“Be Just and Fear Not.” I noted these words inscribed on the east face of our Missouri Capitol after visiting the “Medicaid 23” trial at the nearby Cole County Courthouse (8-16, A2, “Trial for 23 who fought for Medicaid is a waste”).
The defendants include some of the most prominent theological voices of Kansas City, and they are accused of disrupting the legislature in 2014 with hymns, prayer and chants after a long struggle to expand Medicaid for the poor in Missouri.
On Monday, I was not permitted to enter the courtroom — much space was allegedly needed for selection of jurors. I did glimpse the proceedings from an inner window on the second floor where I had been banished and felt like Scout Finch, viewing a scene right out of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
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An eerie sense of injustice and fear pervaded that courthouse, making it feel like a page out of a Deep South pre-civil rights drama. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned similar convictions arising from a protest at the Capitol of South Carolina in 1961 and hopefully will thereby provide a ruling to override the farce taking place in the Cole County Courthouse at taxpayer expense.
I know it is just a handy phrase to describe a portion of the American population in this frighteningly momentous election season. But “angry white males” does not proscribe the participation of women in voting for their favorite candidates.
I happened to observe two of these citizens happily supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate.
One of the women averred that Pence could be a moderating influence on Trump’s volatile nature and that the ticket cemented the crucial certainty and overwhelming need for the election victory of Republicans.
As an aside, the more vocal of the two expressed her belief that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton belongs in jail.
An isolated encounter, but very telling, and not because these were women.
This sound-bite-sized, obviously fervent, support of a mindset and a campaign preaching the very worst set of beliefs this country can even remotely tolerate is steamrolling its way to the most sensitive position of power ever imagined by the founders of this country and even the most conservative presidents.
Where is and who are the silent majority? We have met the enemy, and he is us.
Ignorance of faith
The other morning two young women came to my door. One was holding an opened Bible, and the other one was holding some pamphlets.
I pointed to the mezuzah on our door. The lady holding the Bible said: “Oh, you’re Jewish. Do you still sacrifice animals?”
Oh boy, and I hadn’t even had my morning coffee yet. They saw the surprised look on my face. I explained (with as much politeness as I could muster up) we do not do that.
I told them I don’t even think we are supposed to hunt. I then suggested they attend a Saturday morning service at one of our many synagogues in town so they could learn about our religion (and see that no animals are being harmed).
I would have liked to say we do not proselytize, and why don’t you spend your time doing volunteer work. But I didn’t want to sound rude.
However, I really do find these situations awkward, frustrating and intrusive.
Plans for Plaza
Already two development plans will go before the City Council next Thursday, requesting changes to the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan, adopted unanimously by the council in January (8-18, A11, “Panel juggles decisions on three projects in Plaza area”). Years of preparation by the City Planning Department — in consultation with key institutions, neighbors, citizens and developers — went into this plan.
Yet developers are already pressing for modifications to allow taller buildings, a denser population and/or increased traffic on surrounding one-way streets. Taken individually, these developments may have merit. Put in context, however, they are “too much of a good thing.”
The city is under notice that if it allows these developments the new owners of the Plaza may also seek changes to the plan. The big question is, will the City Council stand behind the long-range thinking of the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan, refusing to open “Pandora’s Box,” or will it give into the immediate pressures of well-funded developers?
The solution for the City Council may be in the path laid out in the plan itself, which calls for an implementation committee to review proposals before they arrive at the City Council.
Let me start by saying how great of a city we have with all of our sports and business assets. This truly is a prosperous city.
But to promote this metropolitan area better, what if in at least one page of The Kansas City Star there happened to be a “Distinguished Honors Page,” where any person in this community’s name might appear if he or she were to earn a personal distinction or honor?
The listing in the newspaper for the honor would be for exemplary effort made by the people or persons of the community.
Matthew E. Rhoads