Letters to the Editor

Social safety net, Sandy Hook, Nelson Mandela

Social safety net

Any healthy person should be ashamed of being on Medicaid or any other welfare program. The social safety net should be reserved for widows, orphans and the infirm.

Kevin Peterson Blue Springs
Terrible history

A year ago today, Adam Lanza took a semi-automatic assault-type rifle into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and slaughtered 20 children along with six adults. Some of those children were shot many times while they were cowering on the floor in absolute terror.

All of this took place in a matter of four or five minutes. When I hear a grown man say he needs one of these weapons to defend himself, or better yet, to fight a tyrannical government, I say, really?

Thomas Hogan Kansas City Kraske column

For many years, I have read Steve Kraske’s articles, enjoyed his interviews on KCUR-FM and have highly respected him. However, his Dec. 7 column, “Message to Obama: Schmooze or lose,” totally shocked me.

His illustration was of House Speaker John Boehner and the president sitting together, where “the Republican speaker drank Merlot and chain-smoked. Obama sipped ice tea and chewed a Nicorette.” Then, to my dismay, Kraske observes, “And that’s the problem.”

Kraske seems to be saying that people must drink liquor and smoke to get along with others. As is widely known, President Barack Obama has been making a noble effort to quit the dangerous habit of smoking, and I applaud him for choosing ice tea as his beverage of choice.

As we all should know by now, alcohol and smoking causes immeasurable damage to many people — especially young people. I am proud to have a president who sets an example that would lead our children to make good decisions.

I am disappointed in Kraske for suggesting that Congress does not cooperate because the president is too “cerebral” and does not drink and smoke.

June Seat Liberty Labor’s shrinking cut

Could the spirit of the tea party provide me with the names of three wealthy democracies where labor’s share of national revenue has not been in decline since the 1980s and where the government is small? Opposition and support of National Security Agency spying is bipartisan.

So the NSA aside, I am making a request for evidence backing the tea party’s viewpoint and support of the government shutdown. What I normally encounter are platitudes, anecdotes, negative evidence and accusations that the rest of us are communist conspirators.

What instigates conflict for me is the U.S. spending more than $100 billion subsidizing businesses, and if you combine that with cuts to education, Medicaid, Medicare and programs like food stamps (SNAP), then we are taxing labor and giving to capital. Regardless of intention, the tea party’s political influence has a more dramatic effect on programs that benefit labor (the majority of us) than on programs that benefit capital (the very wealthy).

In an era when capital’s share of national revenue has been growing for three decades, that effect is the opposite of what we need.

Theodore J. Sturgeon Olathe Mandela encounter

It was 1997 or 1998 that I was visiting family members in Johannesburg, South Africa. One Saturday morning I had an opportunity to attend a Farmer’s Informative Discussion meeting, where Nelson Mandela was to be a speaker.

This meeting was held to discuss the violence and killings of white farmers by their own hires as well as outsiders. There were two lines, each four to six persons deep, wanting to see and possibly shake hands with Mandela as he walked by.

I was in the second or third row, and as he came by he offered his hand to what I supposed was someone in the first two rows. However, he continued to lean and reach beyond them.

And as he grabbed my hand, he said, “Some of us seem a little reluctant this morning.” I think he thought I was one of the attending irate farmers.

Blessings often come to us in unsuspected ways. My relative told me later that I should never wash that hand again. I did not take that advice.

Jerry T. Heeter Shawnee Cheers for soccer

As someone who has worked at Sporting Park since it opened, I consider Dec. 7’s MLS Cup win an amazing experience, one I won’t soon forget. But I would be remiss if I didn’t offer thanks and credit to the owners of Sporting Kansas City.

The vision of the Illig family, Neal Patterson, Greg Maday, Pat Curran and Robb Heineman was ambitious and came with enormous risk.

People I know in the area were in disbelief that a soccer game in Kansas City, Kan., was such a big deal. Well, it was a very big deal, for the fans, the team, the organization and the hundreds of employees and volunteers who come to work at beautiful Sporting Park from all over the region.

So thank you. What a season.

Kristi Boone Lawrence Guns kill people

I know my National Rifle Association brothers like to say, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” But please, take a look at the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooter, Adam Lanza. He was nothing without a gun.

John Meyer Blue Springs Sports team names

This year, much has been discussed about the sport teams that use mascots based on the American Indian. I think too much emphasis is placed on sentiments that such mascots belittle or degrade Native Americans.

In 1977, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art put on an excellent display called “Sacred Circles.” A book was on sale by John Terrell titled the “American Indian Almanac.”

The author listed 10 regions in the United States, showing the large number of tribes that once inhabited our land. Our country is replete with Indian names. Many of our states and cities are examples.

There were many languages. The Indians warred against each other.

There was torture to the death. The greed of the whites when they discovered gold and silver resulted in violence and death against the Indians.

A mascot in sports is very tame by comparison.

Clarence Edmondson Jr. Kansas City Democracy is best

A political democracy such as ours requires more from its citizens than any other form of government.

We have to be informed on the details of issues because we select the officials best able to make the best decisions.

Our capitalistic free-enterprise economy also requires more. Buyers have to decide what is the best among a vast array of choices and prices. Sellers have to fine-tune their products and prices to meet current and future tastes.

Citizens of nations such as Russia and Somalia don’t have these problems. They wish they did.

Our system requires a smart, informed citizenry with a sense of what is right and people who possess some humility.

We should take time off from all the havoc-crying to realize how good and how smart we are and have been for the last 250 years. I say that in all humility.

Ben Vineyard St. Joseph Kindness brings tears

On a recent weekend, I did my grocery shopping at my Price Chopper on Blue Parkway in Lee’s Summit. As I was checking out, a young courtesy clerk handed me a $50 gift card with a sweet smile.

I was baffled, so I told her that I did not order one. She pointed toward another checker whom I recognized as Hannah.

Hannah smiled and explained that she sees me often and that I am always so nice, especially when she sees me with my son. I do have a darling son with Down syndrome who can prove to be quite captivating.

I have read of these acts of kindness, and now I am a recipient. This young woman touched my heart, not to mention the hearts of the people waiting in line.

Smiles and tears. Hannah touched many people that day.

She is an inspiration to spread the love.

Judy Rector Lee’s Summit