Letters to the editor on Eisenhower, liberty, gay rights, public prayers, bad bridges, cyberbullying
11/10/2013 12:00 AM
11/08/2013 6:04 PM
Honor city, state by honoring Ike
In the current political environment, it is ever more important to give credit where credit is due, so that schoolchildren will grow up learning about the qualities that define leadership, apart from a particular party or issue.
Dwight Eisenhower was a great leader because he had the qualities – including courage, perseverance, integrity, honesty and humility – that inspired other leaders to follow him in the most difficult of times. Eisenhower, like President Truman from Missouri, had an unpretentious but dignified manner and a plain and forthright speaking style.
Upon Eisenhower’s return from Europe after leading his troops to victory in Europe in World War II, New York City honored him with a ticker-tape parade (you can see the newsreel on YouTube), and millions of New Yorkers lined the streets to cheer him. In his typically modest style, he referred to being a “Kansas farmer boy” as he opened his speech, and then stated that the crowd was not cheering for him but “rejoicing that a nasty job is done.”
In short, Eisenhower’s place in history will not depend on renaming a major landmark, our airport, after him. But Wichita should not miss this opportunity to honor our city and state by honoring this man as he honored Kansas, and so that more young children one day will ask, “Who was Eisenhower?”
James Madison, sometimes called the father of the Constitution, gave us two warning signs that would let us know when we, the people, would be ready and willing to surrender our Constitution and our liberty to the government.
In the Federalist Papers in 1788, he said that if our spirit of liberty as a people “shall ever be so far debased as to (allow us to) tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.” In that same vein, he said of our federal laws that “it will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”
Both of these abuses of our liberty and our Constitution are being accepted by a great many citizens as part of Obamacare. They don’t seem to know or care that they are advocating the loss of their liberty.
Live up to ideals
For many years America has been the leader of human rights. Now I’m not so sure that certain members of Congress really are for human rights.
The Senate passed legislation last week that would ban discrimination against gay workers. Even some Republicans joined the Democrats in support of this bill. But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has stated that such legislation would only benefit trial lawyers, so he will not bring this legislation to the House floor.
If Boehner cannot separate our Constitution from his religious beliefs, then he should not be in office. Our government is secular, not religious. There are no reasons to discriminate against gay people. I thought our Constitution made it very clear about equal rights for all, not just for some. To me, there should be no question that people who are gay should be treated the same as everyone else.
How does being able to discriminate against a group of people who have broken no laws make us look to the rest of the world, when we have made it clear that those countries that abuse their own people are not doing the right thing? Looking for excuses to block such legislation makes it clear to the rest of the world that we do not believe what we say.
Upon looking at the photos of the bridge where the school bus went off near Douglass, I would suggest we not lay all the blame on the bus driver (“School bus lands in creek,” Nov. 1 Eagle). I contend that the county is just as much to blame for allowing such a low bridge with no guardrails. If there had been a 4-foot pipe railing over the bridge, the bus could have made it through.
It is time for all the counties in Kansas to retrofit these bridges with heavy pipe guardrails, filled with cement, with reflectors on them. It’s time for the counties to get busy before a life is lost on a poorly designed bridge.
The excellent article “Supreme Court to take on legislative prayer” (Nov. 3 Eagle) included this quote from former Solicitor General Paul Clement: “The reason legislative prayer is constitutional is because it’s been done since the (nation’s) founding, including by the Congress that promulgated the First Amendment.”
By reasoning that tradition is a key factor, then no Native Americans or women should have the right to vote. Because the Congress did not include Muslims or Hindus or people of the Jewish faith, the sentiments of these people should not now be considered. And by this reasoning, shouldn’t we still have slavery?
Also cited in the article was the Marsh v. Chambers ruling, which said that legislative prayer is blocked only if the government acts with “impermissible motive” in selecting prayer givers or if it uses the prayers to advance a particular religion or denigrate another. All prayer of a government nature presupposes that there is a god, rather than gods, and no prayer presumes that no god exists.
Such legislation, and judicial review, is no more than a straw man to distract us from real issues, real problems. God or no god, the recent antics of the 113th Congress seem to suggest that legislative prayers are a perfunctory habit that doesn’t provide members of Congress to consider the tenets of any faith other than their own sense of power and the hope of re-election.
Cyberbullying – voluntary and repetitious abuse using computers, cellphones and other electronic devices – is a modern method of victimization that has affected more than 40 percent of youths in the United States in the past year. Like traditional bullying, cyberbullying is used to exert power and dominance over another person, but technology enables the cyberbully to harass, threaten or ridicule the victim in both public (the Internet) and private domains (text messaging). It can occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is persistent, amplifying the frequency and impact of the abuse.
Most research on cyberbullying has examined the short-term consequences of victimization, leading to a lack of research on the relationship between being cyberbullied and a victim’s long-term psychological health. However, as cyberbullying and traditional bullying share similar goals, such as exerting torment over the victim, it can be suggested that the two forms of bullying share potential psychological consequences, such as loneliness, peer rejection, low self-esteem, poor mental health, depression, isolation, hopelessness and suicide.
Recent high-profile cases of teens who have committed suicide because of relentless cyberbullying have increased the public call for accountability. However, changing a culture that accepts bullying as a form of behavior or even entertainment – as is played out in much of today’s popular culture – is often more difficult than changing policy and law.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Hotline at 316-660-7500, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
MARILYN L. COOK
Comcare of Sedgwick County
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