The Wichita Eagle, Nov. 12

If you’re upset about Wichita-area school districts postponing a return to in-person classes or moving students back online, ask yourself this:

What are you doing to curb the spread of COVID-19? Are you:

a) Heeding the Centers for Disease Control’s suggestions — avoiding travel, forgoing large gatherings, limiting interactions outside your household, self-isolating if you’ve been exposed, staying home if you’re sick, and wearing a mask when you’re out and about?

Or, b) Screaming hogwash, hokum, or hoax?

In Sedgwick County, too many are going with Option B.

Wichita school district leaders agonized this week before finally voting 5-2 to keep secondary students learning remotely for the rest of the semester — a decision that’s sure to have a profound impact on children, families and the community.

Sadly, they didn’t really have a choice.

As the county’s positive test rate for COVID-19 hits record levels — Wednesday’s figure was 22.7% — area hospitals are full, and health officials are sounding an alarm.

Dr. Garold Minns, the county’s health officer, issued a new order tightening restrictions, including limits on mass gatherings and an earlier curfew for bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

All indicators, Minns said, are pointing in the wrong direction.

And yet.

None of that will make a difference if residents don’t change their behavior.

“If we want to get control of this,” Minns said, “we’re going to have to have better compliance.”

The very word — compliance — will no doubt send some opponents through the roof. They’ll squawk about liberty and personal freedom, refusing to acknowledge the generations of Americans who made sacrifices for the common good.

During World War II, the U.S. government created a rationing system for supplies such as gasoline, meat, butter and sugar. During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, many cities mandated face masks, and with few exceptions, people obliged.

But here we are in 2020, griping about take-out.

Several Wichita-area restaurants and other businesses are closing temporarily or adjusting their hours in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Wichita school board member Ernestine Krehbiel said she wished more students could go back to in-person classes, but the numbers are too high and the risk too great.

“I wish the public would get smart,” she said.

It’s smart to cover your mouth and nose whenever you’re out in public. New findings from the CDC this week show that wearing a mask protects you, not just those around you.

But more than that, following public health safety guidelines is the right thing to do because it’s kind, thoughtful and generous. It shows you care about the people around you. It shows you’re thinking of the greater good.

It shows you’re an adult who’s not afraid to act like one.


The Topeka Capital-Journal, Nov. 16

There’s some mixed signals coming from our newly elected national delegation.

Sen.-elect Roger Marshall claimed victory over Barbara Bollier on Nov. 3. On Nov. 4, his Facebook page thanked those who voted. On Nov. 6, the Republican was rallying against election fraud.

“Every LEGAL vote should be counted. And it should not be hard.,” he wrote. “Transparency should not be hard. Doing those two things at the same time should not be hard. And it’s necessary in earning the American people’s trust.”

Tracey Mann, the congressman-elect for Kansas’ 1st district and a fellow Republican, also claimed victory on Nov. 3. He later echoed Marshall’s sentiment, also on Nov. 6 on Facebook, saying, “Every legally cast vote needs to be counted and not a single illegally cast vote should be.” Mann asked his constituents to consider donating to President Trump’s recount fund.

Both men are upset their party’s leader lost his bid for re-election. Both men claim mass voter fraud in the election. Both men claimed victory in their races.

So which is it? Were the elections rigged or fairly fought? You’re sending us mixed messages, and that’s not OK. Both men were on the ballots alongside President Trump. They happened to win, but Trump has clearly lost. Clearly. Election officials have made that abundantly clear.

It’s time Republicans admit this to be the reality of the situation. The country can’t move forward unless we do. It’s time we as a nation and we as Kansans reject this false narrative of “Count every legal vote.”

This is beyond political sour grapes. It hurts the rightful transition of power and undermines our democracy.

Frankly we’re embarrassed that two members of the Kansas delegation would be so brazen. To make matters worse, another Kansan, Mike Pompeo, the current U.S. secretary of state is making similar claims.

It should be noted that neither Ron Estes nor Sharice Davids made such claims of widespread voter fraud on their social media channels.

Kansas is known for being a state of common sense. Kansans pride ourselves on our ability to tell it like it is. Marshall, Mann and Pompeo aren’t doing that. They’re spreading disinformation and hurting civil discourse by their actions. It’s unbecoming of their respective offices. We as Kansans deserve better.

We know that losing can be hard. We know that our current president has a penchant for breaking with tradition, but we in Kansas believe in plain talk.

So if Marshall and Mann choose to claim victory in their elections, we think it’s only fair they keep their comments about voter fraud to themselves. You just look bad otherwise.

Marshall and Mann, for the love of all things Kansas, either respect the outcome and the democratic process or keep it to yourself.


The Manhattan Mercury, Nov. 14

This is an open letter to Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts.

Dear Sirs:

We’re writing today to appeal to your sense of patriotism, and to ask you to take a step forward at an important moment for the country, your party, and your legacy.

You have both been great public servants, and we in the Manhattan area thank you for that. You have always looked out for our interest, and what you defined as the interests of the country. Sen. Roberts, as you get ready to retire, we particularly want to tip our cap to you for all you’ve done for us, including the crucial support for Fort Riley and the locating of NBAF here. We’ll have more to say on all that later.

Today, though, we want to ask both of you to begin to lead your political party — and our country — away from a dangerous path.

As you know, Donald Trump has claimed that the election we just concluded was fraudulent and that it was stolen from him. He said this while standing at a podium in the White House, the people’s house, the seat of executive power in our country. He also of course has said it repeatedly on Twitter. He has continued to say it, in many different ways, lacking any evidence, and despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary. He’s making it up.

Those allegations are destructive, because — as you know — faith in the system is really the key to the whole thing. Without that, we’re no different than a banana republic or an East Bloc dictatorship. It’s just all about power.

We note that your colleagues, Roger Marshall and Tracy Mann, have donated campaign money to a fund to help Mr. Trump in his efforts to overturn the election. They may characterize such donations as intended to investigate the claims, and provide transparency. We of course support those principles.

But the donations have the appearance of siding with Donald Trump’s claims, and that’s the path of destruction. We presume that they made those donations out of political expediency, knowing that Mr. Trump carried this state, and that he remains the leader of the party.

As our state’s senior statesmen, you can illuminate a different path. You can publicly support a more sober, moderate, professional direction, steering your party in this state away from the conspiracy theories pumped by the likes of Kris Kobach. (As you well know, Mr. Kobach did not survive politically, so that is the path of self-destruction, too.)

You can repudiate — directly — Donald Trump’s delusions. You can specifically take a stand against his unsubstantiated allegations.

We know you are loyal Republicans, and taking such a stand against the leader of your party is difficult. But this is the moment to face the difficulty and do the right thing. It’s in the country’s best interest, and, as we suspect you already know, it’s in your party’s best interest, too.