Letters to the Editor

Readers share thoughts on election campaigns, police power, Republicans

Campaign focus

We are doing a good job in the presidential campaigns of omitting any discussion of hard-core problems. This nation is adrift. The population is polarized. The world is at war, and we are not even aware.

This should be a good time to discuss ways and means for the future, lay out a long-term plan for a positive direction. But, no, it is about who slept with whom, who has more donors or who can read a teleprompter better.

Serious people with vision will not put up with the gossip and pettiness to run for office. We get candidates who have overblown egos or are leeches on society looking for easy paychecks.

Yes, I know, plans for budget control and national defense do not make for headlines, but if we don’t start with some serious problem-solving there will not be anything left.

Making the U.S. a second-rate banana republic dictatorship is not my idea of a good future. That is where class warfare will take us.

Richard Blaisdell

Kansas City

Police power

We need to curb individual police officers’ discretion regarding the use of lethal force.

Since the Magna Carta, human rights have evolved, and every person is afforded due process. How have we (d)evolved to allow an individual to become judge, jury and executioner?

A legitimate execution exhausts due process — extensive consideration that can last several years involving many parties. Even then, mistakes are made. Do we trust the instincts of an overburdened individual to make a life-ending decision in a matter of seconds?

An imminent threat can often be contained by non-lethal force — a bean-bag cannon or a taser. I recall many killings of mentally disturbed persons wielding knives gunned down in front of family members. The police clearly did not exhaust all options.

Nobody likes to submit to the level of obedience typically demanded by a police officer for something as innocuous as a minor traffic offense. Therein lies a source of escalation that too often results in the de facto legitimizing of lethal force.

They provoke and create that imminent threat. Is one’s demonstrated distaste for this subservience cause for lethal punishment?

Ease up.

Walter Klammer

Kansas City

Republican focus

Surely the Republican Party has something more to offer than hatred of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and fear for the future.

Sharon Morash

Lake Lotawana

Preschool cost

Your Aug. 14 article, “Classroom supply giveaway grows with poverty in suburban school districts,” on suburban poverty raises yet another question.

Who will benefit most from the $8,000 per student spent on preschool education — the bureaucrats administering said programs or the children of families receiving this money as an annual grant?

We need to rethink our priorities. There is only so much tax money to go around, and grants-in-aid have been used successfully in many advanced nations.

I know the people administering programs such as preschool education will hate to give up their jobs, but maybe we can find other work for them.

David Zoller

Kansas City

Improving smiles

It is important for Missourians to think about oral health. Too many consider oral health to be an issue for later.

Leaving it for later is a bad deal. We are healthy only when we have good oral health. If we have other health challenges — heart disease and diabetes, for example — good oral health makes managing those conditions easier.

This year, the legislature and governor re-established dental benefits for adults eligible for MO HealthNet. For the first time since 2004, Medicaid-eligible adults have coverage for dental services. This will save us all money.

Missouri has a trend of people with no access to routine dental care visiting emergency rooms when the pain becomes unbearable. ERs provide painkillers and antibiotics but not dental care, so the underlying problem remains untreated, guaranteeing a return ER trip and fostering dependence on medication.

We look forward to a drop in ER use and pain from untreated dental conditions, and the savings this sensible policy will produce.

This August, thank Missouri legislators and Gov. Jay Nixon for setting Missouri oral-health policy on the right track.

Gary Harbison

Executive Director

Missouri Coalition

for Oral Health

Jefferson City