Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers talk about Trump’s Cabinet, education advocacy, Syria crisis

Cabinet idea

Now that Donald Trump has announced his picks for his Cabinet, we see that it is made up of millionaires and billionaires. Since they obviously do not need the salaries assigned to these Cabinet positions, I suggest they all agree to donate their salaries to worthy nonprofits.

For example, Rex Tillerson (State) could donate to UNICEF or a refugee relief program; Betsy DeVos (Education) could donate to Head Start or another early education organization; Ryan Zinke (Interior) could donate to a group supporting our national parks; Jeff Sessions (attorney general) could donate to the ACLU or another civil rights organization; Andrew Puzder (Labor) could donate to help people get retraining for 21st-century jobs.

The examples of worthy charities are endless. By taking this action, the Cabinet secretaries who do get confirmed will demonstrate they are in this for all the American people and not their own personal agendas.

Sally Stanton

Overland Park

Speak up

If the recent election made us aware of anything, it helped show us why the appearance of not caring is dangerous.

We often avoid talking to one another about things we disagree about for fear of stoking anger, causing sadness or falling out of a relationship. We often choose to avoid this, especially during the holidays with all the other stresses.

But the avoidance of conversation is more damaging than entering into a hard one. My fellow National Education Association-Kansas City, Kan., members and I are working to restart a conversation with the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools USD 500 school board and district administrators.

We’re putting ourselves in uncomfortable positions at board meetings and on the streets to force a dialogue — not so everyone sees it perfectly our way, but to build a bridge where none existed.

We’re working to get our voices in the room as advocates for kids and our profession, to keep teachers in Kansas City, Kan., with a fair contract and to push our district across the divide to a better future.

Michael Rebne

Roeland Park

Syria crisis

In the last year, we have reached our goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees. However, Donald Trump refers to Syrian refugees as a “Trojan horse.”

Because of our next president’s views on Syrian refugees, immigration may cease. Here are three reasons we should still allow a safe place for these refugees:

▪ It’s unlikely that the refugees are members of the Islamic State, because they all must go through a lengthy screening and background check.

▪ Innocent civilians are dying in Syria at alarming rates. With these Syrian deaths every day and the use of chemical weapons, it is important that we provide protection for these people.

▪ More jobs will open up if more Syrians are working in the United States. By their working and consuming our goods and services, more jobs have to be created to supply them.

I believe we, as a nation, should take as many steps as possible to help.

Elizabeth Sullivan


So many labels

As we anticipate a new president in January as well as many new appointed government officials, we expect changes, struggles, tension and arguments among people and groups with differing opinions.

Perhaps we are all tired of the old labels: liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, left wing, right wing. They are not very accurate but tend to immediately polarize and divide our citizens.

May I suggest that we adopt a different label when we talk about the position a person or organization relies on to guide policy or behavior? I hope we will use the term “moral” to judge the policies and actions of our government.

To quote Hubert Humphrey, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

Of course, private charities and families can and do help as much as possible, but there are situations and circumstances that require assistance from a benevolent government.

Gloria Olson