them Both amendment that both support. Why couldn’t it have been written to say precisely what we are voting for — a total ban, one that allows early-term abortion, one that allows exceptions in certain cases, etc.? Does the entire political system distrust voters so much that it doesn’t want to give us actual choices, just the appearance of choices?

The county’s recent use of a loophole to enter into debt without a vote of the people is about to be duplicated by the City of Marion. Government so distrusts voters that it wants to force one or more of them to go to the considerable time and expense necessary to petition to have an election rather than simply putting the issue before us at the polls.

The degree of entitlement that various stakeholders in the political system feel is part of the reason why so many people simply close their eyes and let radical fringes and deep-state bureaucrats run everything for their own sometimes nefarious reasons.

It even happens in education, when parents insist that they alone have the right to determine what their kids are taught. They do, indeed, have that right. They can send their kids wherever they want — even keep them at home. But then these same people come back and expect the vast majority of taxpayers, who don’t have kids in school, to pick up the tab for their choices. If someone else is paying for the meal, you rarely get to pick the menu.

So that leaves us with our very long rendition of where 70th District candidates differ on issues. Vote how your neighbor does or how your pastor or club tells you to if you want. But don’t complain afterward, as many in recent City of Marion elections have, that you didn’t get what you wanted.

And consider that, next time around, if you want more choices on the ballot, it’s easy to file for office and become involved in campaigns that you actually can believe in.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified July 21, 2022

 

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