Editorial Roundup: Missouri

Kansas City Star. June 24, 2022.

Editorial: After abortion ban, do you think Missouri and Kansas right-wingers will stop there?

The U.S. Supreme Court — untethered to facts, precedent, the law or the Constitution — has declared all American women second-class citizens, unprotected by the nation’s founding documents.

Voting 6-3, the Court discarded Roe v. Wade, the seminal case protecting a woman’s right to an abortion for half a century.

The decision ranks among the court’s most disturbing anti-liberty decisions, alongside the Dred Scott case, the Plessy case that entrenched discrimination and Korematsu, which affirmed the incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent.

“One result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens,” the three dissenting justices wrote. “As of today, this Court holds, a state can always force a woman to give birth.”

The decision is an outrage. It will infuriate millions of women who have joined the 150-year fight to protect their rights. It will cause sickness, and women will die unnecessarily.

It will not end the debate over abortion, and abortion rights. Nor should it.

Some may be tempted to abandon the effort to protect equality, because of frustration, or exhaustion, or anger. Those reactions would be understandable. But Americans who believe in freedom and self-governance can’t give up now, particularly in Missouri and Kansas, where the crusade against women is likely to accelerate.

Missouri took the first step, implementing a so-called “trigger law” that bans abortion in the state. There is little that can be immediately done to resist this tyranny, which is tragic. Instead, Missourians must redouble efforts to elect state legislators and other officials who are committed to ensuring equal rights for all. It’s that simple.

Kansans have a more direct way to make their voices known. In August, they’ll consider an amendment to the state constitution that would hand a woman’s personal decision-making to the anti-liberty cabal in the state capitol.

We are still considering the arguments for and against the amendment, and will write about our views later. But there can be no doubt that Kansans who believe women should be seen as equal before the law must register to vote, and cast their ballots later this summer.

When they do, they must remember the disingenuous reasoning of the six members of the Supreme Court who prevailed Friday. Most of them told the nation that Roe was “settled law” during their confirmation hearings, or suggested they were neutral on the issue.

They were lying. They lied to the Senate, and to the American people. Like all judges, they are not due additional respect or deference because they wear black robes. They have acted as politicians, not neutral arbiters of fact and law.

Do not believe the argument, led by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, that Friday’s decision doesn’t affect same-sex marriage, or contraception, or interracial relationships. In his own additional opinion, Clarence Thomas urged his fellow justices to reconsider all precedents involving due process, “including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” That means contraception, consensual sex and same-sex marriage.

Does anyone think the right-wingers who engineered this calamity will stop now? Do we think Missouri and Kansas lawmakers will leave these rights untouched?

Do we think Congress will resist a federal law eliminating abortion, and the rights of women?

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 25, 2022.

Editorial: Greitens claims his violent campaign video is humorous. No, it’s dangerous.

Did you hear the one about the Republican Senate candidate who suggested killing any Republican who isn’t deemed conservative enough? It’s a real knee-slapper. Especially with recent horrendous mass shootings, public officials getting death threats and the country watching a forensic review of how a former president’s violent rhetoric spurred the actual violence of Jan. 6, 2021.

Eric Greitens, the disgraced former Missouri governor turned Senate candidate, said last week he was just kidding around when he posted a violent video about “hunting” for “RINOs” (Republicans in Name Only).

The video “has a sense of humor,” said Greitens.

Which part was funniest? The comical brandishing of military-style assault rifles like the one that killed 19 children in Uvalde, Texas? Or perhaps the hilarious rhetoric about using violence to “save our country” — reminiscent of the language former President Donald Trump used to inspire thousands of his supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol.

If Greitens’ Senate bid doesn’t work out, maybe he should consider a career in standup comedy.

In the video, Greitens and some camouflaged pretend-commandos approach a house with rifles poised. Greitens — who, remember, was forced to resign as governor in 2018 amid allegations of corruption and physical abuse — whispers: “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice.”

This is a man who has been credibly accused of abusing his wife, his children and his mistress. His definition of courage must be different from ours. (Greitens acknowledges the affair but denies the abuse.)

