“Please stand.” How often have we heard this phrase?
It is the ages-old and ultimate demonstration of honor and respect for someone. Unfortunately, those words exclude and diminish 4 million people in our country who use wheelchairs and possibly an additional 12 million who use canes, crutches or walkers.
As a member of this group, I certainly would honor anyone with applause, a whistle or “whoop-whoop.” But “please stand” excludes me from feeling like I’m part of the audience.
There is a very easy fix to this. Add four small words: “Please stand, if you are able.” By adding this small phrase, it shows everyone in the room that the speaker is sensitive to all people and that he wants to ensure everyone is included.
If you’re an event planner or speechwriter, change the language in your clients’ speeches. If you hear the phrase at your event table, tell your tablemates how much more inclusive the presenter could’ve been by adding the four small words. If you are a minister or pastor, change your language.
Four little words. That’s all it takes. “If you are able” will make everyone feel included and valued.
Rate violent content
I think there is a reasonable solution to the problem of violence — especially gun violence.
Everyone knows about ratings that warn of sex in movies. Why not increase the ratings for violence on movies, video games and television shows?
There should be appropriate ratings on violence, whether visual or auditory. This would stop the propaganda for selling violence as a viable alternative to solving problems.
H. Lon Swearingen
Helping the homeless
I am outraged that the Feb. 5 Star editorial, “Nudging the homeless toward housing,” would condemn well-meaning acts of generosity toward the homeless of the city. Our community is one of the most generous in the nation, and our compassion for those less fortunate, including the homeless, is well-known.
Why would The Star squelch these instincts in favor of city bureaucrats? I can understand one’s unwillingness to sacrifice individuality and personal dignity for institutionalized creature comforts.
Humiliation for a mess of pottage is too high a price for proud veterans and other homeless people to pay. Often, more than food, warmth and shelter, what they need and want is an acknowledgment of their contributions and a need for dignity as human beings.
Too often our bureaucrats see them only as an amorphous, problem-creating group. Like animals being driven to slaughter, it must be hard to feel valued or loved.
Forgive me if I risk enabling a homeless person to buy alcohol or drugs. There is dignity in choosing how to spend one’s resources — a concept that seems to have eluded our bureaucrats and editors.
Donald W. Giffin
Abandon milk habit
A frequent bugaboo was the fiscal cliff. A bigger issue was the “milk cliff,” with the threat of milk prices doubling if Congress had failed to extend dairy subsidies.
Until the farm bill’s extension, some parents planned to forgo other necessities because children “had to have milk.” Dairy products laden with saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones and drugs elevate the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is critical during childhood years when dietary flaws become lifelong addictions.
A study of 12,829 children by Harvard Medical School found that drinking cow’s milk leads to weight gain.
Many blacks and Asian-Americans suffer cramping and diarrhea because they lack the enzyme to digest lactose in cow’s milk.
The good news is that green leafy vegetables and legumes supply all the calcium and proteins touted in cow’s milk, without the excess calories and other yucky factors. Supermarkets offer dairy-free milks, cheeses and ice creams made from healthy nuts and grains.
This is why the government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans shuts dairy (and meat) off the recommended plate of vegetables, fruits and grains.
Cow’s milk is produced for bovines — not babies. Let’s give our kids a healthy start.
Don’t discount history
Last month I watched the History Channel’s “The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents.” The more I watched the more I thought this should be required viewing for members of Congress and the president.
One can only assume those now in office must view themselves smarter than those who went before them, or some didn’t pay attention during history classes.
My favorite line during the program was “The single worst thing the president can do is to try and circumnavigate Congress.” Sound familiar?
The program also mentioned William Jennings Bryan, who three times vied for the presidency. He was such a great public speaker that people would come just to hear him talk.
Search Google for Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech and read the reviews. Bryan was eventually appointed secretary of state.
Let’ review now. Good talker, mesmerized the masses. Holy smoke. We got the right guy but in the wrong job.
Unions under siege
I’m very upset with Kansas deciding it should attack public unions (2-7, Editorial, “Pointless attacks on unions”). Is this the real problem that Kansas should be handling right now?
I’m a police officer of 13 years, and my wife is a public school teacher of nine years. We are both members of local unions.
Rep. Marvin Kleeb is the chair on two bills. One of them attacked all public unions, and the other attacked teacher unions only.
Do you really want to attack professions that help the public? Without the right to collectively bargain, we lose the few rights we have with management.
We also need the union protection from frivolous complaints from citizens and parents, which happen every day.
I have tried to contact Rep. Kleeb for two weeks, and he refuses to return my emails or phone calls. He is hiding behind his secretary, saying he is very busy. Can you explain the lawmaker’s blatant disregard of contacting a taxpaying citizen just because he has a different opinion? Don’t take away our union protection and bargaining rights.
Gail Collins column
Why does Gail Collins find it necessary to write satire about Mitt Romney (2-10, Commentary, “Someday, perhaps we can all enjoy rehabilitation”)?
The election is over. Your guy won. Why not write about all the great things the Obama administration is doing?
Why not tell us how much Obamacare is really going to cost us? Or tell us how great it’s going in Egypt or Syria or Libya, now that President Barack Obama has eliminated Osama bin-Laden and has al-Qaida on the run.
Or tell how the economy is rebounding and roaring back. Or that people are going back to work because of all the magic that Obama worked when the unemployment numbers have either not changed or have gone up since he has been in office.
I guess when the news is not so promising with this president, the media will demonize those on the right to keep the spotlight off Obama, where it rightfully belongs.
This is now his economy. This is now his foreign policy. This is now his budget deficit.
It’s time to see some results. And it’s time for the media to get a radar fix on reality.
Priorities for new pope
Your Feb. 12 editorial, “Pope’s exit offers opportunity,” suggests that the church needs a leader “more in step with how churchgoers really live their lives in the 21st century.” I pray that the church elects a new pope who understands Christians’ need to aspire toward the high standards set forth by Jesus’ teachings, not the other way around.
Amy M. Hart
Rules of good driving
Why is it that all around Kansas City you see people driving cars with either their headlights off after dark and before daylight or they have only one working headlight on their vehicles? Why do they think automobile manufacturers make vehicles with two headlights?
Also, do people not know what that lever on the left side of their steering column is for? It is called a turn signal.
The Missouri driver’s manual instructs motorists to use blinkers when turning or changing lanes. It is a crime to not do so. Where are the police?
Why take time to put up speed-limit signs when people never follow the speed. Again where are the police? What are they being paid to do?
Sit in doughnut shops?
Dear National Rifle Association: On your opposition to background checks, my sister applied for a part-time job in a women’s boutique. Before she was hired to sell women’s handbags and accessories for a few hours a week, the company did a drug test and a background check on her.
Have I made my point?