Letters to the Editor

Readers react to Pope Francis, the Missouri legislature and Kansas voters

Pope Francis, Earth

In his encyclical, “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis has beautifully and powerfully written about the moral dimensions and dangers of our violation of the environment.

The cultural trance that makes us exploit and separates us from the environment, and from one another, deceives us like the devil himself.

There are three dimensions in which the sacred is revealed: nature, personhood and community. Mahatma Gandhi used the term “swaraj” (self-rule) to unite the Asian understanding of managing one’s own personhood with Western-style social urges in the political Indian movement seeking independence from Britain.

Now Pope Francis, by addressing the environment, approaches unifying all three dimensions of the sacred and offers us a fresh chance to see the underlying interdependence that is the fundamental character of all that exists.

If Francis helps us wake from the cultural trance that has been disastrously deepened by greed and willful ignorance, we may yet escape the doom the signs for which are all around us.

Instead we may come closer to sharing and celebrating the miracle of abundant life.

Vern Barnet

Kansas City

Legislative woes

In response to recent letters and editorials concerning the problems running rampant in Jefferson City, I, too, have witnessed it all, and especially the political under-the-table actions of some legislators whose power and ego just reek of corruption.

As an activist for adult adoptees born in Missouri, I stress the past session as a perfect example of this definition.

HB 647 was written to open original birth certificates for adult adoptees and was sponsored by five House members and given to a committee chaired by a legislator from Camdenton, who evidently had plans to derail the bill.

When asked by two activists why she wouldn’t let it come to a vote, she became rude and walked out of the office. She did the same in one public hearing.

If she had political or personal reasons to do what she did, she should have the honesty and integrity to back up her actions.

Again, this shows how politicians use their offices for their own benefit and don’t listen to constituents.

Missouri legislators must stop the discrimination of adult adoptees because of their birth history. It is a basic civil right to have that piece of paper.

Ina Lewis

Lee’s Summit

Year of service?

Regarding Dan Glickman’s June 22 As I See It essay, “A year of national service,” so this is what it’s come to: a culturally expected year of required service.

Why, kids would have the great fortune to waste 2 percent of their adult lives being browbeaten by bureaucrats in order to understand how society works.

In other words, they would be forced to understand how important government is. And if they really, really get it and are good at it, they can — wait for it — run for office.

Here’s a different view on how young people can become a benefit to society. Work hard in school, graduate with a valuable degree in college, get a good job and don’t burden your fellow citizens. Make or offer something that someone else will pay for. Be an asset to the world instead of a drain.

And finally, here’s a different idea for forcing citizens to do what they might not otherwise want to do. Instead of forcing private citizens to perform social work, force politicians to spend a year working in the private sector to see and feel what it’s like to actually produce something of value.

On second thought, make it six months. I’m sure that’s all the private sector could take.

David Rose

Fairway

Thanks to Kansans

Thanks Kansas voters for electing Sam Brownback to two terms as your governor. As a Missourian and an independent, I feel your pain.

But you can take consolation in what you have done for the rest of the nation.

As you know, Brownback did not intend to end his political career as a two-term governor.

His sights were set on the White House. His actions have guaranteed that his ambitions will never be fulfilled.

Also, he has shown Missouri voters, and those in other states, that when their legislators cut taxes on the well-to-do and the wealthy, they have to make up the revenue loss by raising taxes on the poor and middle class. Also it is necessary to cut funding for highways, schools and law enforcement.

Finally your majority support for Brownback has shown our national legislators that trickle-down economics is a farce. Making the rich richer does not create jobs, except for those who hand out huge campaign contributions to elected officials who do their bidding.

The governor and his ilk have provided a controlled experiment in ultra-right wing politics, that has produced dramatic irrefutable results.

Thanks for your support.

Keith Evans

St. Joseph

Cry for gun control

A June 18 front-page article, “Training offers help for those who sometimes see the worst,” features a policewoman suffering trauma from her involvement with a 4-year-old girl’s accidental shooting.

The top story on the TV news that day was the fatal shooting of nine people during Bible study in a Charleston, S.C., church.

I couldn’t help but contrast those stories with the earlier arrests of three suspected Islamic State sympathizers, who turned their weapons on the police. Fortunately, they were armed only with knives and were safely subdued.

As horrible as knives can be when used as weapons, it’s highly unlikely that one villain could kill nine people with his knife.

What will it take for our country to join all the other civilized countries that exert some control over guns in the hands of civilians?

Carol Rothwell

Grandmothers Against

Gun Violence

Lee’s Summit

Steve Paul column

Steve Paul, in his June 20 column, “More than one reason to block Keystone XL pipe,” raises many concerns regarding the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline, citing environmental hazards and the Sioux nation’s concerns.

I agree that benzene, bitumen, toluene and other chemicals, if spilled, could be dangerous to the groundwater and local life, given their potential carcinogenic effects.

What Canada does to its own lands through strip mining and damaging its forests, although tragic, is Canada’s concern. However, the potential increase in jobs for our citizens, possibly just temporary, to me outweighs the risks.

Even those jobs on the back end of refining and export should be considered.

I propose a solution that I am sure has been thought of before. Have the company responsible for the pipeline’s construction remit a security deposit of a reasonable amount.

The secretary of the Interior could designate this amount using restitution from the BP oil spill in the Gulf as an example. This money could be held in escrow for a designated period of time and returned to the company upon completion.

If the Sioux Nation is unwilling to sell a tract of land used for the pipeline, then a reasonable rent could be considered.

And, Mr. Paul, enough of the Koch references. It doesn’t serve your argument.

Kevin M. Kuebler

Olathe

KCK school cuts

The Kansas City, Kan., School District staff cuts and pay cuts bring up several questions.

I always hate to see employees lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and as far as I know the cutbacks resulted from fewer tax dollars to spend rather than employee misconduct.

However, schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane stated that the cuts were necessary in part to fund $6.2 million the district needs to cover rising health costs. How can this be?

President Barack Obama promised that everyone would have a decrease in the cost of health insurance when promoting the passage of Obamacare. Has that promise not been fulfilled in Kansas?

Could someone please explain to me what has happened to this savings? I am sure the 31 employees would certainly appreciate an explanation.

David Bahner

Lee’s Summit

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