What’s the Matter with Kansas Needs a Sequel (Book Review)
By Thomas Hoffman
In What’s the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank examines exactly that. The book actually is about “What’s the Matter with America.” The book revolves around the idea of false ideology. Politicians use topics like gay marriage, abortion, flag burning and school prayer to distract the public from issues like the National Debt. What’s the Matter with Kansas introduces us to voters who would live a better quality life with a Democratic administration, but vote Republican over these “moral issues.” Among the people interviewed in the book are voters who vote Republican over Democrats even though liberal policies would create a better quality life for them.
There is an Amazon review of this book labeled “Explains Everything.” There is no better way to review this book. Today, the message of false ideology (of both conservatives and liberals) is now more relevant than ever. It is also essential to display progressives who are equally guilty of this false ideology.
Alexandra C. Pelosi (daughter of Nancy Pelosi) actually did just this. Alexandra C. Pelosi created a similar film that displayed voters who voted for President Obama simply for the sake of having a black president. One white person interviewed is asked why she likes Obama. She replied “Because he (Obama) gives me stuff.” Pelosi interviewed a black man accepting welfare. When asked why her (Pelosi’s) tax dollars should go to help him, he answered “because my ancestors, (the slaves) helped build this place.” This footage was featured during an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher.
The danger of false ideology is present today more than ever.
While President Trump does not play to this false ideology to the same extent Bush did (or that Vice President Pence does), one can argue that his celebrity status was the main force behind his campaign, not his ideas. The whole idea of “celebrity politicians” is a type of false ideology. Whether it was Obama vs McCain, Bush vs Kerry, Reagan vs Carter or Trump vs Clinton, the “celebrity” politician always prevailed. Moral distractions change, but they frequently manipulate the public.
In 2004, around the time when the book debuted, President Bush’s gay marriage ban was the most popular “moral distraction.” This book also received an update at one point to include the “War on Christmas.” With the midterms approaching, it would be interesting if Thomas Frank were to resurface and share his views about the false ideology facing today’s politics. Both Republican and Democrat. A sequel to his original book is needed these days. A few chapters about how liberals also cater to this false ideology are also needed. The book could be called “Whatever Was The Matter With Kansas Is Still The Matter With America.”