As a Republican Mean Girl, I talk a lot about getting the government out of our day-to-day lives. Let us keep more of our own money to spend and stimulate the economy as we see fit. Don’t tell me what kind of health insurance to buy. Don’t force me to send my kids to a school based on my zip code instead of my choice.
As much as I don’t like the government meddling in my life, I recognize that it is a necessary evil to maintain a civilized society. There are legitimate functions of government, like law enforcement, that keep us from devolving into Lord of the Flies-like chaos.
Criminal justice is an important part of what makes America awesome. Your rights end where someone else’s begin, or, as my friend Jimmie Bise once succinctly put it, “My right to swing my fist through the air ends where your nose begins.” The police are there to (among other things) arrest the bad guys that violate other people’s rights to life, liberty, and property, thus keeping order in our communities.
So what happens when the police stop doing their job? We’re about to find out in Topeka, KS, where the city council has voted to stop prosecuting domestic violence cases because there’s just not enough money.
Seriously? Of all the ways to pinch pennies, we’re supposed to believe that leaving women vulnerable to abusive partners is the best option? There’s not another line in the budget that could be cut so that the police can do their job and protect Americans? This calls for The Google, my friends.
After a few quick searches, I found out that government employees in Kansas only have to work five years before being guaranteed a monthly payment for the rest of their lives. Benefits are based on averages of the three or four highest years of salary. No wonder the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System is one giant unfunded liability.
Another benefit of living in Kansas is the state’s Child Care Assistance. Apparently, the state will pay your babysitter if your income qualifies (below 185% of the federal poverty level). Topeka also funds several recreational facilities, including skate parks and fishing holes, and there’s even a Senior Olympics for aged athletes!
I am not here to discuss whether or not social welfare is a bad thing; I just want to point out that it is not an essential function of government. Prosecuting domestic violence (or any violence) is. Topeka needs to reexamine its priorities, and come down on the side of protecting battered women from their abusers.