Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (Nov. 8)

Burned mosque not representative

The burning of the mosque in west Wichita has not yet been ruled as arson (Nov. 2 Eagle). Even if the FBI does conclude that it was a case of arson, that would not in any way represent Wichita or Kansas.

People living here are considerate and compassionate. The acts of a few misguided individuals, if that was the case, cannot be allowed to represent the majority of Wichitans.

I am a Muslim who has lived in Wichita for almost 25 years. My kids were born here, and my family and I call Wichita our home — our only home. We’re part of the DNA of this community.

We are proud to be part of Wichita and feel honored to be called Kansans.



Take responsibility

Some (including Occupy Wall Street protesters and liberal politicians) blame big banks for irresponsible practices that put the world’s financial systems at risk of failing. Others (including the tea party and conservative politicians) blame the financial world’s crisis on “politics” for running huge deficits. Most citizens just get mad, pick a side and get polarized.

What would happen if everyone took responsibility for his own actions? That would mean banks would have to reap the losses for the poor loans they sowed — no bailouts and no easy credit. Politicians would have to balance their budgets and realize their job is not to spend public money currying the favor of lobbyists or constituent groups — no more public financing of private interests and no more deficits. And citizens would have to admit they are primarily responsible for taking care of themselves and their loved ones, and then anyone else they can help beyond that out of the goodness of their own hearts.

We have reached the point in our social descent where people believe they can’t survive if they take responsibility for themselves, and so everyone abdicates individual responsibility and points the finger at somebody else, grasping for political power to deflect pain away from themselves. I hope we realize our error and resolve to honor individual responsibility as a vital part of our social experience.



GOP questions

Why do all the GOP candidates’ proposals for tax reform start with the richest paying less and the poorest paying more?

When did the GOP become unrelentingly anti-progressive regarding tax structure, and break with its own history and past leaders?

Why are capital gains suddenly supposed to be tax-free but wages for labor are never to be tax-free? Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan — all solid Republicans — never agreed with that, did they?

Why does the GOP insist that the only Social Security reform be that recipients accept lower benefits and later retirements — thus assuring retirees of the poverty Social Security was created to prevent and blocking other workers’ upward mobility at the same time?

Why are profits and revenues always supposed to grow for businesses, but wages, benefits and retirement plans are never supposed to grow?

Why do Republicans oppose the majority of Americans enjoying the same growth that their campaign financiers enjoy?



Drop in bucket

Gee, by Nov. 23 the U.S. Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is supposed to come up with a means to reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Isn’t that a huge amount of money?

No, it’s not.

The federal government is very likely to spend more than $30 trillion over the next 10 years. Reducing it by $1.5 trillion would be merely a 5 percent reduction.

I’m sure members of Congress believe that picking a reduction of $1.5 trillion has fooled the taxpayers. Not me. A 5 percent reduction is a drop in the bucket.



Vote for Palestine

The recent vote to accept Palestine as a member state of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a huge step forward in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. UNESCO is a perfect place for Palestine to become a member.

The vote was 107 in favor, 52 abstentions, and 14 “no” votes. Of course, Israel and the United States were two of the “no” votes.

The response of Israel was to accelerate the building of 2,000 housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a violation of international law. There are already more than 500,000 Jews living in settlements in occupied territory — Palestine, the newest state in UNESCO.

The U.S. response was to punish education, science and culture worldwide by withholding a $60 million payment, which represents about 20 percent of UNESCO’s budget. The United States was one of the last countries to defend apartheid South Africa, so are we proceeding down the same path with apartheid Israel?

Let’s vote for full Palestinian membership in the United Nations. Then, under the guidance of international law and the Geneva peace accords, proceed with negotiations between two nations, with common rights, and the goal of peace and prosperity for both nations.



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Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.