Every day we are reminded of the deep political polarization in this country. Almost nobody, though, seems to realize that such polarization is the logical consequence of our political system.
A de facto two-party system, with its winner-take-all mechanisms instead of proportional representation, and solidified by gerrymandering, does not invite open political discourse with the necessity of compromise. Instead, it makes either side hope and wait for the next victorious election. The Electoral College, with its possible misrepresentation of the real majority, does the rest.
As long as Americans are not willing to look at how other developed nations solve this and other societal problems, there will be the continuation of polarization ad nauseam.
Steve Rose criticized Rep. Melissa Rooker because her effort to fund Kansas schools is based on the school-finance law passed in 1992, which ended the practice of school funding based on the wealth of each district. (March 25, 11A, “Rooker wrong on school funding plan”)
The court ruled the old approach violated the constitutional promise that each child had a right to equal opportunities. Rooker’s work is a push for adequate funding without reverting to the unfairness of the distant past.
Criticism of Rooker is the same as was raised in 1992 — that children in wealthier districts will be harmed by state laws assuring equal opportunities for children in poorer districts.
That criticism implies that if we are OK, then we don’t have to worry about those who aren’t.
Where is the moral fiber in such an approach? Shouldn’t we instead try to work together for good schools for all children in all communities?
We enjoy the benefits our children receive in Johnson County’s good schools. We should want the same benefits for all children, and we should thank and encourage Rooker for recognizing the moral and legal imperatives for fairness for all children, no matter where they live.
Our schools deserve more arts education.
According to Americans for the Arts, Students who are involved in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. Those skills they learn through the arts translate to higher graduation rates and long-term job success. Youths who participate in the arts grow into the innovative thinkers and doers who shape the future of our country.
The arts strengthen the vitality of our communities. When we engage with the arts in a meaningful way, it nurtures our creativity, perseverance and empathy.
We can experience stories vastly different from our own and somehow feel more deeply connected to the world around us. In turn, our involvement in the arts generates billions of dollars in revenue annually.
The undeniable truth is, the arts are good for our community and good for our economy.
Now, more than ever, it is time to recognize that the arts have always been and will continue to be essential. It is time that funding and policies at the federal, state and local levels support the growth of arts organizations in the United States.
It is time to champion the arts; our future depends on it.
On Wednesday morning, an Independence police officer was shot as he served and protected his community. I’m tired of asking why, because there is no answer.
Officers kiss their families goodbye as they leave for work, never knowing if they will return home. They are parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters. T
They are human beings with the same feelings and frailties as the rest of us, yet they do a job most people cannot fathom.
They see and hear things no one should ever have to. They rush into situations as others are running away, and they put their own lives on the line for people they do not even know.
They work in bitter cold, stifling heat, and pouring rain, but do not abandon their posts.
As a nation, we are becoming as complacent and numb to these tragedies as we have to the events of 9/11.
We cannot let this happen. Please keep these brave men and women who have chosen to serve and protect you, their families, and their departments in your prayers and support their efforts in your own communities. At this point it seems that is all we can do.