Letters to the editor

Staff Writer
The Kansan

Wear a mask, please

Recent photo ops picture Rep. Roger Marshall at various stops during his primary race for the U.S. Senate. The good news is that almost all the individuals in the photos were wearing masks, the exception being Dr. Marshall. Medical data clearly indicate that properly worn masks help slow the spread of COVID-19. By disregarding sound advice from fellow professionals Dr. Marshall seems to endorse the irresponsible bare-faced freedom so dangerously trumpeted by a vocal minority.

"You can't make me wear a mask, it's a violation of my rights," argue the outraged outliers. Of course it's hard to dispute this assault on their "freedoms" when many political leaders at all levels lead the charge. Maybe it's time for a brief discussion of freedom as it pertains to our system of limited government. Of course we wouldn't need this discussion if our public education system would actually teach civics. Limited government is based on a contract between government and its citizens. Ideally the agreement creates a legal system wherein citizens may go about their daily lives without fear of harm from their fellows. Government in turn is obliged to protect its citizens without itself doing harm. Freedom is thus a system of legally enforced mutually responsible behavior. In this best of all possible worlds citizens should neither murder each other, nor should they be tossed in unmarked vans without warrant.

In that light refusal to wear a mask during a pandemic is not exercise of freedom but an irresponsible disregard for the health and welfare of others and as such is subject to government action. Masks are not government overreach but a contractual obligation, anything less would in itself be criminal.

— Timothy Adams, North Newton.

The Senate has become a block

For many years this nation worked as a two party democracy. Though it was often acrimonious, the Republican conservatives and the Democratic liberals were able to work across the divide and compromise to fulfill the somber responsibilities they had sworn to uphold. This is no longer true. The Senate has become a total block. The Republican Party no longer exists. It has been replaced by the Republican Cult, totally enamored with the Great Leader, totally incapable of self thought, following in lock step. Independent, reasoning Republicans have quietly slipped away, leaving only the cult seen publicly. And, the numbers are revealing. When the Nov. 3 reckoning is recorded will there be enough of that original Republican membership left to resurrect? It looks very questionable.

— Beth Vannatta, Halstead

Primary has arrived

The Aug. 4 primary election is quickly approaching. First, we want to thank our local election officers who have worked tirelessly to ensure the security and safety of this upcoming election amid historic circumstances.

Second, we want to remind voters they have multiple options for how to cast their ballot in 2020, including voting in-person on Election Day, advance-in person voting, and advance by mail ballots.

To help ensure the protection of voters and election workers, our office has received and allocated over $4 million in federal funding to assist Kansas with election-related expenditures resulting from COVID-19. These funds have been used to reimburse counties for unexpected election expenses related to COVID-19 and to secure personal protection equipment kits, plexiglass shields, and disposable stylus pens for all Kansas polling places. Polling location guides have been updated to provide for greater distances between voting booths, allow increased distance between voters and election workers, ensure sanitation of voting equipment and technology after each use, and more.

We strongly encourage all registered voters to exercise their right to vote on, or before, Aug. 4.

— Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab