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View Diary: Alone in Kansas (173 comments)

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  •  It's the money, not the medium (13+ / 0-)

    This shift to the new south is a fairly recent thing.  Some of it is due to radio, but don't fool yourself that people on farms don't have access to the internet or television. That's just playing into a stereotype of rednecks and snake-handling; Kansans aren't particularly uneducated, dirt-poor, or (intentionally) racist. I've heard a lot more unabashedly racist talk here in Chicago than I did in Kansas.

    The biggest impetus for the increasing conservatism is Koch brothers money. They have funded propaganda on a huge scale with donations to church groups (irony), running long-term media campaigns, and supporting wingnut candidates, giving them the bankroll to spread their message both during campaigns and after their victory.  They've also used their status as one of Wichita's largest employers to take that city much farther to the right by sending out political screeds to their employees.  Even people who don't work for the Koch brothers seem to have some respect and pride in hosting part of a huge successful multinational business. The companies have gained a large portion of that local pride mindshare thanks to the decline of the union jobs due to slowdowns at Boeing, Cessna, Raytheon, etc.

    My dad has become far more conservative over time, even as he's been taking the brunt of an economic downturn caused by the policies he votes for. My in-laws are pretty much just ignorant about politics (by choice) -- I think a large part of that is some sort of apocalyptic fear of the other. They were freaked out by people speaking "different languages" at a Sam's club when they visted Chicago (two hispanic women discussing which laundry detergent was the better buy and some generic eastern europeans in track suits).

    All of their talking points are canned ignorance straight from Kochpac. They get copies of Discovery (Koch bros news) delivered, without asking. And it's only increased since Citizens United.

    Anyway, my point is that it's wrong to write Kansas off as some ignorant hicks who don't have a clue.  They are mostly just victims of economic blackmail and virtually unopposed media saturation. The solution is regulation (hard, unconstitutional) or countermoney (easier, but no one is motivated).

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