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Letters to the Editor

Hate talk

January 10, 2012

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To the editor:

Last week, House Speaker Mike O’Neal forwarded to fellow Republicans an email that refers to President Obama and a Bible verse that says “Let his days be few and brief.” If that same email had been forwarded from a Pakistani exchange student to other Near Eastern exchange students, the FBI would place them at the top of their potential terrorist list.

A few days later, Speaker O’Neal forwarded another email that refers to first lady Michelle Obama as “Mrs. YoMama” and compares a photograph of her to a picture of a Grinch. When do we stop mincing words and accept the fact that our House speaker and the other right-wing politicians reading and passing on this garbage are simply bigots. I can accept the fact that he does not agree with the president’s political views. I cannot accept the low rent, ignorant, bigoted hate talk being promoted by O’Neal and other wing-nut politicians.

Kansas is starting to look like the 1950s Mississippi. We are better than that, and it’s time we elected people who represented real Kansas values. I don’t care if they are Republican or Democrat, but please elect some civilized people.

Comments

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Bea, I think that sometimes your beliefs overwhelm the content of what others have written.

First of all I distinguish moral from legal matters. Racism is a moral matter not a legal one. It has been with us since the Neanderthal killed off the Cro-Magnons. It will probably be with us until we destroy ourselves.

Secondly, nothing I wrote justifies racism. What I challenged is condemning an entire country, (as I read your comments), for what historically was considered appropriate behavior indulged in by most nations on the planet at one time or another. Applying your moral judgment of today to our distant history is just not appropriate.

You are entitled to your position that racism is more inappropriate than other isms. I would argue that most of those either isms have been around as long or longer than racism.

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JHOK32 2 years, 3 months ago

Just another redneck Repub, the kind that makes Kansas look like a state full of bigoted ignorant hicks.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

beatrice (anonymous) replies…

How is calling a Black woman Mrs. YoMama not racist if it is made only as a means of denegrating the woman because of her race? It is racially based, and it is racist.

Moderate Responds:

So you say Bea. I don't know what the man meant- whoever wrote it. . Exactly what is racist about YoMama? Clearly it is vulgar. Note I corrected my use of racial for racist.

There were many unflattering comments made at the wives of many of our previous presidents. Do only racially motivate=d comments count? Many (Most) of those comments were made because of their husbands. Not good but not new.

Oki, they looked like WASM. Does that change the meaning of my comment or are you just quibbling to avoid the message I sent. Should all male whites be punished because of your frustrations? I swear Bea you would shoot the gift horse if it was not female?

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hitme 2 years, 3 months ago

Kent, You're so right. I for one hope that when people read about Kansans insulting the president and/or is family, they realize that the person is the problem and not the state. Even if Obama is an ill-equipped moron, we don't need the state being blamed for pointing that out. In fact, no one needs to waste time pointing out the obvious. Here's to working together.

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gudpoynt 2 years, 3 months ago

Effectively, O'Neal laughed at a racist joke. He didn't make the joke. But he thought it was funny enough to perpetuate. Gross behavior, especially for a high ranking elected official.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Bea says: If someone questions Obama's political platform, that is political. When a "Mrs. YoMama" type line is thrown in, then discussions of racism are warranted. Not that hard to grasp. Criticize Obama's politics all you want. Bring race into it, and then we have an issue. “

Moderate Comments. Demonizing elected officials is new? It was a stupid comment. Whether the intent was racial remains for me uncertain.

Exactly what has our long history of electing people that look like us got to do with this issue? The point is that for at least once we got past that. My point remains that if we want to stay past that we need to refrain from using race as a political issue - even when it might be.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Bea. Thank you but I never use the word “all”. I believe you are accurate when you note that for some the issue is individual. Unfortunately for some it is broader than that. I address my comments to that group and I think you should acknowledge there is such a group. If you cannot see that I would be happy to point out the posts above that IMHO are part of that group. Mr. Hayes is in that group – if not from this comment than from his collective comments.

Personally I do not like the speaker’s politics. I find the conservative purge of the moderate Republicans at best bad taste. That said, the Speaker is elected by others who have a right to their representation. Their choice is none of my business. The Republican choice of their Speaker is my business and I would opt for someone else. If no one is listening than the Democrats win!

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George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow. Are all Republicans racist? Are only conservative Republicans raciest? Were the comments made by our speaker raciest or political? This class of issue has arisen on here in the past. Could this be the adherents of one party using race to batter the other. At great risk to being labeled a raciest or worse, I suggest we explore that notion a bit.