The commandos bash in the door, explode a stun grenade and barge into the room, assault rifles poised. Greitens follows them in, then delivers what he apparently considers a punchline about getting a “RINO hunting license.”

The Post-Dispatch’s Jesse Bogan last week looked at how Greitens’ video has landed in deep-red Missouri. What he found was, well, not funny. “People in St. Louis may not like it,” said former state Sen. Jane Cunningham, with Greitens at a campaign stop in Camdenton, near Lake of the Ozarks, “but by golly in Camdenton, in rural Missouri, that is a huge hit.”

If that doesn’t give pause to anyone who has seen this video, it’s difficult to imagine what would.

Greitens last week breezily dismissed the notion that his video portrayal of violence could prompt the real thing: “I don’t think there is a real person in Missouri who thinks about it literally. Not one.”

More than one, actually. Greitens’ ex-wife has received emailed death threats since the video was posted, according to the attorney representing her in their child-custody case. “ ‘Wouldn’t it be awful if someone hunted down and killed Eric Greitens and his entire family,’ ” the attorney quoted from one of the messages in a hearing Thursday. “The other one is so horrible I can’t read it aloud in court.”

What, they can’t take a joke?

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Jefferson City News Tribune. June 26, 2022.

Editorial: Missouri deserves better

Enough already.

The use of violent rhetoric has steadily increased in recent months; threats and aggressive imagery have become all too common in our communities, congressional offices and on the campaign trail. The objective is to win by demonizing the opposition.

For America’s sake, it simply must stop.

The latest horrible example of that incendiary rhetoric was an ad run by Eric Greitens, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Greitens was governor from January 2017 until he resigned June 1, 2018, when allegations arose that he engaged in an extramarital affair in which the woman said he physically abused and threatened her. His resignation was part of a plea deal to drop a felony charge that alleged misuse of a charity donor list to raise funds for his gubernatorial campaign.

Since his resignation, he also has been accused by his ex-wife of abusing her and her son. Greitens has denied any wrongdoing.

Now, the former governor seeks to return to office and is one of 21 GOP candidates seeking the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

In his latest campaign ad, Greitens is seen packing a shotgun as he and a SWAT-style team armed with assault rifles storm a home in search of “RINOS,” or Republicans in Name Only.

In a hushed tone as the ad begins, Greitens lays out the mission: “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice.” Then, he and a heavily armed SWAT-style team crashes through the door and detonate flash bangs in the home’s living room.

The smoke clears, and Greitens proclaims: “Join the MAGA crew. Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”

If the ad were not bad enough, he then tweeted: “We are sick and tired of the Republicans in Name Only surrendering to Joe Biden & the radical Left. Order your RINO Hunting Permit today!”

It’s not the first time Greitens has pulled out the “big guns” to sell his candidacy while brandishing a weapon. In 2016, the gubernatorial candidate fired a Gatling-style machine gun into a lake under the auspices of taking back Missouri from those with differing views.

But the world has substantially changed in those six years, Mr. Greitens.

We live in a much more polarized society where we seemed to be defined more by our differences than our similarities. Incendiary rhetoric has created a climate where we are more inclined to shout down or strike down those with whom we disagree rather than try to find a common ground.

The imagery Greitens has promoted and defended does nothing but drive the wedge deeper and push us farther apart as Missourians and as Americans.

The ad drew immediate outrage.

“This horrific ad -- suggesting that firearms should be used to hunt human beings with whom he disagrees – debases the right to keep and bear arms, dishonors law enforcement and the military, and is antithetical to conservative pro-life values,” Eagle Forum President Kris Ullman said in a news release.

Greitens’s response?

Those criticizing the ad are “snowflakes” who are just expressing “faux outrage.”

“The idea behind it was very simple,” Greitens told a Kansas City radio station. “We just wanted to demonstrate with a sense of humor and with a sense of fun that we are gonna take on RINOs.”

Mr. Greitens, enough.

Apologize for the ad and take it down; it was insensitive and could potentially incite violence; the ad is unbefitting of someone who seeks to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate.

If you can’t do that, drop out of the race. We need a senator who is more inclined to build bridges rather than blow them up.

Missouri deserves better.

END