Doing what’s right before it’s popular
One of my earliest school memories was a kindergarten classmate’s dinner invitation. Adults around me seemed pleasantly stunned. I was confused.
But it was the early 1970s, schools had only recently dropped its long fight against integration, and the invitation came from a white, west side home to my African American home in northeast Wichita.
But all that mattered to Sharon Wasson, my classmate’s mother, was that Dana had invited me to a pint-sized version of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”
This sort of thing just wasn’t done then.
Unless you were Mrs. Wasson.
When Dana’s older brother invited a black child to a sleepover and her mother’s friends belched, “You have a daughter, why would you allow a black boy over?” Mrs. Wasson welcomed the boy.
She represented the American values people so ravenously proclaim but so rarely live up to. We need a million Sharon Wassons, but we’ve lost the one good one we had. She died recently at age 81.
I’m a better man because she smiled at me when I was a child when society recommended she sneer.
We can all learn something from her beauty and compassion.
Sometimes, all we need is an invitation.
Mark McCormick, Wichita
Pay is key to better labor force
Much has been made of a skilled-worker shortage in our area, with proposed solutions involving redesigns of our educational system, tax incentives for worker training, and more. But the real solution, and the only solution that will work, is much simpler — raise wages and salaries of workers.
Labor is a commodity, and its value is set by supply and demand. The great recession reduced labor demand and wages fell. As the economy has recovered, wages have remained flat. It is a problem that will not get any better if we try to help employers get around increasing pay by offering alternative solutions covered by taxpayer funds.
If Kansas has a brain-drain problem, the fix is in worker pay — workers go where the money is. It is alarming to me that worker pay has not even been mentioned in the various articles about worker shortages, but it seems to be indicative of the business climate that exists in America today.
Patrick Mathew, Derby
Shooting won’t change anything
Oh yes, it’s terrorism all right. But it’s not Muslim terrorism. This is one of our home-grown militants armed to the teeth, thanks to the access afforded us by the National Rifle Association.
Will this finally be the one that results in restrictions imposed on our open sale of killer weapons? No, the NRA is attached to our congressmen like life support. So simply say, “Thank you, NRA, for this carnage and the many more to come.”
Beth Vannatta, Halstead
Shooting shouldn’t change anything
The crime scene in Las Vegas is still cordoned off, but the Democrats have already responded in typical fashion. It’s time to disarm everybody because of one deranged individual. Calling this the worst mass shooting in American history, they clamor for legislation which everybody knows will fail.
When the liberals in government start calling for Waffengesetz (a Nazi term for disarming the populace), those of us who know better issue a challenge: Go ahead and try it.
Michael Mackay, Mulvane
The greatest generation
Several days ago, the last of my father’s immediate family, his youngest brother, died in his early 90s. A wonderful man, he had been a bomber pilot in World War II. My father and all four of his brothers served. I find it miraculous that all were there long term and saw combat in either European or Pacific theaters, yet all survived. Now that all five and their sisters are all gone, several things have been going through my mind.
Tom Brokaw called it “The Greatest Generation.” I heartily agree. They served with distinction and they were so young. But perhaps what is more remarkable is how these men and women lived in peacetime. These men and women came home upright, honorable citizens who became leaders in their churches, communities and in government. They served our nation in peace with the same distinction they had shown in the war. I admire and love them for this.
If you know a vet of any war, let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifice.
Douglas Simpson, Wichita
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