To the editor:
In 1877, Howard Ruede, a 22-year-old man from Pennsylvania, homesteaded in Osborne County. He described his first year in detailed letters home, later collected and published. It was a hard life, but he rarely complained. I tend to think of pioneers as very independent people, but it was the interdependence of the people of the area that impressed me. Nearly every day someone was doing something for someone: helping build a sod house, plow a field, tend to the sick, gather crops. They seemed to be remarkably kind and generous.
I think Kansans still are concerned for each other, generous, helpful and determined. Gov. Brownback, however, has orchestrated a broad attack on social services. In various ways — the closure of the SRS offices is only one — medical and social services are being strangled. This isn’t just belt-tightening; people are suffering as a result. It is done in the name of economy. Brownback rejects the notion of asking us to dig a little deeper to help; he insists on not raising taxes regardless of the harm to many who have no political clout. Coming from a group of politicians who are financially comfortable, this seems meanspirited, callous and stingy. Kansans are better than this.
What can we do? Let the governor and his associates know we expect better from them. Remember the poor, the ill, the disabled come election time. Attend the forum at Plymouth Congregational Church at 7 p.m. Monday. Let them know we care.