Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on vulnerability, Xanax, food stamps, political donations and respect for the presidency

My plea

At age 16, I cannot vote, but I feel compelled to have my voice and my pleas heard.

To black males: that you can one day walk down the street the same way I can as a white male.

To my sister: that gender equality will be achieved.

To the LGBT community: that one day you need not fear persecution and hatred.

To the people of Bangladesh: that you will survive the changing climate.

To Muslims: that someday, you need not fear being called terrorists.

To mothers: that your children will live in a better world than the one we inhabit.

To Pope Francis: that you ask God to forgive my fellow Catholics who forgot how to love thy neighbor.

To impoverished and working-class Americans: I fear that, like always, you will feel the biggest impacts of the economic hurt on our country.

To America: that we can acknowledge and fix our racially biased society.

To all those who voted for Donald Trump: that you will one day find empathy for your fellow human beings.

To all who have been demeaned, marginalized and fooled: that by the time I can vote, we will have a brighter future in sight.

Daniel Bauman

Kansas City

Xanax vs. serenity

I chuckled at Lee Judge’s editorial cartoon about Xanax prescriptions rising after the election (11-10, 6A), but as a psychiatrist I wanted to respond.

Xanax (generic alprazolam) is already the most prescribed psychiatric medication, with more than 40 million prescriptions a year. It is very effective for short-term relief of anxiety, fearfulness, nervousness and worry because it is well tolerated and works quickly, but it has an important side effect: It is very habit-forming.

Please do not ask your physician to prescribe Xanax as a long-term treatment for anxiety. Rather, consider learning stress management, coping skills and relaxation techniques to achieve the serenity needed to accept the things you cannot change.

Brent Menninger,


Overland Park


As the year-and-a-half campaign season comes to a close, a fear of the future looms for many Americans. I’m grateful that our president-elect has vowed to make this country great for all Americans, and that he’s called on us directly to offer him guidance and help in ensuring his success as the upcoming leader of this great nation.

We must hold him, like all elected officials, accountable for his actions on matters of health and safety. Health, for example, starts with consistent, nutritious diets.

Many efforts focus on fighting food insecurity in this country, but few are more effective or as efficient as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program. In Kansas, nearly 74 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children, and almost 31 percent are in families that include the elderly or disabled.

As we move into the lame-duck session of Congress, please urge your representation to protect SNAP from spending cuts and block grants. We must protect each others’ right to eat amid this transition of power.

Christine Rock


Political money

The Star noted recently that some $6.5 billion was spent on campaigns for national office this year. If you don’t use a phone or the internet, listen to radio or watch TV, that might surprise you.

But to those of us who do stay informed, such a large amount is not surprising. And those of us on either side of the political spectrum who reflect on it realize that all but a small portion of those billions of dollars is a waste of productive resources.

The people can be informed for a fraction of that amount. Billions extra are spent when that money could go to research and productive commercial enterprises.

Let’s change this imbalance. For our economic well-being, it is time to limit money in political campaigns.

Steve Schwegler


Protect the QB

I have often been tempted to contact the National Football League regarding the safety of Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. He is not being protected. I would ask the NFL to review the film of quarterbacks being hit.

Quarterbacks who run are not protected like those who don’t, but when they are giving themselves up, they should not be contacted at all.

I was tempted to contact the league before the game against Indianapolis, but that game further exemplified the problem. Not only was Smith hit twice, but both times he was contacted in the head.

The first one, if I viewed it correctly, was a helmet-to-helmet hit. The second one, a player used Smith’s head to push off on to stand up. Neither hit was flagged, and each resulted in concussion protocol for Smith.

I have watched numerous NFL games and have a pretty good idea of what is flagged and what is not. Smith is not being protected like many other quarterbacks.

I personally think he should be more vocal, and so should coach Andy Reid. That being said, neither should have to be vocal; the rules should be enforced.

My two cents.

Jim Ehrenreich

Lee’s Summit

Show respect

I’m sad much of our nation is in mourning.

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. His disrespectful, bullying and condescending demeanor are not qualities I seek in a presidential candidate. But we live in a democracy, and the choice has been made. Made in the same way as when Barrack Obama defeated Mitt Romney.

This is not politics as usual, with lifelong politicians being our only options for leadership. Trump hasn’t held a public office, but he has run several successful (and unsuccessful) business ventures.

Isn’t learning from our failures one of the things that make us great? I certainly want a president who can overcome failures.

I am sad for my friends whose candidate did not win. Mine didn’t either. But we need to focus on moving forward. Being a sore loser isn’t how you learn and grow.

Give our new leader the same respect as leaders before him. Give him a chance to move us toward a positive future. Give him the opportunity to fail or succeed before we persecute him.

And let this election ignite a fire in our youth to be the change they want to see in the world.

Renee Frank


Sales taxes

I have lived in many states that do not tax food; Kansas does not happen to be one of them. Every time I buy a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk or almost anything else at the grocery store and pay a nearly 10 percent tax, I think of people less fortunate than me.

It seems wrong that our politicians who claim to care about the poor and the disadvantaged cannot see that charging a huge tax on essential food items is insane. Government at all levels continue to spend more money than they have coming in, so I get the need for more and more revenue But let’s figure a way to do it without taxing essential food items.

Terry Spandet