Letters from the week of

Bully Pulpit  

Letters from the week of

Bully Pulpit
White wash: Regarding C.J. Janovy's well-written article "She's No Martin" (Janovy, January 26): To avoid coming across as one of those conservatives constantly crying "foul" (which I am not), let me first say I realize that the headline might have been written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. But what the Pitch must also realize is that if I had written an article subtitled "How Black People Ruined My (insert random holiday here)," and then cited any one of the arrogant, annoying speeches given by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or even Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, I would be labeled a racist. And rightly so.

The reason Howard Dean and Katheryn Shields were annoying is the same reason why Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Rep. Cleaver might be annoying — because they're politicians! Of course, they are all Democratic politicians as well, but I'll leave that alone for now.

Bottom line: While lumping the entire white race in with these two hacks may be acceptable for comedic purposes, in a paper that is already less than politically and ideologically objective, the title of the article not only seems to conceal the actual point of the article — that politicians (Democrats, specifically) ruined Martin Luther King Jr. Day at St. Stephen Baptist Church — but also makes a racist statement in reference to a man's life that we celebrate because of what he did to eliminate the importance of color.

Jeremy Chappell
Kansas City, Missouri

One hour Martinizing: From start to finish: Oooh!

Katheryn Shields' use of the podium for her own ends (highlight: making such a mind-boggling comparison between herself and MLK) is too telling, train-wrecky and embarrassingly shameful for words. So much so that it has this white girl shaking her head like you wouldn't believe.

This recent "cautionary tale" was among Janovy's best. I think even Jesus would approve, especially when she suggests that next time, "all the politicians have to sit in the back of the church." I also hope that, next time, they manage to remember what the MLK celebration is about and that it has nothing to do with self-aggrandizement.

Amen.

Linda Fleischman
Kansas City, Missouri

Required reading: I am currently attending Kansas State for graduate school. I get home to KCK about once a month. I try to pick up a Pitch to keep an idea of what is going on. This article was off the chain. I was sitting next to Janovy in spirit, cracking up as well. Keep up the good work.

Shanta Bailey
Manhattan, Kansas

Sword and Shields: Thank you for the comments on MLK Day. I agree completely that the behavior of both Dean and Shields was inappropriate. The former just opportunistic, the latter inappropriately egocentric. Next year, politicians should definitely sit in the back of the (bus) church.

Jim Skinner
Kansas City, Missouri

Labor Intensive
Sew wrong: Eric Barton's "Always Low, Always" (February 2), about Wal-Mart's sweatshop workers from Nicaragua and the Philippines, was excellent.

While some people would say workers like Flory and Damaris should be happy to have jobs — even if they earn a daily wage worth less than half of the price of one blouse they sew — the reality is that Wal-Mart and many other large retailers write the rules and participate in the corrupt global system which gives these workers no alternatives but to work in sweatshops. The Rollback Wal-Mart Conference at the University of Missouri-Kansas City aimed at exposing the Wal-Mart model, which forces citizens here and around the world to subsidize their low prices and their profits.

I only wish Barton had stated who the sponsors were correctly instead of just saying it was union-sponsored. Actually, the three lead sponsors were not unions. They were the Institute for Labor Studies — a joint project of UMKC and Longview Community College; ReclaimDemocra cy.org/kc, which is a citizens' organization aimed at curbing the power of big corporations; and Interfaith Worker Justice, a coalition of religious and labor organizations. To say it was union-sponsored not only is inaccurate but also plays right into Wal-Mart's deceptive spin that it's only unions who oppose them.

Judy Ancel, Director The Institute for Labor Studies
Kansas City, Missouri

Speed Demon
Soldier on: Regarding Ben Paynter's "Soldiers of Meth" (January 19): I am Eric Colvin's 17-year-old cousin. Don't think for a second that this is hate mail. The only man I have ever hated in my short life is George W. Bush and what his administration has done to this country.

Nor is this one of those letters where I say, "If you only knew how sweet Eric Colvin used to be." I will not try to justify his actions, because I know that his affiliation with drugs was wrong and he deserves to be punished. I just hope that one day you will know the whole story, as I know it.

Madeline Ward
Stamford, Connecticut

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