Our country is suffering through a profound lack of leadership.
The past week provides ample examples on the federal level, with sobering repercussions for Kansas. It’s time for everyone with good faith, good intentions and a positive vision for the future of our country to stand up and speak out. If not, much may be lost.
The first example, of course, is President Trump’s string of racist tweets directed at four Democratic congresswomen. We wrote about the topic last week, but the sheer vulgar hatred motivating the tweets — and motivated by them — deserves additional opprobrium.
The second example, however, comes from the reaction of Kansas’ Republican delegation to Washington, D.C. When reporters called on Monday, they were silent. Only U.S. Sen Jerry Moran, during a stop in Louisburg, said the president’s comments were “inappropriate.”
When the House voted to condemn the remarks, Kansas’ GOP representatives were likewise silent, voting with most of their caucus against the move. And former secretary of state Kris Kobach, when questioned by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, couldn’t say if he would support an avowedly racist president.
We can’t accept this.
It doesn’t matter if your political opponents are calling for centralizing the means of production or tax cuts for the top 1 percent -- using racist language against them, questioning their very place in their home country, cannot be defended. Kansans know that, and the rest of our D.C. delegation missed an important opportunity to stand up for what they know is right.
But this lack of leadership isn’t just seen on the Republican side, though it was certainly most acute there. You can also see it in the dust-up between U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff and Kansas Congresswomen Sharice Davids. On Twitter (amazing how so many regrettable things happen there, isn’t it?), Saikat Chakrabarti knocked Davids for supporting a border funding bill that passed by an overwhelming margin.
Disagreements on policy are one thing. But voices like Davids’ are crucial if Democrats hope to keep a majority in the House. That means embracing a variety of opinions and voting records, some of which may be more moderate than arch-progressives prefer.
The inter-caucus brawl was soon overshadowed by the Trump controversy, but we shouldn’t forget it. Why not? Because it shows how important it is for both parties to choose and elevate mature, responsible leaders who are serious about solving this country’s problems.
Showboats and those who play footsie with the darkest parts of the American psyche should rethink their actions. And if they’re not willing to change, voters shouldn’t hesitate to replace them.