‘We the people,’ not ‘we the billionaires’
Our democracy depends on folks exercising their right to vote. The more voters, the more representative our elected leaders will be. This is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they said “we the people.” They did not start the Constitution with “we the billionaires.”
This concept of democracy is threatened by the flood of anonymous money being dumped into the election process. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislative Exchange Council and many more seem to have a stranglehold on the process and our elected leaders.
None of these organizations seems to think full disclosure is in order, because they feel the donors will be “harassed.” It is a shame these secretive billionaires do not have the courage of their convictions to stand up and be counted. In the end, this action will destroy our democracy, and we will have a plutocracy instead.
These groups are concerned only with the interests of those who fund them, and they work and spend to achieve their goals. If the money spent to keep their taxes low and keep many from voting instead worked to create an economic environment that actually benefits the general population, would their profits and ours all go up?
MICHAEL G. NICHOLS
Drug war insanity
In my role as acting director of the Kansas Medical Cannabis Network, I hear from many prospective patients. I recently was contacted by a legitimate Colorado medical marijuana patient who was passing through Kansas on vacation.
This innocent patient was snagged by the I-70 drug task force near Salina. By the time the dust settled, the person had been charged with felony cannabis distribution and having no tax stamp, and the person’s Colorado medical cannabis license and medical-grade cannabis were seized and not returned.
Every year more than $42 billion is spent to arrest, convict, feed, house, clothe, and provide medical and dental services to nonviolent cannabis/marijuana offenders. The annual cost of their incarceration has been estimated at $18,000 to $23,000 per inmate, and these offenders do not pay any taxes while in custody.
Meanwhile, our national infrastructure continues to crumble, public schools disintegrate, and violent criminals roam our streets.
Why is this insanity allowed to continue?
As a college student beginning to examine my future and where to settle down, I hope to live in an area led by local men and women who work for the betterment of their schools, economies and infrastructures, rather than those who simply use their positions as a soapbox for extremist views.
We need leaders who spend their time fixing the problems of Sedgwick County instead of ranting about the weaknesses of Washington, D.C. We need leaders who will accept vital federal funding rather than sending taxpayer money to New York, California or Johnson County. We need leaders like Sedgwick County Commission candidate Jeff Longwell.
Longwell has been a Wichita City Council member and has worked to find creative ways to save taxpayers money. After spending 12 years as a member of the Maize school board, Longwell understands the needs of smaller communities in Sedgwick County and the role of education in community development.
Citizens of Sedgwick County should take a hard look at the kind of “leaders” who have been elected to the County Commission over the past four years, and concentrate on correcting these issues in the coming months.
Regarding “Another evolution debate is brewing” (June 7 Local & State): The debate appears to center on which theory is better. Neither intelligent design nor evolution can be proved scientifically. In order to prove them, they need to be observable and repeatable. Therefore, both will remain theories.
Scientists look for evidence in nature to support each theory. The proposed new state science standards say that evolution has “a long history and solid foundation based on the research evidence.” That doesn’t make sense. There is more evidence for intelligent design in nature than evolution.
If our schools want to teach a complete and comprehensive science curriculum, they should teach both theories. Many private schools already do this, and their students are not hindered in pursuits after graduation.
The only reason not to teach intelligent design is fear that evolution won’t be able to stand up against it.
BEN L. WAALKES
There seems to be a misconception concerning the new health care law. It does not affect churches, only affiliated businesses that always have been under secular regulations.
People should be aware that 23 states already required those businesses to supply birth-control prescriptions to their employees. The Catholic Church went to court about this and lost in California. So the courts already have said that if it is the law, you must follow it.
I believe that officials are aware of that fact, and that’s the reason they did not immediately take it to court. They are hoping to stir up a controversy, because they know they can’t win in court.