Pragmatism left in bygone days
Joan Wagnon, chairwoman of the Kansas Democratic Party, was correct when she cited the progressive leaders who, along with the wacky ones, came together and made this state a good place to live (April 23 Opinion). Unfortunately, those days are gone. Pragmatic compromise that allowed Kansas to flourish in times past has been replaced with a conservative absolutism that is frightening in its ferocity.
I realized how we got here after reading Thomas Frank’s book “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” It asked why low- and middle-income Kansans vote against their own economic well-being by electing conservative politicians who distract them with cultural issues such as abortion, religion and evolution and while giving tax breaks to people who need them a whole lot less. Some of us see through the political sleight of hand – a promised prosperity on the backs of the poor in favor of the rich – but there aren’t enough of us to stop it.
Wagnon suggested that maybe, just maybe, Gov. Sam Brownback and company will realize they are wrong. But why should they when they are sure to get re-elected by the very people they’ve hoodwinked into thinking they are right?
KATHLEEN C. BUTLER
There were two articles side by side on the front page of the April 24 Eagle: one regarding the proposed building of a new Central Library at an estimated cost of $29 million, the other regarding city budget deficits over the next three years that could add up to $9.8 million. Thanks to the editor for making this clear.
Does anyone on the Wichita City Council or the planning commission know how to do a cost-benefit analysis or, for that matter, balance a budget? Our first priority should be to take care of the basic needs of the city.
For instance, the city has, in an effort to save money, laid off dozens of arborists, resulting in many dead tree limbs and standing dead trees in our parkways, which present hazards to our residents.
An old library we can live with (there are work-arounds for that); dead people as a result of falling dead tree branches or trees we cannot live with.
MARY KATHRYN VERNON
I’m tired of the anti-gun rhetoric and, quite frankly, lies. Those who vilify the National Rifle Association are actually slandering me and millions of members and supporters.
Those who would trample on our Bill of Rights are those of an un-American agenda. They try to use tragedy to further their goals, which is shameless and despicable. I bet all those killed by a criminal or psycho wished they would have had a gun, or that a concealed-carry permit holder would have put his life in jeopardy to come to their aid.
I would like to thank Kansas Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, Gov. Sam Brownback, most of the Kansas Legislature, Sedgwick County Commissioners Richard Ranzau, Karl Peterjohn and Jim Skelton, and Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter for all standing up for our Second Amendment.
We all have a choice to own a gun or not. Let’s not stand for the vilification of those who choose to bear arms. Those who harm others with whatever means should be dealt with severely. Those who may stand in evil’s way deserve our respect – citizen or law enforcement.
Don’t arm teachers
Putting armed teachers inside the classroom is ridiculous. Can you imagine a sweet, little kindergarten teacher packing heat? At best, we’re sending the wrong message to our children. Teachers have enough responsibilities without the thought that they may have to shoot someone someday.
Ask a police officer or someone in the military about this subject. They train all the time, and when they have to actually shoot someone, it’s hard for them. Why would we want to put that kind of pressure on our teachers?
Instead, police officers or soldiers should guard our schools. Better yet, how about bulletproof windows and locked doors while the students are in class? Instead of arming teachers with guns, let’s arm them with some knowledge of how to lock down their classroom in the event that a school shooting happens.
Be organ donor
“Garden Plain residents help family’s quest for transplant” (April 22 Local & State) was the perfect impetus for families to discuss their feelings about organ donation.
Often we shy away from speaking about death because it makes us uncomfortable. However, it is critical for people to discuss their end-of-life preferences with their family members to ensure that choices such as organ donation are communicated and carried out.
Organ donation is a beautiful extension of life. Grieving family members can be comforted knowing a part of their loved one lives on in another person. What greater legacy can we leave behind than the gift of life?
According to organdonor.gov, more than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ, and every day 18 people die waiting. Raising awareness of this need will bridge the gap between the number of people on organ-transplant waiting lists and the number of organ donors.
JULIE REY SULLIVAN