Letters to the editor on government programs, Dean’s Scholars, Ike
10/08/2013 12:00 AM
10/07/2013 6:47 PM
Government can do things well
So columnist Cal Thomas believes that government can’t do things “well and at reasonable cost” (Oct. 2 Opinion). As “proof,” he cited some Heritage Foundation study. This right-wing, corporate-fueled juggernaut of propaganda is to think tanks what Fox News is to journalism – an Orwellian travesty.
Head Start, food stamps, Social Security and Medicaid are excellent programs and crucial to the lives of many. They keep people from starving, dying from lack of medical care and going homeless, and they give children born in poverty at least one hand up.
“Only individuals, not government, can improve their lives by making right choices,” Thomas wrote. This is at the crux of his whole argument: The poor are undeserving – destitute due to their willful and lazy bad choices. The reality is that the poor consist of mostly children, the elderly, those bankrupted by medical bills, the disabled, and middle- and working-class people who, after the Wall Street-generated crash of 2008, can’t find employment, or only jobs that pay minimum wage.
Cutting their benefits when they need them the most is barbaric and cruel.
I am not sure what the Republicans find so offensive about more Americans being able to obtain medical care. In 2009, a Harvard Medical School study determined that a lack of health insurance contributed to 45,000 deaths a year. So this is to continue because some Republicans think insurance company profits are more important?
As the parents of a former and current Dean’s Scholar, my husband and I were saddened to hear that academically talented high school students will no longer have the opportunity to participate in the Dean’s Scholars program at Wichita State University. Until Christine Schneikart-Luebbe and staff introduced our daughters to all that Wichita State had to offer, the university was to them (and us) an unknown. Had it not been for the invitation to participate in the program, our two youngest daughters most likely would have chosen to head up I-35 to Lawrence to join their two older siblings at the University of Kansas.
Ultimately, the invitation to participate in the Dean’s Scholars program was not a factor our daughters could lightly brush aside when making their college decisions. In fact, it was the deciding factor in both their college decisions. We saw this same scenario play out with several of their high school friends who were also extended this invitation.
Wichita State benefited by having gifted students attend class, become leaders in campus organizations and remain engaged with the Wichita community at large. The program helped stop some of the “brain drain” Wichita experiences every time talented students choose to leave Wichita for their higher education.
Unfortunately, without an enticement such as the Dean’s Scholars program, future academically talented Wichita-area students may not consider Wichita State when making their college decisions.
Ike bad choice
A letter writer’s remarks about President Eisenhower’s involvement in ending democracy in Iran in 1953 and 1954 hit the mark, and then some (Oct. 1 Letters to the Editor). That is why naming Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in Eisenhower’s honor should not happen.
As president, Eisenhower was a poor example of what a leader should be. He was only picked by Republicans because they were desperate to take the White House.
Further, in 1956 Eisenhower made some unfortunate public remarks that led to a bloody uprising in Hungary, resulting in tens of thousands of civilian deaths at the hands of the Russians.
As Allied supreme commander during World War II, Eisenhower was the wrong man for the job. Either George Patton or Bernard Montgomery would have been a far better choice. They might have lacked the finesse that Eisenhower had, but they would have shortened the war in Europe by weeks and likely prevented the Soviets from taking Berlin.
If Mid-Continent Airport needs a new name, a far better choice would be aviatrix Amelia Earhart.
Don’t blame Ike
A well-intentioned reader argued that President Eisenhower was largely responsible for the lack of moderates today in Iran (Oct. 1 Letters to the Editor). To blame our bad relations with Iran in 2013 on what Ike did in 1953 – while there is a tenuous relationship – makes about as much sense as blaming President Johnson’s passage of Medicare in 1965 for the current government shutdown over resistance to the Affordable Care Act. As good as it sounds, that constitutes overblown, inaccurate historical analysis.
The 1953 Iranian situation is too complex to explain here. It was not just a coup, but a countercoup to restore the shah to power. The context was the Cold War and an allied determination to deny the Soviets a foothold in the oil-rich states of the Middle East.
As a scholar, I have walked in Ike’s shoes. He never did anything – particularly anything military – without what appeared to him, at the time, a compelling rationale. How long can we blame a long-dead leader for decisions he made in a completely different context? That just lets us modern folks off the hook for the messes we, in fact, have made.
DAVID A. NICHOLS