Three years ago the American public, over 70% white, elected a black President by a significant majority. Was that a racist act? Did Mr. Obama receive such broad support because he was black or because of his political platform? If the latter, are those who attack him raciest or political and simply responding to his adherence or lack thereof to that platform.

I would suggest that if we are truly to minimize race in our public discourse (and I acknowledge it is there) we may need to do just that. Raising it for political purposes makes it a legitimate political consideration. If we are to be racial conscious in our politics do we run the risk of making it harder for minorities to win public elections unless the game is ridged?

Think about it!

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beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

As a general rule, we really don't forward e-mails with which we do not agree. He obviously thought calling the First Lady "Mrs. YoMama" was funny and wanted to share that oh so clever line with others he believes to be of his ilk. This does bring his character into question and it does reflect poorly on Kansas.

Good letter, although the comparison to 1950s Mississippi is hyperbole. Try, it is taking the spotlight on ignorant politicians off Arizona for a change.

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deathpenaltyliberal 2 years, 3 months ago

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BusseS 2 years, 3 months ago

The fact that the majority of voters in whatever district elected this guy hold their government representatives to the intellectual and behavioral level of a fifth grader speaks volumes.

More frightening though, is the fact that he is the Speaker of the House! That, my friends is your indicator for the level of competency of our current legislative bodies.

God help us.

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HW 2 years, 3 months ago

Hedshrinker- Not that it makes his comments better or worse, but I am pretty sure a previous article stated that this was sent on his personal email. Just FYI.

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nativeson 2 years, 3 months ago

The rhetoric is just silly. I am perplexed about what possible benefit there is to this type of communication. As a politician, does Speaker O'Neil not know that this e-mail would end up in the public domain? Get down to business and solve issues for Kansans in the legislature.

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hedshrinker 2 years, 3 months ago

Hate crimes/ language is defined as that which makes an attack on another based on their characteristics as a "protected class"...race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, national origin, disability. I'll leave readers to decide whether O'neal's egregious emails qualify, or the off-topic examples cited by others in previous comments. Seems like the most important issue hasn't been raised, which is the prohibition of public employees using email or other communication methods to distribute partisan and non-work related messages.

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jayhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

Tushhkahouma - Colored People, Negro, Negroid, Afro-American, African American, People of Color. In my lifetime, there have been many changes. It's come full circle. You mention "code language bigotry". It seems like it would be hard to define that term as it's constantly evolving.
I understand what you're trying to say. But I also think there must be room for the possibility that words taken as offensive may not have been said with the intension of being offensive.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Hayes is a mental health professional so what some of the less than sane sounding people in here say is no surprise....it's par for the course of code language bigotry in Kansas that exists towards minorities and the the educated people of this state who stand against the less than courageous people who use code language to cover for who they really are......your actions speak for themselves so no tos issues in telling the truth because as Jack Nicholson said....You can't handle it and you will run with your pigtails in a bind and get my comment removed. Yeah, we're standing up to you and telling you you're better than this....and yet you won't listen.....

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observant 2 years, 3 months ago

Not surprised at number that defend O'Neal. Helps explain why Kansas is in such bad shape and why we're stuck with brownie, KKK and and the Koch brothers agenda.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 3 months ago

The more significant question in my mind is one of basic judgment, i.e. why O'Neal would have chosen to forward such e-mails under his name in today's ultra-PC environment. What he did showed poor judgment.

Hitting the "send" button without thinking first is the equivalent of jumping off a bridge without a bungee cord.

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mustrun80 2 years, 3 months ago

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jaywalker 2 years, 3 months ago

Gimme a break. That's a pathetic LTE, saraj. And if THAT represents what you're thinking, I feel sorry for you.

O'Neal certainly made poor choices forwarding such emails. But that's all he did. They were in poor taste, not very funny, and one should hope that our politicians are lucid enough to recognize the underlying controversies in such correspondence and wise enough not to perpetuate them. But he didn't create them.
It's certainly not comparable to Pakastani exchange students. The comparison of Kansas to '50's Mississippi is so hyperbolic and uneducated it boggles the mind. And I'd be interested to know what those "real Kansas values" are; at least that part of the letter made me smile.

No, this is a truly poor LTE. I can understand being upset with what's transpired. This letter just doesn't voice an educated nor logical opinion.

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Brock Masters 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree that this type of speech is wrong and should not be tolerated, but I have to ask, where were you when Bush was the target of bigoted hate speech? Yes, the fact Bush was the subject of similar hate speech doesn't change this situation, but it does point out the selective ire of some.

It is important to point out when the other side has crossed the line, but it is more important to point out when our side has done so.

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saraj 2 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for saying what many of us are thinking, Kent.

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