We don’t have to agree to be respectful, kind

I am a great-grandmother who tries to walk every day in my faith in Jesus and with love. My heart has been broken lately with the anger and hate some have because of the political stands people are taking. Families and friends are being torn apart; some are no longer speaking.

I was raised by wonderful parents who taught me what was right and wrong. They were Democrats, although my dad did vote one time for a local Republican judge because of that judge’s character. My dad voted for a person based on their character, if they were a good person. To this day I vote for a candidate based on their character. To give my dad credit, he never tried to bully me or anyone else to believe what he believed, or name-call if I didn’t vote the way he did. I treat my family and friends with the same respect even if I disagree with their beliefs in any aspect.

I thought as Americans we were free to worship, live, love and vote the way we wanted, without fear of being bullied, put down, beaten or killed because of our beliefs, color of our skin or the way we worship. I now know this isn’t always true. I do believe with every fiber of my being that no one has the right to harm another person.

So I ask everyone to please remember who we are as human beings and as a country founded by people who lived and died for the freedoms that we have. Sadly, some of our citizens are still struggling to get them.

I will leave you with one simple lesson I learned long ago: One doesn’t need to like or agree with someone to treat them with kindness and to be respectful. This was taught and shown to me daily by my parents.

Joyce Dunn

Carl Junction

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Biden more thoughtful than Trump on policing

Joe Biden has very specifically said he does not support defunding police. In an opinion piece he wrote for USA Today (June 10, 2020), Biden endorsed the need for reforms and clearly stated his position relative to defunding the police: “While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police. The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”

He went on to say that there needs to be “investments in mental health services, drug treatment and prevention programs, and services for the homeless,” noting that is some instances, the police should not be the first responders or there may need to be social service providers responding with the police.

During an interview by ABC News (Aug. 23, 2020), Biden was specifically asked by Robin Roberts if he wanted to defund the police, and he again said he did not. Biden said that while he doesn’t want to “defund the police,” he does want to address misconduct and discriminatory practices.

“I don’t want to defund police departments. I think they need more help, they need more assistance, but that ... look ... there are unethical senators, there are unethical presidents, there are unethical doctors, unethical lawyers, unethical prosecutors, there are unethical cops. They should be rooted out.”

In Joplin today there are two billboards that would seem to represent the two sides in this issue. At about 13th and Range Line Road a large black sign says, “I can’t breathe,” sponsored by The Friends of Joplin for Justice. Near Turkey Creek Boulevard and Range Line Road there is a large sign with a prominent U.S. flag on it that says, “Back the Blue,” sponsored by Friends of Back the Blue. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. I can and do support the police while still expecting them to be well trained and carry out their duties without regard to anyone’s race, gender, religion, social status or gender identity.

Biden said in June, “Nothing about this fight will be easy. Institutions resist change. Racism has been a fixture in our society for hundreds of years. It will take leadership at the highest levels of our government — and sustained grassroots pressure from communities who will no longer stand by silently when injustices are inflicted on people of color. Vitally, it will require all of us to examine our own conduct, our deeply ingrained habits and our own thinking.”

That to me seems to be a more thoughtful approach than the scare tactics used by President Donald Trump, including his attempts to misrepresent his opponent with lies, in order to hang on to voters who have otherwise become disenchanted with him and/or his administration.

Dorothy Fulks

Webb City

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Young people act like they can do as they want

Why is it not being seen for what is? It is a pandemic.

Politicians don’t control this. People don’t control anything like this. Pull your head out of the sand — no human can stop what has happened. We can only slow the effect it has on us by doing the right thing.

It seems like all you people don’t care. Don’t you realize what we are facing as humans on this planet?

How could our ancestors from 1918 understand more than we do? They knew what they had to do, what they needed to do to protect everyone else. They fought their way through tougher times than you could understand, apparently. And they did things for the better of all of us in our country. Is that all lost?

Young people think they deserve to do as they want. In the face of something like this, you young people don’t deserve to be able to plow under what has made us the country that gave you a chance to live beyond what your grandfathers and grandmothers fought for. They fought for this land and died for you to have a choice in life.

Life should have been tougher, so you would understand what it was like when we earned our freedom. Nothing happened without the sacrifice of those before us. We have lost that, it seems.

Nothing comes to you for free; you have to earn it. Without that, we would have never had a country.

Tommy Chew

Carl Junction

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Losing respect for agitators

My intention was to stay silent over the recent racist insanity that has gripped our nation, but unfortunately the voices that flame the issue refuse to be placated or shut up. The one-sided attack on white vigilantes (Globe, Sept. 9) is one example. Seeing self-described victims with clenched fists kneeling on the sidelines during the national anthem the next day infuriated me. These men will make more money in one or two games than I will in a lifetime, and they are victims? Let me be one too! Anyway, I lost my interest in the NFL and turned channels.

I am not one who isn’t concerned over legitimate abuse of anybody. Back in the 1960s I had great sympathy for the anger and frustrations of those who rioted, although even at that time I had trouble dealing with the arson, pillaging, rape and murder that went with it. I even took part in peaceful demonstrating when a Waterloo, Iowa, business changed hands and two Black men were fired solely over their race.

Then in the summer of 1966, on a family vacation to Chicago, I saw firsthand the results of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Nearly new apartment complexes already bore the scars of fires and broken doors, glass and windows. It began to dawn on me that when people have no personal investment in something and they have an entitlement mentality, they have no respect for anything.

In the late 1960s and for years thereafter, there was something called affirmative action that, in addition to the now hundreds of billions spent each year to fight poverty, set goals on minority hiring, college programs and other advancement. At the time, even though it personally hurt me, I believed it was necessary to redress past discrimination. I didn’t understand, with the massive cultural entitlement mentality it ran up against, it was, in too many circumstances, doomed from the outset.

In all too many cases it has become obvious that no matter how many hands are extended to lift the person up, if they are not willing to take personal responsibility for their own destiny, failure is the result. Recently, this failure has been dumped in the laps of all too many of us who genuinely want to see everybody succeed. But if someone is not willing to put behind their own cultural barriers and, yes, own prejudices, how is that my fault?

I remember when I was young and being told that if I wanted to be treated like a man, I had to act like one. This meant taking responsibility for my own destiny, getting married and having children, in that order. If I had rejected that route, how would my failure be any one else’s blame but mine? If I committed a crime and the police ordered me to halt, and I either attacked them or ran, how could the consequences have been any one’s fault but mine? I also learned early on that having God personally involved in my life gave me a sense of value and purpose.

I cannot find any justification for the rioting, mayhem and social upheaval of the past few months. Are there issues that need to be addressed? Of course. And I stand more than open to hear any grievances. But those who have aided and abetted the recent crisis are the one’s who have profited from and fueled the fires of division. The sheer persistence of this agenda has driven people like me out of the public debate. I also have lost all respect for these agitators.

Dave Spiering

Lamar