Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on political extremists, working together, shutdown, Syrian refugees, wind energy, ‘dundridge’

How did extremists hijack politics?

I think back on my military service and wonder how things morphed into such political polarization. In the military, I thought of myself as being an American first. I wonder how such small groups of extremists from both political parties have hijacked the political process as to render it abysmal.

I am disturbed that compromise in now considered a dirty word, and negotiation is not an option. I am dismayed by the infantile name-calling I see in blogs and wonder how, after Sept. 11, we can be so divided. Common sense no longer prevails, and news organizations have gone from being actual news presenters to presenters of one-sided political opinion.

I believe that most people fall into the category of moderates. Most people resent the current leadership from both parties and think that term limits are the only solution for the entrenchment that continues to polarize our nation. Perhaps if we all thought of ourselves as Americans first and elected only those truly dedicated to resolving issues rather than creating issues, we would all be better off.

Many of us have heard of the phrase, “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.” My observation of current affairs in Washington, D.C., tells me that we have several real problems.



Work together

It is quite disappointing that members of Congress were not able to come to an agreement to keep our government open. This is simply one more case that proves we need a different group of individuals in Congress to ensure that our country remains great and can pay the bills that Congress has racked up.

No president would negotiate over a signature piece of legislation that he feels is in the best interest of the American people. Doing so would not be wise nor show true leadership. President Bush would not have negotiated over the Patriot Act, and we should not expect different from President Obama.

House Republicans need to pass a clean spending bill to reopen the government, and another to raise the debt limit. The debate to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act needs to end, and our Republican officials from Kansas should lead in taking the president up on his offer to amend the law.

Members of Congress need to stop the political grandstanding, spreading of untruths, and negative attacks and finally work together to move this country forward. Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act needs to be rewritten, the ACA needs to be perfected, drug sentencing needs to be reformed, and immigration needs to be seriously looked at and worked on.



Nothing to prove

Thousands of impoverished Syrians have been forced into foreign refugee camps by their despotic dictator. A letter writer urged the United States to use this crisis as “a great opportunity to show the world what humanitarian help really looks like” (“Bombs not in national interest,” Sept. 15 Letters to the Editor).

But the United States has nothing to prove to the rest of the world. It has a long history of compassionate acts, such as rushing aid to Indonesian tsunami victims and defending defenseless Balkan peasants during armed civil unrest.

I have a better idea. Syria’s oil-rich neighboring countries should provide aid to their unfortunate compatriots in nearby refugee camps. At least they would not have to borrow money to do so, as we would have to do.



Stay shut down

I have a comment about the government shutdown: It’s about time. I think we should shut it down permanently. It wasn’t working all that well anyway.



Homegrown energy

The American Energy Alliance’s letter concerning the federal wind-energy production tax credit was yet-another attempt by an outside organization to influence Kansas politics against our own interest (“Let PTC expire,” Oct. 7 Letters to the Editor).

Wind energy’s development in our state has brought countless economic gains, including manufacturing jobs and a steady source of farm income, while reducing our dependence on finite fossil fuels. With the help of the PTC, the wind industry was able to attract nearly $3 billion in investment in Kansas last year.

That’s $3 billion into our state, kick-starting a new American manufacturing sector and helping secure the Sunflower State’s place in a constantly changing energy landscape. As for cost, the Energy Information Administration recently pegged wind as one of the cheapest sources of energy in the country, second only to natural gas.

We have seen the benefits wind energy has brought to Kansas. With the continued help of the PTC, those benefits will only grow. Contrary to what some out-of-staters might argue, Kansans and wind power together are writing an all-American success story.



New word

Author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is credited with introducing the word “meme” into popular usage. Now he’s proposing that the word “dundridge” find a home in our vocabulary. I, for one, expect to use it. The definition: “a minor official who has no flexibility, no discretion, no humanity.”