King holiday, Lenexa police, Sen. Pat Roberts

01/19/2014 5:00 PM

01/17/2014 11:16 PM

Dreams still needed

In 2014, we should promise ourselves to regain our ability as a nation to simply dream, and as we dream, we must dream without concern of current reality.

As a nation, we have succumbed to reality.

Our dreams are essentially what have made our country great. They are what drive thousands of people here daily.

Two brothers dreamed of flying, and eventually they used their God-given abilities to make flying a reality.

Groups of Americans dreamed of landing on the moon, and a young president gave that dream to a nation. Years later, an American astronaut stepped foot on the moon.

Now our best and brightest scientists are exploring the outermost regions of our solar system, galaxy and universe.

A young preacher spoke about a dream he had where black people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Although we have not achieved his dream, we have made great strides in race relations. We can no longer allow the current reality hinder the magnificent potential of our dreams.

We cannot set our dreams to meet reality. Instead we must force reality to fit our dreams.

Brandon Johnson

Wichita Finding justice

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the arc of human history tends to bend in the direction of justice, but people of good will must labor and sacrifice to make this progress toward fairness and inclusion a reality.

The Affordable Care Act, despite its flaws and bitterly intense opposition from political critics, will eventually be a force bending this curve toward the righteousness and fairness we Americans claim to be central to our unique status as the shining light upon the hill that the rest of the world looks up to.

We will eventually free ourselves from the political weeds that entangle us in all the arguments for why the law won’t work.

If we were able to muster the political will and resources to conduct two wars simultaneously halfway around the world in the previous decade, I am confident we will be able to do what the rest of the developed world’s democracies have already done — provide health care to all our citizens.

Anything less is a betrayal of our Founding Fathers’ values, which the opponents of the Affordable Care Act so often cite in their political discourse.

Michael Quinn

Liberty Caring police

I recently was on my way to work, traveling in the 7900 block of Quivira Road in Lenexa, when I noticed a traffic jam ahead. When I finally inched my way up to what was causing the slowdown, I saw a burly Lenexa police officer standing over a cat that had been run over.

The officer’s patrol car, with its lights flashing, blocked other vehicles from running over the cat. It appeared that the officer may have been waiting for an animal-control unit to come and pick up the cat.

Despite the many stressful situations to which police officers are often subjected, it is good to see that some police officers still have a place in their hearts and time for a stricken animal.

Norman Martin

Shawnee Keep blaming Bush

Is there any way we could blame former President George W. Bush for Obamacare?

Robert G. Drayer

Gladstone Senator’s weakness

One year ago in January, Sen. Pat Roberts chose to side with President Barack Obama as opposed to fighting for the interests of Kansans.

He voted for the “fiscal cliff” increase that raised taxes by perhaps $600 billion and negatively hit 80 percent of Kansas families. Then he had the audacity to call it “tax relief.”

That tax increases hurt families across our great state.

Sen. Roberts owes Kansans an apology. He owes Kansans the simple admission that it was a costly mistake.

The fiscal-cliff tax increase highlights the reason I am running for the U.S. Senate. We deserve a conservative fighter in the Senate, not a go-along-to-get-along career politician.

I am a doctor, not a politician. Growing up, I learned the value of hard work on a family farm, and today I know the hard work of meeting a small-business payroll in a medical practice. I call on Sen. Roberts to apologize to the 80 percent of hard-working Kansas families who had to find a way to cover that damaging tax increase while Washington refused to find a way to stop spending.

Milton Wolf

Leawood Chrostowski column

A very important discussion took place Jan. 14 in The Star’s Business section.

Keith Chrostowski, “Rhetoric ruins call for reform,” discussed an article by Jesse A. Myerson (“Five economic reforms millennials should be fighting for,” published in Rolling Stone). Although describing Myerson’s essay (quite accurately) as “a call to revolution wrapped in anti-capitalist rhetoric,” Chrostowski provided an even-handed assessment of Myerson’s ideas.

A box within the article offered a brief summary of a conservative reply to Myerson (quite revealing of the right-wing agenda), basically proposing tax breaks and subsidies for businesses and an end to welfare.

As a centrist, I believe that if Myerson’s first proposed reform (guaranteed work for everybody) were to be fully and effectively implemented, by making the federal government the employer of last resort and putting every able-bodied American to work on socially useful jobs that paid a living wage, his other reforms would be unnecessary.

A primary focus of these public-sector jobs should be the development of clean, alternative sources of energy. Things are going to get a whole lot worse for future generations if climate change is not addressed effectively and immediately.

Winston Apple

Independence KC schools redo

The new plan recently advanced for Kansas City Public Schools is short on concrete details (1-14, A1, “School system revamp floated”).

Let’s tear up the school district for charter-type schools that we do not know who will run or whether there will be enough nonprofits to accommodate the school population involved.

Let us disassemble a dedicated staff of teachers and throw them to the wolves. Let the new and unknown nonprofits set new salary levels and curriculum.

Does anyone seriously think this is a winning formula? Remember the adage that says a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, or recall the Westport school experience.

The nonprofit record in the Westport experiment included lower test scores than the Kansas City district, questionable financial problems and finally two vacant buildings.

Educating youths will always be a worthwhile challenge, and the present Kansas City district is making progress. Maybe not as much as some would expect, but we are moving forward.

Clark Shannon

Kansas City Help South Sudan

As violence rages across South Sudan, the United Nations is providing refuge to tens of thousands of civilians. Among those serving in the U.N. peacekeeping mission there is Maurice Brooks, a Kansas Citian.

Maurice is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having retired in 2008 as a senior non-commissioned officer at Whiteman Air Force Base. For more than three years, Maurice has been a civilian member of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan, now the U.N. mission in South Sudan.

He was out of that country when violence erupted, but when other internationals were being evacuated, Maurice returned to his base in Juba (peacekeepers, like firemen, go into places others seek to flee) and was put in charge of organizing food distribution to the thousands of civilians taking refuge there. Aid is being provided under the most difficult of circumstances.

We are proud of Maurice and his colleagues in the U.N. mission in South Sudan. They are international civil servants and humanitarians of the highest and noblest order.

The U.N. mission urgently requires reinforcements, including international troops and police, as well as humanitarian supplies and workers.

We are confident the United States will be foremost among those nations coming to its assistance.

Jay Sjerven

Leawood

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