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April 19, 2005

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I live in Lawrence. It is known as the liberal oasis of the Midwest. We were the only county in the state to vote against the amendment 65-35 while the rest of the state went for it 70-30. The most popular bumper sticker in town is "Kansas: As Bigoted as You Think." We rejected the amendment by 76-24 if you only count Lawrence proper and not the rest of rural Douglas county.

The reason for the liberalism is the University of Kansas which accounts for 40 percent of the town's population. We have been described as the Berkley of the Midwest. In a few weeks we will be having a Student Senate funded Drag Queen Fashion show that will draw thousands of supporters and perhaps 10 demonstrators. We have a weekly anti-war protest and monthly Free Leonard Peltier and Legalize Marijuana rallies.

Our town council has fought Walmart to keep them from expanding and our downtown is thriving with 75 percent locally owned businesses. We have a much higher rate of literacy and lower rate of poverty than the rest of the state.

People from other parts of Kansas call Lawrence "Sin City" and mean it.

I have no doubt that we would have no problem electing an openly gay town councilman. Rundle's sexuality was an open secret here anyway. Our current mayor, Boog Highberger, is a self described "peace activist and hippie."

I actually haven't seen the shop mentioned in the article, but I wouldn't expect it to last very long. We also have the lowest rate of church attendance in the state by a wide margin.

I guess what I am trying to say is that our town is not like the rest of Kansas. And we are proud of that fact. We like to think of Lawrence as the last bastion of sane, intellectual thought in the state.

Thanks, Nate. Yours would be one of those better minds I was referring to.

I knew that Lawrence was a University town, and that probably explained a lot, but it's nice to hear from people on the ground that the contrast between the two stories isn't necessarily indicative of any serious battle for Lawrence's soul, so to speak.

The shop, according to the story, opened just weeks ago, "in the former home of Mass Street Comics at 938 Masslocated on Mass." It's an expansion, by the way. The original shop is located in Topeka.

Haha. No, there is no battle for Lawrence's soul. We are a firmly progressive town. It would make sense that the original store is in Topeka. Topeka, home of "God Hates Fags" Fred Phelps, is about as different from Lawrence than Death Valley is from Minnesota.

In defense of Topeka...the majority of the city wants Phelps to just go away. He is a blight to the city. Every year, he presents a measure to ban the city from hiring gay people, and every year it gets shot down. One good thing that Phelps has done was unite the churches and the synagogue there to make a united defense against him.
PLEASE don't judge the whole city on Phelps. They can't help it that he lives there.

PRE-NOTE: Saying "Kansas: as bigoted as you think" is hypocritical in nature. To pass judgement on an entire state is prejudice and prone to stereotyping. Hence calling an entire state "bigoted" is a form of bigotry.

I too live in Lawrence Kansas, the Bastion of liberalism in the midwest. Here, as in most college towns (or perhaps everywhere), being conservative is no cool, hip, or "sane". Now when the majority of these liberals try to carry on a sincere argument tehy make appeals to emotion, not reason. I consider myself extremely rational, to a point of arrogance.

Even when I find common ground with these people (being a libertarian) my rationale is that of reason, while their's is of "caring". Liberals in this town are ignorant college students for the most part, riding the trend of college liberalism. Of course I have run across liberals here that can destroy me in arguments because they are far more educated on subjects than myself, but that is extremely rare. I would say that those of us here that are conservative in one form of another are the real free-thinkers. We do choose our political or social theory on the basis of conformity, but rather on reason itself.

So thats my rant about your lovely little mico-conformist town. Or perhaps Im just conforming to the rest of the nation in your opinion, who knows.

P.S. I urinate on every parked car I see with that naive bumper sticker plastered on it.

in response to joseph vickers- I think Lawrence is aiming the bumper sticker against the whole state because the majority of the state is to blame. Of course that's stereotyping, but who isn't to blame of doing that? To make a statement that will spread, it needs to be condensed and easily repeated- a bumper sticker with "the people of kansas who are trying to pass a ban on gay marriage - as bigoted as you think" probably wouldn't fit or read too well.

Give me examples of liberals using only emotion and no reason. I'll give you examples of conservatives who act out of fear- fear of people with different opinions or sexualities or lives. A narrow mind will cut off the circulation to the soul.

What rationale of reason prompts you to urinate on parked cars? Personally, I don't see what good that will do...the most would be to prompt the car owner to get a car wash.

"How wonderful that must be for you, Lori. Congratulations."

Why the sarcasm? I hate it when people rebuke Christians who are simply expressing their beliefs. If liberals want to have their views respected, they should also respect the views of those who disagree with them (i.e. conservatives). Most liberals that I know are constantly castigating Christians as hypocrites, but in reality it is hypocritical to support the rights of some individuals (i.e. gays, etc...) without supporting the rights of Christians as well. We are all deserving of civil liberties, as I see it. And, just to be clear, I am a citizen of Lawrence, Kansas (and a graduate student at that!) and I firmly believe in Americans' right to worship who they wish and as they please.
Also, I grew up in Topeka and NO ONE likes Fred Phelps. The only people who support him are his own church members. No Christian, agnostic, or atheist that I know in Topeka thinks that Phelps' hatred toward gays, etc... is a positive thing. I would presume that the same thing goes for the Jewish community and other religious groups.

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