If you happened to be watching television, reading your Facebook newsfeed, or were somehow connected to the outside world, you surely noticed Tuesday’s election.
As we once again carried on our most important election of our lifetimes, again, there was a wide range of other important issues voted on. Some of them may not have mattered to you, such as judges who all but one ran unopposed, but many important decisions were made.
For Wichita residents, the most important measure to vote on was the fluoridation issue. No one had any doubts on how the presidential vote would go for Kansas, but the fluoride vote was different. The question was whether Wichita would join most of the nation in fluoridating their water supply to prevent dental cavities and other problems, or would they side with previous decision to not fluoridate to keep their freedom.
The votes came down, and overwhelmingly enough, the choice was against fluoridation. But don’t go and think that this was just because we are so heavily Republican. The vote crossed party lines and shows that even Democrats can be against something that scientists say is safe.
In fact, looking at the recent statewide elections, there is the possibility that change is coming to Wichita, to Kansas and to America in general. While conservatives won their races here in Kansas, Democrats that were once considered easy Republican wins won some seats. The same scenario played out across the nation.
Moderate Republicans who were forced out for more ideologically conservative ones did well for state seats, but on a statewide level throughout the nation the same could not be said. From Todd Akin to Richard Mourdock, the more conservative the candidate was, the worse they did as they usually ousted the more capable moderate Republican.
The Republican Party should have had an easy win this year. They had a chance to gain the White House and the House of Representatives just like Democrats did just four years ago. Instead they fought over who was the most conservative and ended up destroying themselves in their primaries before the Democrats even got a chance.
Meanwhile, the nation has moved further toward liberal ideas. President Barack Obama has been re-elected, meaning Obamacare will stand as the law of the land, and major strides have been made for gay rights. Three states, Maine, Maryland and Washington, legalized gay marriage.
With nine states now backing same-sex marriage it is likely we will see the rest of the nation continue to follow suit. When this will happen with Kansas though, is harder to tell.
And of course the most laughed about change happened last week as well. There are now two states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use – Colorado and Washington.
What is interesting is that the reason they legalized marijuana for recreational use was so that they could have their police force spend more time policing instead of filing paperwork for small possession. They also plan on taxing the drug so that the money can help pay for schools.
Now who can say that pot is a brain drain?
But there was one piece of news that many may have missed that is possibly the most important for it could change our nation forever. Puerto Rico, the constant territory of the U.S. but never state, passed a referendum to become a state. It is now up to Congress on whether or not they will in fact become so, but both parties in Congress have said they would like them to.
If they do we will gain a 51st state, and we will all have to get new flags.