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Richard Crowson Commentary

Crowson: Kobach 451

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This year the book selection for The Big Read is Ray Bradbury’s dystopian masterpiece, Fahrenheit 451.

Especially jarring in the book is Bradbury’s depiction of a nightmarish future in which fire departments do the opposite of what firefighters do today: they start fires instead of putting them out. Searching for those who had been found guilty of reading books, they would show up at their homes and set to work burning the victim’s books and other property. It’s a devilishly ingenious device that sticks in the head long after reading Fahrenheit 451.

Today in Kansas we are living in a voter’s dystopia, complete with devilish ingeniousness of a different sort. The Kansas Secretary of State office is charged with overseeing voting in the Sunflower State. Americans’ right to vote is mentioned 5 times in the United States Constitution. One would think that our Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, would be doing all within his power to see that Kansans’ constitutional right to vote is protected – like a firefighter who labors to protect our property from fire.

Instead, over and over and over and over, Kobach has worked to destroy the right to vote for Kansans. He’s not rushing to the polls with sirens wailing and horns blaring, in attempts to snuff out threats to our voting right. He’s speeding around with a flame thrower, aimed directly at those parts of the U.S. Constitution that talk about Americans’ right to vote. Like the firemen in Fahrenheit 451, our Secretary of State does the very opposite of what his job should be.

Call it Kobach 451.