Letters to the editor

Staff Writer
The Kansan

Thanking Hodge

I would like to publicly thank state Rep. Tim Hodge for helping me get my unemployment straightened out.

I was let go from my job in January, I had a month of severance pay and I waited my full month, then one week of waiting time before applying for unemployment. My application hit just about the time COVID-19 was breaking out. The state denied my application and my appeal was faxed in the day all h*** broke out with unemployment in Topeka.

There was no phone to call into, and I just didn’t know what to do. I knew Tim lived in Newton so I gave him a call, and asked if he could give me some help getting my problem taken care of. He is a very generous and kind person, he took me under his wing so to speak and made sure my appeal and paper work got to the right people in Topeka. I’m sure if he had not been looking out for me, I would still be trying to get my appeal through. There is something defiantly wrong in that department I hope they can get it taken care of. Thank you Tim for your help.

Vote Tim Hodge for state representative.

— Cindy McAnulty, Newton

Canary in the coal mine?

I've watched with growing unease the steady rise of white extremist groups during the Obama and Trump years. The extremist movement under the white supremacy umbrella is a confederacy of far right organizations answering to the dog whistle of "law and order." With hands on the QAnon bible right wing zealots portray themselves as victims of dark underground forces whose aim is to hasten the end of white privilege. The white extremist playbook echos the horrors of the Antebellum South, the Jim Crow era, and the traditional domestic plagues of immigrant bashing and institutional racism. White extremists like fascists of past eras are keen on symbolism wrapping themselves in patriotic and religious symbols, primarily the American flag and the Christian cross

White supremacists if they are political at all are aligned with the Republican Party. Mostly though citizens or entities whether affiliated politically or not are considered enemies if they do not kowtow to a white utopian agenda. And, like fascism of the past the demonization of enemies legitimizes a host of domestic law and order initiatives including civil disruption and violence.

Predictably right extremist violence erupted in Charlottesville in August 2017. Emboldened by the president these “fine people," racist to the core, are more visible and lethal especially in regard to today's Black Lives Matter protests. Sadly it seems almost normal to witness white militiamen in full battle gear brazenly milling around urban protest sites.

It makes little difference that peaceful protests rarely become violent. Regardless, First Amendment protected assembly is now considered domestic terrorism inviting retaliation with little regard for legal niceties. What if in the future First Amendment abuses are extended to individuals whose spoken and written opinions supposedly threaten the state. Tragically we seem to be on the edge of a slippery slope toward full blown fascism. We've already witnessed immigrant concentration camps on our southern border, people tear gassed, snatched off the street, and mass arrests of peaceful protesters. Four more years of our president's autocratic styled leadership could hasten the nation's steady march to a dystopian future where political enemies are harassed and "disappeared.” Maybe I'm overreacting but as a student of history it sounds like the canary in the coal mine just began gasping for air. Of course a solid electoral rejection of the entire Republican ticket this November might just clear away the toxic fumes of the last four years.

— Timothy Adams, North Newton