Letters to the Editor

Voters, American dream, public schools

Updated: 2014-01-03T00:50:32Z

Educating voters

As a high school student, I am sad to find that after a bit more than half a semester in an American government course as well as some self-encouraged political learning, I’m more educated on the inner workings of the complex (and relatively stagnant) system that is the United States’ government than a decent portion of the population. I see a large problem with that.

Missouri could start changing this for the better, perhaps leading a movement toward more educated and thus more democratically active citizens — all by simply starting to educate children in basic politics and government functions at a younger age in schools throughout the state.

Many adults today are confused by and disinterested in politics and government operation, but it must be made priority for later generations to understand the American government if Missouri and the country as a whole want to move forward more efficiently. Here’s hoping for a future with less stagnant government.

Miguel Román

Liberty

The American dream

I am elated that the Women’s Foundation of Kansas City is focusing some of its efforts on the Latina community here.

I’m a young, proud, Latina and privileged enough to have been born into a legally documented family. My family always strives to provide me with great opportunities and emphasizes the idea that my heritage serves to make me a unique individual.

I’ve never felt that my cultural background was detrimental but I’m afraid the same cannot be said about Latinas who aren’t afforded the same opportunities as I.

I think it’s deplorable that we allow some of our fellow Americans to live in poverty simply because they don’t speak enough English or don’t have legal documentation. And, yes, I do consider undocumented immigrants my fellow citizens.

To my mind, a lack of documentation doesn’t merit a lack of respect.

I believe most illegal immigrants come to America in search of a better life. They don’t have the luxury of becoming verified citizens. They just want what we all want — a comfortable and secure life for their family.

America seems like the place where their dreams can become reality. I suggest we keep it that way.

Libby Torres

Kansas City

Fixing public schools

Thank you for publishing the Dec. 29 editorial, “Fix state law to help Kansas City district serve students,” on the difficulties in our public schools. There is no fundamental reason schools in hardscrabble neighborhoods must continue to flounder.

Unless, of course, you think that laws, attorneys and more promulgated statutes can get us out of this longstanding mire of mediocrity. If you believe that our educational fixes are legislative, then you don’t know much about education.

We will save a lot more kids with love than we ever will with legislation.

Solutions to our educational difficulties were not contained on your editorial page. No, the solution was actually articulated in Sam Mellinger’s Dec. 29 piece, “Simply red,” on Andy Reid and his case to be named NFL Coach of the Year.

Reid was the perfect choice for coaching our professional football team. Reid’s philosophy in coaching his players: Have fun. Show your personality. Do your work. We trust you.

When we trust our teachers to instruct academics in this manner, we cannot miss. But until then, the lawyers, the consultants and the legislators are going to perpetuate educational mediocrity and instructional inadequacy.

Steve Roberts

Overland Park

Sexual assault case

I’m well aware that I’m behind on this issue but I think this still needs to be said. Thank you.

Thank you for investigating what happened in Maryville, Mo., and thank you for helping the Coleman family have a larger voice. I have never been in the position that the Coleman family was in but I’ve been in a situation similar, and the media attention was the best thing for the case.

When sexual-assault victims are attacked and pulled apart, whether online or in person, they begin to lose hope. I’m deeply sympathetic to Daisy and the whole Coleman family, and now very happy that they are receiving more of the support they need from people all over the U.S. and the world.

I hope justice is served and the family finds some peace, but, most important, I am thankful that this story found daylight outside of the Maryville community.

Adrianna Ohmes

Independence

Antibiotics in animals

As a hog farmer, I wanted to provide perspective regarding Lewis Diuguid’s Dec. 12 blog bit, “Higher costs for meat could result from FDA change.”

Antibiotic use in agriculture has been a contested topic in recent months. I’m concerned with discussions surrounding studies attempting to link antibiotic use in animals to antibiotic-resistant bacteria infecting humans.

It’s simply not true. There have been no clinical cases of MRSA — the bacteria responsible for several human infections — related to U.S. livestock.

On our farm, we provide the best care for our hogs, including use of antibiotics. We don’t administer antibiotics just for the sake of it but only when absolutely necessary, and under veterinarian supervision. We believe that healthy animals are the basis for a safe food system.

It’s frustrating when people connect antibiotic resistance to the fact that 80 percent of the antibiotics in the U.S. are for animal use. There are about 10 billion farm animals and 316 million humans in the U.S., so of course it makes sense that the majority of antibiotics are for farm animals.

Instead of pointing fingers at the medical or agriculture communities, the industries should collaborate. Only when we look at the entire role antibiotics play will we determine what risks exist and how to reduce them.

Chris Chinn

Clarence, Mo.

Obamacare thoughts

There are three things to point out about the Affordable Care Act:

• I call out the Democratic leadership for dropping the ball after lawmakers pushed this legislation through Congress. The deplorable lack of information or support of this bill cost them dearly in the last elections. If they had stood by the law and promoted it, perhaps we’d see a different attitude from the public today.

• The Republicans would like us to believe that President Barack Obama enacted it on his own. It’s an insult to every American that they think we can be fooled by these deceptive tactics.

• The rollout of this law has been subjected to obstruction by the Republican Party. A major component is for each state to set its own insurance exchanges. But many Republican governors turned that responsibility back to the federal government, waiting until the last minute to make this decision. This delay prevented insurance companies from getting information out.

Give the law a chance for millions of Americans. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Barbara Belt

Prairie Village

Kennedy, service

We can honor the legacy of President John F. Kennedy 50 years after his death by serving in the Peace Corps — which Kennedy founded — or other similar cross-cultural program.

Serving others, at home or abroad, can make excellent use of one’s abilities — or provide a chance to learn new ones.

Such programs can use our time more nobly and change a piece of the world for the better.

Volunteering is a great way to make contacts, meet people from various cultures and learn of jobs never before encountered.

The Peace Corps offers a small stipend, while other organizations require the volunteer to meet all expenses.

However, because many job-seekers look to graduate school and its steep financial demands without batting an eye, an investment in a cross-cultural experience can yield much more fruitful dividends at a fraction of the cost.

President Kennedy challenged us with the words, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Those were bold words in our self-centric society.

But what an excellent way to pay tribute to a figure we remember so vividly, half a century later.

Terry Clevenger

Leawood

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