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Archive for Saturday, June 16, 1990

SATURDAY COLUMN

June 16, 1990

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The deadline has passed for candidates to file for elective office in Kansas for the upcoming election and now the office seekers will be doing their utmost to encourage voters to support their candidacies in the August primary and November general elections.

However, too few of the candidates will be voicing their own sincere thoughts on many matters. The challenge is to get elected, not necessarily shoot straight with the public.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a growing acceptance of mediocrity throughout the country in an increasing number of areas and a reluctance for elected officials, as well as those seeking elective offices, to speak up and take a strong, positive position on matters where the public needs to know the differences between candidates.

As the country seems to be settling more and more for the lowest possible denominator, or the easiest way to settle issues, the nation needs men and women in positions of leadership who can lead by example, inspire others and set some standards and goals that require effort, hard work and excellence to achieve.

Consider what is happening in "music" and the question of whether the performance of some so-called musicians is obscene; consider what is happening in art with museum displays that many consider to be pornographic; consider the debate on whether "English" should be the official language of the United States; consider the poor performance record of so many in our school systems; consider the growing numbers of adult illiterates; consider the explosion of AIDS cases and the costs this will impose on all citizens; and consider the overall philosophy by a growing number of persons to let most any action, most any behavior or most any situation no matter how outrageous or how questionable, or objectionable take place without voicing any objection. It is easier and less controversial to not say anthing or show any disgust.

How refreshing it would be for office holders or candidates to take a firm stand on the obscenity issues; to have the backbone to say quite clearly that "English" is indeed the official language of this country and that those who choose to live in the U.S. will have to learn to read and speak English rather than to have various materials and various schooling programs offered in numerous languages; more people need to speak out about the disgrace of how this country's school children compare in basic educational courses with those of similar ages in other countries such as Japan; the number of illiterates in this country should be a national embarrassment; everyone is so sensitive about saying anything which might offend anyone that officials pussyfoot around matters involving minorities; and there are many other examples which could be cited which illustrate a general apathy on the part of the public.

Excellence should be rewarded and recognized; the limitations of the less skilled or handicapped should be acknowledged but with every reasonable effort made to help such individuals; failure or poor performance should not be laughed off or accepted matter of factly; and challenging standards and requirements should be encouraged rather than to lower or eliminate standards or expectations in personal conduct, education, work performance and other facets of an individual's activity.

Too many people are quick to say they agree with many of the above suggestions but they justify their inaction by claiming, "my hands are tied, there's nothing I can do about the situation."

Unfortunately, this attitude has prevailed too long and the slide to mediocrity continues. "Mediocrity," a growing acceptance for sub-par performance, a tolerance for off-color, obscene and/or pornographic performances and materials, half-baked ideas about the treatment of those who break the law, and many other similar justifications for what is going on in society are not strengthening this nation and its people.

How great it would be to have candidates for public office, as well as those already in office, address the critical issues in an honest, straight-forward manner rather than to mold most all positions on such matters to please the widest possible segment of the voting public.

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