www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Roberts not the answer -10/30/2014, 10:25 AM

See the signs -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Incumbents always win -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Convention center -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Schodorf for SOS -10/30/2014, 10:14 AM

Supermarket shenanigans -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

Americans can fix the Senate -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

A plea to city commissioners -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Having no price tag -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Leiker understands -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Justice doing his job -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Kansas and Greg Orman -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

'Surplus' KDOT money needed in western KS -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Ready for a budget spin -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Dishonest mailing -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Changing Republicans -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Follow the votes -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Shameful attempts -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Slanderous ads repulsive -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Medicare experiment -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Profile, or die -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Important issues -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Politics at their finest -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Most important election -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Enough is enough -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Is Roberts on final lap? -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Democrat turned Brownback supporter -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Editor Bradlee; For it All, 'Thank You' -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Davis for governor -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Roberts a changed man -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Time to stay the course -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Embarrassing economists -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

Sherow for House -10/24/2014, 5:07 PM

It can't get crazier (wanna bet?) -10/24/2014, 9:04 AM

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

More ed cuts coming -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Leiker is the answer -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Sun shining on schools? -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Airline a great addition -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Huelksamp: ideologue extraordinaire -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Find another school -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Liberty, responsibility keys to Kansas' future

Published on -4/26/2012, 12:36 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Most Kansans are familiar with the iconic mural in the Statehouse east wing painted by Kansas artist John Steuart Curry. Curry depicts another Kansan, the abolitionist John Brown, his arms spread wide with a Bible and a rifle in his hands as he presides over the conflagration of the Civil War.

The scene is a constant visual reminder of the role Kansas played at the headwaters of our nation's painful struggle to define America's promise of freedom and equality for all. Our great state stands fiercely for the notion that no person should ever be subjected to mastery by another.

Less well-known is Curry's majestic mural in the Statehouse west wing. As Paul Harvey would say, it tells the rest of the story. It gives Kansas' answer to the unstated question, "Freedom, yes, but to what end?"

The west wing mural depicts a Kansas farmer and his wife standing straight and tall, surrounded by their children, surveying the fruits of their labor -- a barnyard full of livestock, a bountiful garden and grain gathered in the fields. In their bearing is the satisfaction of free people that is tempered with a quiet humility and gratefulness for all they have been given. In the distance, thunderclouds gather, perhaps as a testament to nature and to nature's God, which graciously gives life and yet may test our unity in times of trouble and scarcity.

These are the two stories of our state's founding. As Kansans, we hold dear the stories and images of liberty and self-determination on the one hand and responsibility and self-sufficiency on the other. Only as we continue to see our lives as rooted in both of these stories will our experiment in self-government endure over many generations.

The men and women who settled our great state, who bled for freedom and dirtied their boots and hands to provide for themselves and their families, understood this well. An 1881 editorial in the Abilene Chronicle summarized it with typical prairie efficiency: "A man with a family, with 160 acres of land in Dickinson County (with a contented mind and a will to work) is far better off than the Astors or Vanderbilts, or even President Garfield, as far as the real substantial enjoyment of life is concerned."

We no longer can afford to view our current economic crisis as something distinct and apart from the crisis of family and community decay. Increasing economic dependency on a deeply indebted government is not a viable long-term solution.

Likewise, economic opportunities in faraway places that entice our children to abandon the communities that nurtured them cannot be the answer.

Our economic prosperity depends on strong families and strong cultural institutions. Healthy families and communities require economic freedom. The best welfare program is a good job. The best child poverty prevention program is a stable, two-parent home. The best disaster recovery program is a community of resilient and caring neighbors and businesses. The best community revitalization happens when our towns and cities are free to create economic opportunities that stop exporting their best, brightest and hardest working elsewhere.

When I took office a little more than a year ago, my administration refocused state government on core functions, reduced state spending for the first time in a generation, buttressed the stability of our small towns and rural communities, and began to roll back the regulatory environment that too often smothers economic activity.

These changes are beginning to pay off. We have turned a $500 million state deficit into a $600 million dollar projected positive balance. Kansas entrepreneurs and workers have created more than 22,000 new private sector jobs. Human capital is returning to small towns and rural communities as economic opportunities increase.

Now the Legislature has the opportunity to enact significant tax reform and prevent another lost decade of economic decline. Empowered by a tax policy that is built on liberty and rewards hard work, we can accelerate economic growth, create well-paying jobs, increase family and community stability, and reduce the number of children living in poverty.

As Kansans, we have a rich heritage. Curry's Statehouse murals remind us that Kansans have always insisted on both equal liberty and opportunity for all people, and also on our responsibility, together, to care for our own needs and the needs of our families and communities without being overly dependent on the state. This is still the best course to chart for liberty and prosperity for ourselves, our children and their children to come.

Sam Brownback is governor of Kansas.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos