Letters to the Editor

Letters on governing for the good of people, decline of Boy Scouts, airline subsidy, Beethoven, KMUW producer

Not governed for good ‘of the people’

How have we missed the fact that arming everyone while cutting back on mental health programs is foolhardy and dangerous? Freedom is not guaranteed; it comes with the requirement to govern responsibly. This doesn’t mean letting everyone do just as he wishes, which is anarchy, but helping citizens be healthy, productive and safe.

I am having trouble with the logic behind what is happening these days. We have people on the government payroll trying to bring down the government, calling our president a liar and trying to erase the constitutional division between church and state. When I was in school all of this would have been labeled treason. How long before we realize that we’re being controlled for a power grab by a few, not governed for the good “of the people”?

If anyone can explain to me logically how all the cutbacks, inflammatory rhetoric and fabricated statistics are good for our state and nation, I’d really appreciate it. I hope there is a reassuring and thoughtful response to my confusion.



Decline of Scouts

In the time following World War II, most boys could not wait to be members of the Boy Scouts. They proudly wore their uniforms as if serving in the military. Summer camp was a great learning experience in nature by learning to camp, hike and identify with many wholesome volunteer adult leaders. Life then was an ascending series of merit badges.

Scouting is no longer the universal experience of young boys, perhaps because of the increasing absence of fathers living in the home. The Scout membership peaked in 1972 at 6.5 million and is today well less than half that number. This decline in membership is likely to accelerate with the impending admission of gay Scout leaders. Besides the lack of interest on the part of young males, sponsorship by various church groups is expected to decline.

Perhaps another organization will arise that will ask its members to take an oath to honor God and country and to be morally straight. If so, the new organization will probably grow at the expense of Scout membership.



Incomplete coverage

An article in the Sunday Eagle about airline subsidies and Southwest Airlines left out a couple of important points.

When the airfare subsidy program was initially being promoted in Wichita, it was proposed that it would be temporary. The subsidized airline was expected to turn the routes profitable in about two years, and the subsidy needed for no more than three years. That was about 15 years and about $70 million ago. Then the article lamented the potential loss of Southwest. But we’d still have Allegiant Air, likely the best low-cost carrier in the industry. Why not let it bring maturity to our airline offerings?

But I was encouraged by one sign of reality setting in. When the subsidy program first began, it was proposed that the low-cost airline would reduce all airfares for Wichita. The article recognized that the low-cost provider would only affect fares among other airlines with flights on the routes it serves. So the measure of impact of losing a low-cost airline is not the fares on the routes it serves, but whether the remaining competing airlines are then making obscene profits on those routes.



Beethoven was black

When I was in high school in Enid, Okla., my band teacher (who was also the English teacher and assistant coach) told me that composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Joseph Haydn were colored men. He said that Beethoven, who was one of Haydn’s pupils, was “real dark.”

Intrigued, I found a biography that quoted his neighbor describing him going off to perform for a local count: “Dressed in green velvet bodice; his hair in a little pig-tail, with his dagger at his side. Complexion: black brown.” Even during his lifetime he was “pictured” as white.

Beethoven’s critics were super harsh, as you might imagine. They said that when conducting, he “jumped up and down like a little monkey.” He was, indeed, the James Brown of his time, turning old, stuffy European music on its head – a “brand new bag,” for sure.

I later discovered that blacks were indigenous to Europe. One of my favorite books is “Ancient and Modern Britons,” in which author David MacRitchie discusses black-European races.

The most lily-white European may have a Beethoven in the closet.



Heim without peer

Our local National Public Radio station, Wichita State University’s KMUW 89.1-FM, is a local treasure. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding professionalism of Chris Heim. She is the producer of the programs “Global Village,” “Night Train” and “Crossroads.” If you love jazz, the blues, or music from around the world, she has a program for you. Her knowledge of music and musicians is without peer.



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