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  • Last modified 40 days ago (Oct. 27, 2021)

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Unhealthy politics

To the editor:

State Rep. Steven Owens needs to work on real issues for Kansans.

Instead, he recently gained publicity by joining the Special Joint Committee on Government Overreach and the Impact of COVID-19 Mandates, which will try to make political hay by misdirecting the real work we face in dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic.

That epidemic has sickened more than 400,000 and killed more than 6,000 Kansans.

I wish Rep. Owens cared as much about traditional Eisenhower-Reagan-Bush conservatism as he does about issues that have come to dominate the Republican Party.

Since Donald Trump infiltrated the party, the GOP has been at war with itself. The GOP’s traditional positions on small government, low taxes, growth economics, free-market trade, and foreign policy alliances have fallen to whatever wild ideas or fabrications that Trump and his hangers-on like Owens think they can use to generate fear and loathing.

Traditional Kansas conservatives are being used by Owens and his type.

The national GOP says, “We support the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies.” I don’t see Owens encouraging clean energy that could be a tremendous gain for the economy and people of Kansas.

President Eisenhower advocated groundbreaking civil rights legislation and vigorously enforced the Brown vs, Board of Education decision. Have you ever heard Owens speak constructively about all of us working together to improve community relationships instead of being more divisive?

President George H.W. Bush championed community and volunteer organizations and the tremendous power they have for doing good. Has Owens worked with any non-political community and volunteer organizations to help make Kansas better for all of us?

President George W. Bush made an unprecedented commitment to worldwide health through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program. What has Owens done to help improve health care for all Kansans or others?

An increasing number of evangelical Christians, who had been a linchpin of the Trump Republicans, are questioning their allegiance to Trump over their Christian beliefs.

It appears that blind loyalty to Trump, instead of Christian values, is driving Owens and others who assume their Christian supporters will stay with them.

More and more conservative Republicans are leaving GOP voter rolls since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. 

Maybe Owens needs to lead us in a positive direction rather than tying his hitch tighter and tighter to the insurrectionist fringe of the party.

But back to the question of Kansas policies regarding COVID-19: The obvious course is to trust your doctor and the vast majority of doctors, epidemiologists, and national and international health organizations.

Following their advice is not a political position. It is a medical, scientific, and social direction that works to best protect us, our families, friends, fellow workers, and communities. It is also the policy that will most effectively control the epidemic and allow our economy to recover.

Federal and state governments, as well as local health departments, have for decades determined how we should protect our health and that of our communities.

Mandatory vaccination was used by George Washington with his troops in 1777. It was used in fighting the last great pandemic more than 100 years ago. It has been used safely in schools, employment, and the military for more than a century. Mandatory quarantines have been used since the beginning of American history.

This is not an issue of government overreach. It is the government doing what it is supposed to do — protect the health and welfare of its citizens.

Owens and his committee are playing a purely political game to appeal to the Trump wing of the GOP and to hope the rest of traditional conservatives will stick with them.

We need to stand up for our political and moral principles and not for whatever political games are played by politicians like Steven Owens. It is up to us to hold him accountable.

Gary Lyndaker, rural Goessel

Last modified Oct. 27, 2021

 

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