The following is an excerpt from my new book; How a left-wing journalist survives the Bible Belt. It is an autobiography on my career as a writer. This is from the fist chapter.
By SJ Otto
It was at the age of 13 that I moved here to
I moved from Wichita, Kansas . St. Louis, Missouri Wichita was a different world. It is in the
Bible Belt. It is a Republican stronghold. It was like that when I moved here
in 1969 and it is still like that today.
It is a strong hold for the Religious Right. They keep calling themselves different things but they are always the same. They organize to stop topless dancing in the bars. They have worked hard to stop any kind of nudity any where any place.
Places that sell nude magazines, movies or any other kind of sexual activity is banned in
They also have large organizations trying to ban abortion. Because of the women's movement in this town has been very strong, the Religious Right has been unable to stop abortion, despite their best efforts.
Then there is the Religious Rights hold on power. The Religious Right has taken its place in the Republican Party and that party holds power on the entire town. The movie What's the Matter with
2009, focused on the people and culture of Kansas Wichita's religious and political leaders.
At one time
was a dry state. Liquor by the drink or open bars have only been legal for
about the last 20 years. All vice is frowned upon by Wichita's religious community.
There are other conservative forces at work. This is the home town for the Koch brothers, Charles and David. The Kochs own Wichita and like a animal that pees to mark its territory the Kochs have their names on buildings everywhere, including Koch Community Plaza, Koch Scouting Center, and the Koch Orangutan and Chimpanzee Habitat at the Sedgwick County Zoo. They have their name on the
Koch Aquatic Center at
the North Branch Y.M.C.A., and there is the ’s Koch Habitat Hall. Don't forget
the Henry Levitt Arena, which is now called the Koch Arena. Plains Nature Center
The Koch's have a lot of supporters in
Wichita. I honestly believe many of these
people would gladly give either Koch brother a blow job just for the asking. When
it comes to the Koch brothers and other important conservative industrialists,
the town's motto could easily be "bend over and spread your cheeks."
When I moved here in 1969 I would say most of the elected leaders are conservative. Today I would say the political atmosphere and trend has been to move to the right and keep moving to the right. It seems as if people vote for whoever is to the political right. After a few years the policies fail and the next leader blames "leftist" ideas for those failings. Then the next politician moves even farther to the right. And it goes on and on.
This used to be an agricultural town. There used to be the "ag report" (short of agriculture, as in the farm report) on the radio. But now it is more urban and the farm community has been pushed out. Since the turn of the 20th Century,
became the " ,"
meaning that a lot of airplanes are manufactured here. And there has been little
diversity since those factories came in. There are other businesses, but
aircraft manufacturing is the main one. Air
This is a business town and even many of the town's workers are anti-union.
However there are some left-wing political groups here as well. There is a handful of democratic socialists, mostly members of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). There is a Peace and Social Justice Center in
Wichita. And there are a
few spots where Democrats get elected. There is an active Democratic Party,
despite their lack of seats in the Kansas
legislature. There is an active gay community and there are a sizable number of
atheist living in Wichita.
There is even an atheist meet-up group.
As for me, I'm a communist writer. That is I'm a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. I don't consider myself dogmatic. I read other Marxist writers besides Mao. I even appreciate other philosophers. But that is my main political beliefs. It is not easy to live in one of the country's most conservative town. But I've managed to do it.
 SJ Otto, "Koch brothers are protested — while the rest of the city "bends over" for them," The Idiot Factor: Corruption Folly, http://ottoswarroom.blogspot.com/2015/11/koch-brothers-are-protested-while-rest.html