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Eagle editorial: Strength in numbers

  • Published Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, at 12 a.m.

The nearly 1 million Americans who’ve signed online secession petitions, including one for Kansas with more than 8,700 names, may be merely blowing off steam after a bitter election defeat. But advocating secession as a remedy is symptomatic of what ails the nation.

With the election over and the winners and losers identified, people should be pulling together at all levels to work through divisions. The nation and its economy cannot afford more of the partisan sniping that has debilitated Congress and pitted red states against blue ones.

President Obama, the Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate must act without delay to defuse the fiscal time bomb scheduled for Jan. 2, when the Bush-era tax cuts will expire and deep spending cuts take effect. To their credit, the leaders seem to be acting in a spirit of compromise for now, if specific proposals are lacking. It will take a similar collegiality, across party and geographical lines, to pass a new farm bill.

At the state level, there should be no more time wasted next year on a proposed Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment or other meaningless measures aimed at flexing state sovereignty and lashing out at the federal government. It’s time for Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature’s conservative new leaders to stop working against Obamacare and start making Obamacare work for Kansas.

They and other leaders in this Republican state also should remember they serve all Kansans. Kansas does not belong to only those who agree with every plank of the Republican Party platform, and the state’s 83,000 square miles are roomy enough for more than one set of values and way of life. That was a point offensively overlooked recently by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who told the Kansas City Star that Kansans unhappy with the state’s conservatism are free to vote with their feet and seek something other than a “Kansas lifestyle” elsewhere.

At the very least, those Americans who insist on throwing a hissy fit because the election didn’t go their way should refrain from waving an American flag while doing so. The nation and its leaders endured and sacrificed too much to assemble, and then reassemble, the United States for the Union to be treated so cavalierly now.

And despite what the Texas petitioners and others say, it is not “practically feasible” for any state to withdraw from the nation and go it alone. The states are too inextricably linked, thankfully. For the United States of America, there is strength in numbers.

For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman

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