Gain a voice at the ballot box
Davis Merritt’s commentaries are typically quite thought-provoking, but “Political ads an ugly avatar of a beautiful idea” (Oct. 28 Opinion) was particularly so.
Recently as I was preparing a lecture, I came across some excellent resources at the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University. My “aha” moment came when I connected the concepts of “culture and subculture” to Merritt’s accounting of how dirty campaign politics have been with us for some time.
But now, as even former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole has attested, the smear tactics and outright lies have become part and parcel of how our political system does its daily business. Culture, including the U.S. culture of politics, is driving our very lives – yet many of us feel that our voices of reason and logic are being shouted down by political machines powered by big money.
Now more than ever, educators must find creative ways to help our students gain insight into how our diversity strengthens us as communities and as a nation; how we can access objective data and use logic models to navigate our way through the sound bites and half-truths; and how through self-advocacy and the power of community we can gain a voice at the ballot box that will be heard above the babel.
Can’t get it right
I have never been more disgusted with Kansas politics. I have been disgusted with politicians many times – mostly due to misrepresentation of facts or outright lying. It is our distasteful job to determine who is lying most and vote for the opponent. I have been doing this to no avail for the past 50 years. Why can we not get it right?
How can that be?
I read “Child poverty in U.S. hits 20-year high” (Oct. 23 Eagle) and asked myself: How can that be? I was in high school when President Johnson announced the war on poverty. When I think of the countless millions of dollars that have been spent on myriads of programs, which we were told would reduce or eliminate poverty, and then am told that it is at an all-time high, it is disheartening, to say the least.
If the federal government has been working on this problem for more than 40 years, and what exists today is a result of that effort, then the idea of setting a national target date for the elimination of poverty and believing the government capable of reaching it by that date is unrealistic and could only come from a deluded mind.
Look – there were poor and impoverished people 40 years ago, they are with us today, and I believe in 40 years they will still be with us. We must stop the course we’re on before we all become poor and impoverished.
There undoubtedly are some things that can be done, and there are some people capable of thinking outside of the box and coming up with valid solutions. But those who did the study quoted in the article weren’t thinking outside the box. They were thinking in the bin – the loony bin.
JERRY W. DAVIDSON
A big “thank you” to everyone who participated in the 11th-annual Down Syndrome Society of Wichita Buddy Walk on Oct. 11. The walk is held during Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October and is celebrated in communities across the United States. We had a record number of participants, 2,200, and more than $80,000 was donated. It is the main fundraising event for the organization and the primary method for educating the public about Down syndrome.
The Down Syndrome Society of Wichita strives to achieve a standard of acceptance and value for all people with Down syndrome, especially when it affects their aspirations and quality of life. We believe everyone who participates in the Buddy Walk shares this vision.
REBECCA J. McCAULLEY
Down Syndrome Society of Wichita
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