Archive for Thursday, October 4, 2001

O’Connor’s views deserve opposition

October 4, 2001

Earlier this year, this newspaper took State Sen. Kay O'Connor to task for her views regarding the relationship of elected officials and their constituents. We found her stance that as a legislator she knew more about the issues and, therefore, didn't have to heed the wishes of those who elected her arrogant and patronizing.

Now, we find her position is at odds with O'Connor's own thinking. O'Connor dismisses her own opinions as intrinsically inferior to those held by men. First to representatives of the Johnson County League of Women Voters and later to The Kansas City Star, she has questioned the wisdom of the 19th Amendment that gave American women the right to vote.

"I'm an old-fashioned woman," she told the Star. "Men should take care of women, and if men were taking care of women, we wouldn't have to vote."

The suffrage movement was just the first step in a women's rights movement that removed women from their traditional, and rightful, homemaking roles and into the work place, O'Connor said. Male politicians furthered the trend when they raised taxes to pay for social programs.

O'Connor's loopy thinking has women correcting the mistakes of men so that men can make decisions. It is totally illogical and out of step with the realities of the modern world. It begs the question of how a politician with such outdated views became one of 40 people elected to the Kansas Senate. The answer, as it almost always is in such cases, is apathy.

With the endorsement of Kansans for Life, O'Connor defeated incumbent Rich Becker in a primary election that saw less than 20 percent of GOP voters go to the polls. Indifference didn't stop there. Democrats didn't field a credible candidate for the general election, failing to take advantage of O'Connor's marginal views or the bitterness caused by her primary defeat of the former Lenexa mayor. Her Democratic opponent, who defined himself as an emissary from God and human rights ambassador to the world, was prone to the same kind of off-the-wall pronouncements as O'Connor.

That is not to say O'Connor was a stealth candidate. She ran an aggressive campaign based on the conservative positions she had advocated as an eight-year member of the Kansas House.

That's what makes O'Connor's expressed views of suffrage so interesting. They are totally at odds with her resume. She is, after all, fully engaged in politics. O'Connor has been in the Legislature since 1992, heads the foundation Parents in Control that supports school vouchers under the rubric of school choice and is a player in Kansans for Life.

O'Connor's latest statements will only make it easier for other legislators to dismiss her positions. In the case of education, that's a good thing. It will, however, prove detrimental to De Soto and other jurisdictions within her Senate district. We suspect with her latest statements O'Connor has made herself a target and will earn the notoriety and opposition she deserves.

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