I attended the town hall meeting with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver on Feb. 4 and was heartened by the turnout, the vital information and support shared as well as the overwhelming affirmation of the people in attendance toward likely victims of President Donald Trump’s immigrant ban. (Feb. 5, 4A, “Cleaver hears reaction to Trump ban at town hall”)
However one local TV station reported “the division of the country was apparent” and interviewed one man who represented the anti-immigration side of that division.
In fact, only one man rose in opposition. In response a kindly and obviously skilled woman sat down next to him and defused the situation by simply talking with him in quiet conversational tones.
Other than the appearance of some young people who stood up to be heard and tried to circumvent the structured question/answer format of the meeting, this one incident was the extent of the “contentious and divisive” nature of the gathering.
So one objector out of hundreds spoke out in an attempt to disrupt the discussion. You wouldn’t have known that by tuning into one station on Sunday morning.
For some reason the Washington Post syndicated, and The Kansas City Star actually ran, a diatribe by one Ed Rogers purporting to show that celebrity support for Hillary Clinton was counterproductive with the electorate. (Feb. 1, 17A, “Politically illiterate celebrities only embarrass themselves”)
Actual facts directly supporting his thesis: none.
Vaguely relevant facts making the thesis somewhat plausible: one 2014 poll showing that 61 percent of Americans thought Hollywood has too much influence on politics and social values.
Putdowns: hypocritical, fools, not get the memo, divide the country, alienate, looked down upon, self-pity, condescension, didacticism, candy-colored brand, weeping and gnashing of teeth, self-centered, tone deaf, self-righteous rhetoric, overblown, fashionable-on-the-left, media freak-outs, (not) politically literate, whining, panic, tantrums, theatrical outbursts, gratuitously inserting, extremely vulgar and militant, washed-up singer, blowing up the White House, “I swear I’m still relevant,” don’t get it, won’t accept Donald Trump as president.
This kind of thing could be generated mechanically by a radical-right insult machine.
But then I guess it actually was.
A bad lesson
As the president of Safehome, Johnson County’s domestic violence agency, I was dismayed by the “Dustin” comic strip in the Feb. 6 comics pages. The strip shows two boys discussing that when someone hits you, it means that person likes you.
Hitting is never a sign of love, affection or respect. Unfortunately, the belief that physical, emotional or sexual control conveys love often leads to teen dating violence, sexual assault, domestic violence and even homicide.
Fortunately, Safehome provides education about healthy relationships to teens through a school-based curriculum, peer education program and an award-winning teen theater performance.
For more information, or if you or someone you care about is experiencing relationship abuse, please visit Safehome’s website at www.safehome-ks.org, or call Safehome’s 24-hour hotline at 913-262-2868.
Johnson County, Kan.
State Rep. Rick Brattin’s recently proposed legislation to eliminate tenure for Missouri professors would be terrible for the state university system. (Feb. 1, KansasCity.com, “Legislator wants to hand a pink slip to guaranteed job security at Missouri colleges”)
The job market for professors is already poor, and eliminating tenure would cause an already troubled university system to have even more difficulty hiring good professors.
Brattin appears to live in a bubble of privilege where he doesn’t understand the necessity Missouri families have for SNAP benefits or professors’ need for job security.
Indeed, it has become the norm for rich, right-leaning politicians to enter public service to serve the interest of their rich, right-leaning friends.
Cutting state spending is an effort to cut taxes, but not for working-class or poor people. Everyone loves the idea of paying less in taxes, but people who vote on this issue never realize that the rich guy in the purple tie is only trying to lower his own tax burden by cutting holes in the safety net and limiting the opportunities provided by public education.