Letter to the editor: Giving thanks

To the editor:

When Jean Valjean stood outside the bakery, his nephew starving, did he have a duty to break the glass? What wins out, a starving child or glass that protects another man’s property? Victor Hugo’s answer consumed five volumes, 2,000 or so pages, but does not seem to have persuaded all, or perhaps even most, of us.

Should Lawrence be a sanctuary city? What is our duty when the law seems to force us into an uncomfortable inhumanity?

On Thanksgiving Day 2019 the Journal-World reported separation of families at the border. The U.S. knew it could not track and bring them back together. And in the Kansas City Star we read of a man who was prosecuted for leaving caches of water for immigrants crossing the Arizona desert but acquitted because our Constitution protects his right to obey moral conviction. And, of course, who doesn’t wish to not have seen a drowned father and daughter floating in the Rio Grande.

The first, though undelivered, draft of George Washington’s first inaugural address was both observational and aspirational.

“I rejoice in the belief that intellectual light will spring up in the dark corners of the earth; that freedom of inquiry will produce liberality of conduct; that mankind will reverse the absurd position that the many were made for the few; and that they will not continue slaves in one part of the globe, when they can become freemen in another.”

For more than 200 years America has been that other place. Can the good be anything less?

William Skepnek,



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