In 1960, then-Sen. John F. Kennedy used a familiar quotation that is often misattributed to President Abraham Lincoln but is still worthy of consideration: “All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason to America. No line can be drawn between the two.”
We heard much during the last election about the “forgotten man.” For the last 40 years, industry has left America, hollowing out the middle and working classes.
As a result, we have a large low-income working class in this country with stagnant wages, in part because of unskilled illegal immigrants working for less, hired by American employers.
Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower sent legal and illegal immigrants home, not because of bigotry, but because returning service members and U.S. citizens should fill the country’s jobs.
In short, Americans who put other Americans second are treasonous to the country’s labor.
James L. Akinson
Kansas City, Kan.
First, I am not a Democrat. I am a moderate conservative independent. But I believe Sen. Claire McCaskill should be applauded for her actions last weekend.
McCaskill defied her party to help end the ridiculous shutdown. She also made two efforts to amend how such shutdowns might be handled in the future. According to The Star’s article “McCaskill worked behind the scenes to end the shutdown,” (Jan. 23, 2A) she “offered a plan that would have ensured that troops continued to receive pay and benefits despite the shutdown. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell objected and the measure died.”
McCaskill also backed a bill that would have prevented members of Congress from being paid during future shutdowns and said she would donate her own salary to charity until the government reopened.
I acknowledge that McCaskill is a wealthy woman who would hardly miss her Senate paycheck, but how many members of Congress exist at low incomes?
Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to U.S. combat troops in Iraq in effect condemned congressional Democrats for unpatriotically shutting down government, politicizing the budget and withholding pay from the military. (Jan. 22, 5A, “Mike Pence accuses Congress of playing politics with military pay”)
This speech was despicable. Asking active troops to take sides in politics was itself unpatriotic. Doing so based on lies and personal attacks was even worse.
Font of inspiration
The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kan., is dedicated to and celebrates those who have improved the lives of others but have not been recognized.
It sponsors Discovery Awards for students who research unsung heroes such as Irena Sendler, who rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She was unknown to most of the world until three high school girls from rural Kansas uncovered her story, found her still living in Poland and made national and international news with the story. (Sendler died in 2008.)
The center features many others who deserve our respect and admiration. These people are role models for doing the right thing in troubling times. Ordinary people such as Ken Reinhardt and Ann Williams, who befriended and stood up for the African-American students who integrated their Arkansas high school in 1957, facing bullies and threats for doing so. Or Helen Taussig, who despite widespread gender discrimination got a medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1927, helped create the field of pediatric cardiology and developed surgical techniques that have saved millions of children.
Visit this inspiring center. Today, more than ever, we need to celebrate and emulate such heroes.
The worst balderdash I ever heard was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s justification for U.S. military presence in Syria.
On the contrary, Syria is no national security threat to us. Our soldiers aren’t needed to prevent an ISIS resurgence (the Syrian Arab Army is capable). There was no “popular uprising” (it was a foreign invasion). And Syria President Bashar Assad is no murderous despot.
Although President Donald Trump’s campaign promise was “no overthrowing governments,” he’s following his predecessor’s footsteps. The Trump administration urges an international economic boycott of the Syrian government while exerting nonstop pressure on Assad to resign.
U.S. military presence in Syria violates international law while destabilizing the country. Tillerson said our troops won’t leave until Syria’s president is gone. The dirty war on Syria just got dirtier.