Letters to the editor on food stamps, Obamacare, shutdown, Jesus and ACA, dental health, Redskins

10/20/2013 12:00 AM

10/18/2013 5:48 PM

State shouldn’t turn back on needy

I have for some time been concerned about the mindset that our government in Topeka seems to take in regard to those who are the neediest. But when I read “Helping kids go hungry” (Oct. 10 Eagle Editorial), my feelings went from extreme anger to shame.

How on Earth could any self-respecting individual who had any speck of compassion turn down a federal grant given to organizations such as Harvesters, Catholic Social Service and the Kansas Food Bank? We all know what these types of organizations do and the difference they make in thousands of homes where food is often just not available.

Theresa Freed, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said: “We simply do not believe taxpayer dollars should be used to recruit people to be on welfare.” My response is that I don’t want a penny of my tax dollars going to pay Freed’s salary, as she and other DCF officials are ill-suited to work with people who need a helping hand.

I hope the citizens of this state will let our governor and legislators know that we do not approve of turning our backs on folks who have fallen on hard times. No matter what one’s economic situation may be, we will all suffer if we pursue these kinds of policies.



Misled Americans

I read with interest “‘Values voters’ value extremes, not Brownback” (Oct. 15 WE Blog excerpts). It is unfortunate that people like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and the talking heads at Fox News misled so many Americans into believing the anti-Obamacare agenda is intended to help them.

I have never understood the connection between the Affordable Care Act and any perceived threat to traditional marriage, family, religious liberty, the sanctity of life or other conservative values. In fact, you would think that providing health care to millions of people who currently can’t get health care would fit closely with the conservative Christian values that these voters support.

Nonetheless, the charlatans and demagogues have spent years telling us that the threat of “Obamacare” is real. The blog item noted that Fox News contributor Ben Carson said that Obamacare is a form of slavery. Seriously? Well, the Affordable Care Act may not prove to be great for America (although in time it might), but it certainly isn’t slavery, and it’s not as bad as putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work by closing the government, or risking an economic crisis by refusing to pay the country’s obligations.


Washington, D.C.

America lost

At a press conference last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pointed to a poster-board sign stating that the Senate deal funds the government until Jan. 15, pays our bills until Feb. 7, agrees to budget talks, and provides income verification for the Affordable Care Act.

The sign should have said that under the Senate deal, “we will continue to borrow money to fund the federal government; continue to borrow money to pay the federal government’s bills; really, really promise to talk about actual reductions in federal spending; and abandon Obamacare because we finally figured out that we’d been fouling up health care for decades with Medicare – which we will shut down to allow Americans to be responsible for the pricing of their own health care choices.”

There are those who say Democrats won and Republicans lost. I think that America and Americans lost, and we’ll continue to do so as long as our elected officials think we can borrow our way out of debt.



Jesus and ACA

What I hear and read about the Affordable Care Act is all about the economics (who will pay, who will profit; less about who might benefit) and the political ramifications (who stands to get hurt or strengthened for re-election). As we proudly claim to be a “Christian nation,” doesn’t it make sense to also think about what Jesus would have us do regarding basic health care for others?

As I recall, Jesus attended to the health needs of some who brought pre-existing conditions for care, some who had not been able to afford health care elsewhere, some who might not even seek care after having been refused so many times. And Jesus clarified the nature of his healing and helping by suggesting to all believers that “even as you do this to the least, you have done this to me.”

The Christians I hear debating the merits of the ACA, including our legislators, seem to have failed to see this connection between one’s theology and one’s attitude about helping all others enjoy sound health. The fact that discussions feature money and politics, absent faith, suggests a profile of a purported Christian nation that is not that concerned about following the admonitions of the central figure in its theology, Jesus. Instead, by logic it seems clear that the almighty dollar and security with political position trump faith.



Improve oral health

Dental health for one of our state’s most vulnerable populations – nursing-home patients – is a key focus for those of us in the Kansas oral health community. Research shows that proper dental care can prevent serious, even life-threatening infections. It’s also linked to proper nutrition, as poor dental health can result in an inability to eat, compromising one’s overall health.

The oral health community is working proactively to meet the dental needs of our elderly fellow Kansans. In addition to Kansas dentists and hygienists offering their services in nursing homes throughout the state, we are engaged in a comprehensive review of strategies and pilot projects to improve access to care.

This initiative – one of only seven funded in the nation – has brought our state’s oral health provider community together in partnership with leaders from Kansas long-term care facilities and hospitals. These efforts are made possible by funding Kansas was awarded by the DentaQuest Foundation. Stay tuned as we next identify pilot projects in Kansas to ensure that unique challenges facing this population are addressed and good oral health needs met.



Kansas Dental Association


Redskin context

What is missing in this argument over Wichita North High School’s nickname is context. If I just throw the word “Redskin” out on the street, or merely consult a dictionary, of course it is classified as derogatory. However, if someone in Wichita says “North High Redskins,” it takes on a whole different meaning.

As adults, we can look at things within their context and evaluate them accordingly. As immature children, we often take things at face value and react in a knee-jerk, emotional fashion. Political correctness falls into the latter and is becoming all too common, falling, in my opinion, into the realm of pseudo-intellectualism.

When North High was built, it was in honor of the American Indians, celebrating their history and heritage. North High was different, in location, architecture, attitude. North was and is very special, particularly to her alumni and student body.

Those of us who are Redskins get it. The Redskin is a fierce American Indian warrior who will vanquish his opponents. He is to be feared and respected on the football field, the basketball court, the track, the diamond. He holds his traditions sacred.

Now, here we are again, with outsiders, the majority of whom are neither American Indians nor North alumni or students, launching yet another attack on the nickname we have given to ourselves. We chose it then, and we choose it now.

I’m proud to be called a Redskin, as are my friends, my neighbors, my family. Why take that away from us?



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