Somewhere in the middle

This is not the new year greeting I had planned to send. The email you were supposed to read reflected on the past year, celebrated our collective resilience despite the tremendous challenges we faced in 2020, and spoke of the boundless possibilities each new year brings. It laid out what’s at stake for Kansas in 2021, and included a request of you to take action with Mainstream to counter the harmful policies planned by extremist leadership this session.

While those sentiments are still true, that email didn’t seem appropriate after the unspeakable violence we witnessed at the hands of domestic terrorists. My second and third attempts, written as the chaos unfolded, would have no doubt left me seeking new employment. So here we are, at last, with number four. And, this one? Well, it’s somewhere in the middle.

We watched in horror Wednesday as an attempted coup of our government unfolded in the nation’s capital. This violent insurgency, methodically orchestrated by Donald Trump over the last four years, left four Americans dead, many injured, and a country betrayed. And, his army of sycophants inciting destruction include none other than Kansas’ newly-elected senator, Roger Marshall (R-KS). Marshal has undoubtedly failed every single Kansan, and now he begins his term in the US Senate with blood on his hands.

These shameful events underscore the dangerous place our country is in. We are divided by ideology, race, culture, and means. Almost half the country voted to return Donald Trump to office. And so did most voters in Kansas.

We will not be able to heal this divide by force. It cannot be fixed by selectively choosing which facts we believe. We will not recover the grace to disagree and still help each other if we demonize everyone but those who look and live like us.

Bridging that divide will be difficult, but Mainstream, like Kansas, was built to bring people together around difficult issues.

And so, I invite you to join us this new year to stand by our values and stand up for our communities, our state, and our country. We will invite our friends and partners in advocacy, our legislators and city officials, and even those who do not agree with us. If they are willing to participate in productive dialogue, then we are ready to listen.

But make no mistake, creating a space for everyone is not a weakness. It is our strength. It is an offer to join us in the mainstream, or get out of the way.

Because treating each other with decency and respect is a mainstream value. Believing meaningful change exists in the space between political and ideological divides is a mainstream value. And, ensuring that your voice is heard and represented in our government is a mainstream value.

It’s time to heal our nation. It’s time to defend our state from the ideological extremists in the state legislature. It’s time to do this together.


Thank you,



Michael Poppa
Executive Director, the Mainstream Coalition

January 8, 2021

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published this page in Blog 2021-01-08 12:09:56 -0600
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