Behind the holiday
The Fourth of July is here, and again we ask ourselves, “What does it mean?” We know it means fun in the sun, sales galore and family get-togethers.
But this year especially, we need to evaluate the true symbolism of this hallowed day: the anniversary of the day when 56 men signed their names on a paper declaring they would not accept things as usual. Their work did not end in 1776, nor the next year.
In fact, it continues each year.
Where is that sturdy yardstick that measures the strength of our democracy? Fortunately, it lies in the hands of the people, and it appears now they are ready to use it. To say stop to inhumane immigrant policies; to try to prevent more mass shootings; to keep the hands of foreigners out of our economy; to bring sensible solutions to complex military problems; and through the United Nations to influence the terrible situations in Syria, Africa and Central America.
This is the real meaning of the Fourth of July. Thank you to the brave signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Now, Americans, you can go to the lake, the shopping center or the family picnic.
For the workers
In her June 29 commentary lauding the Supreme Court’s recent Janus vs. AFSCME decision, Megan McArdle neglects to mention one key fact: In a unionized workplace, the union is required by federal law to represent all the workers. (13A, “Should you care Abood has died?”)
That means that regardless of whether they join the union or pay union dues, all workers benefit from the efforts of the union, including union-negotiated wages, benefits and grievance procedures. Requiring workers who do not join the union to pay an agency fee toward the costs of the union’s efforts on behalf of those workers, whom the union is required by law to represent, is basic fairness.
On Aug. 7, Proposition A will be on the ballot in Missouri. Defeating this measure would maintain the basic fairness of agency fees for private-sector labor unions in Missouri.
Please support Missouri’s workers by voting no on Proposition A.
The recent treatment of my colleague Andrea Martinez has raised the temperature and raised the awareness of the need for accompaniment of every person who goes to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (June 27, 1A, “ICE agent accused of assaulting lawyer while deporting mom, child”)
Our American Immigration Lawyers Association chapter’s position is this: The behavior of an ICE officer on June 26 in Kansas City was unacceptable. Violence against attorneys performing their job duties will not be tolerated.
Martinez was surrendering her 3-year-old client to ICE when she was assaulted by an ICE officer. Having people with cameras witness its efforts to deport a pregnant woman may be stressful for the agency, but there is no justification for the use of force against attorneys representing clients. If ICE behaves this way toward lawyers while the cameras are rolling, there is no doubt that the most vulnerable are suffering far worse abuses while in custody.
We do not blame government officials for doing their jobs when they do so professionally. We do expect the same treatment for ourselves and our clients as fellow human beings. We all deserve nothing less.
Angela J. Ferguson
Is this new math?
State Rep. Scott Schwab and Secretary of State Kris Kobach claim that voter fraud is a serious problem in Kansas. Three years ago, Kobach got authorization to prosecute voter fraud here. He has to date convicted 10 people of voter fraud over four election years. That’s fewer than three fraudulent voters per election.
An average of a little more than a million Kansans voted in those four elections. The closest Kansas election in 2016 was House District 119 (Dodge City) where 133 votes decided the race. So three fraudulent votes couldn’t possibly have affected the outcome of any Kansas race that year.
To save us from those three fraudulent votes, Schwab and Kobach interfered with the voting registrations of 17,000 Kansans. Who thinks these numbers add up?
The Star has reported that Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas has gone to Moscow and hopes to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that meddling in U.S. elections is unacceptable. (July 1, 20A, “Jerry Moran has something to say to Putin”)
Later this month, imagine how bewildered Putin will be when President Donald Trump goes to meet with him and thanks him for all his help.