Letters to the Editor

Gas prices, U.S. exceptionalism, Syria

Updated: 2013-09-16T22:56:21Z

Anti-Catholic bias

Father Shawn Ratigan received a 50-year sentence for his crime (9-13, A1, “Priest is given 50-year penalty”). In the same news cycle, several individuals received sentences of five to 20 years for kidnapping and sexual torture of a woman.

Does it appear to anyone else that the federal judges are coming down much more heavily on the Catholic church?

Jim Fern

Overland Park

Gasoline price swings

I wonder what the excuses will be for the retail gas-price increases lately. Probably the same claptrap as usual.

Bob Buxbaum

Lee’s Summit

U.S. foreign aid

Where do we get the money to send overseas? Do we borrow it from China to give it away?

Nita Johnson

Butler, Mo.

Punishing Syria

I think that the situation in Syria is too much for the U.S. to get involved with.

While I am an supporter of President Barack Obama, I disagree with the way he is handling it. He became president to get us out of wars, not create them. I think he is afraid that Syrian President Bashar Assad will not only continue an attack on his people, but on the Israelis as well.

I understand Obama wants to protect the Israelis. However, I think this goes against everything that Obama stood for while running for office.

I don’t see Assad as someone who is threatened by our threats. He seems like someone who wants to flex his muscles and won’t back down.

I think this is going to backfire greatly. However, I don’t think it is easy to just sit back and pretend like nothing is happening.

This is an issue of human rights. Syria must be punished.

Jonathan Ediger

Kansas City

U.S. exceptionalism

Dear Mr. Vladimir Putin,

I want to help you with a translation of a term you used that you got horribly wrong: American exceptionalism.

It’s not about us thinking we are better, superior or smarter or that God prefers us over any other country.

It’s that throughout history most people have lived in abject fear of their leaders who held power over them through a kingdom, dictatorship or the like. Life was a desperate search for food and basics just to survive.

Then came our Constitution. Simply stated, it was the first time the individual was placed supreme in a government in which leaders were there to serve the people. The nature of the human spirit, which yearns to be free to pursue its interests and achievements, was let loose to create the most amazing country the world has ever seen.

I don’t believe I need to cite examples here, although that precious essence of our country seems to be crumbling as our left-thinkers seek to make the government supreme.

Del Hoge Smith

Overland Park

Better gun laws

By just one vote, Missourians were spared the ramifications of the gun nullification bill, designed to nullify federal gun laws in Missouri (9-13, Editorial, “Reason prevails on guns, taxes and union rules — barely”). It is shocking that this clearly unconstitutional law passed, as it included a regulation forcing local officials to arrest any federal officials trying to enforce U.S. weapons laws.

Our legislators took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and they violated that oath by this attempt to nullify federal law. We saw legislators who either fear their constituents and dare not vote for any gun control measures or are rabid in their rejection of gun control efforts.

And these legislators will be back with another attempt at passing a gun nullification bill.

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence is a recently formed local chapter of the organization founded after the Newtown, Conn., tragedy. We are not against guns, but are against gun violence.

Therefore we support laws making gun ownership safe and legal by requiring background checks for gun purchases, registering guns transported across state lines and making gun trafficking a federal crime. We invite everyone who shares these views to join us (you don’t have to be a grandmother — we welcome people of both sexes and all ages!)

Let us know of your interest at moksgag@gmail.com.

Judy Sherry

Kansas City

Susan Blaney

Prairie Village

Health care vote

Two hundred twenty-eight Republican politicians voted no on the Affordable Care Act. Ironically, these same Republican officeholders accept government-funded health insurance, Social Security and lifelong benefits for themselves and family members.

They also benefit from contributions from their friendly lobbyists so eager to safeguard corporate interests at the epicenter of the rage against American citizens buying into affordable health insurance. The “no” politicians claim a strong sense of moral and religious belief guiding their “well-considered” votes, for the “benefit of their constituents.”

This being the case, these representatives should forgo any personal government benefits (health care, Social Security, etc.) to demonstrate their strong conviction against this “wasteful spending on health care for all citizens.” This would go a long way in helping to balance the budget.

All Americans in favor of equal-opportunity affordable health care should hold those officeholders accountable..

Aryn Roth

Kansas City

Compulsory voting

With all the restrictions being placed upon voting rights, we should be doing the exact opposite.

In 31 countries voting is mandatory. If you do not vote in Australia, you are fined the U.S. equivalent of $20. If you do not pay this fine, you can be imprisoned. Because of this compulsory voting, 95 percent of the population votes.

Belgium has the oldest existing mandatory voting, which was introduced in 1892 for men and 1949 for women.

In Bolivia, if a voter fails to take part in the polls, he is denied withdrawal of his salary from the bank for three months.

In many of these countries, elections are held on Saturdays and Sundays for working people. They also have mobile voting booths that accommodate those in hospitals and nursing homes.

Today, voting restrictions may not affect you personally. However, tomorrow that could change. With more and more states enacting laws chipping away voting rights, you personally could be affected.

Barbara Nolan

Lenexa

Privacy erosion

The citizens of this country have a reasonable expectation of privacy around our email. Why is that so hard to understand?

The idea that other people might be collecting my data and reading private messages is frightening. The fact that the National Security Agency can listen to my cellphone is even more abhorrent.

Rep. Sam Graves has represented me for more than a decade. I believed in his ability to protect my rights.

How can he support this wholesale surveillance of American citizens by voting against amendments to limit these programs? How can any of our representatives?

For the first time, I find myself supporting Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, and it’s startling.

Craig Rickel

Kansas City

Excited sports fans

I am a diehard Chiefs and Royals fan, born and raised in Kansas City. Being 17 years old, I have grown up in the “disappointing” sports era in Kansas City.

This is the first year I can honestly say that I was looking forward to the Chiefs season because of the tremendous changes made in the roster and coaching staff in the offseason.

I have hope in the Royals at the beginning of almost every season, but I eventually give up on them after July because of their poor performance.

I want Kansas Citians to show more enthusiasm and better support for our professional sports teams. After all, the last time the Royals had a shot at the postseason, they won the World Series.

Good performances by Kansas City’s sports teams are back. Let’s prove to everyone we have the best fan base in the country.

Matthew Koehler

Leawood

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