In recent weeks readers have been treated to a variety of commentaries on the subject of Congressman Huelskamp's committee reassignments, principles, and more recently — effectiveness. One outstandingly feeble piece by former Salina Mayor Jilka sets a new standard for speculation, sparing no ink to affright us that agriculture itself may be in jeopardy without direct representation on the House Agriculture Committee.
Mr. Jilka, it seems, is in good company with Chicken Little, former Vice President Gore, and Mayan Doomsdayers — as certainly the sky is falling, the sea is rising, and other terrible things are going to happen simply because some structural changes were made on two committees in which Huelskamp participated.
Reassignments between congressional sessions are made all the time, folks.
In distilling the substance of Mr. Jilka's and like-kind editorials, readers are treated to a couple of stealthy, reoccurring liberal themes that bear noting. First, Mr. Huelskamp and similar representatives are disparaged because they hold tenaciously to their viewpoints — called principles — despite intense lobbying to the contrary. Second, careful study of Jilka's editorial reveals a positive slant toward "revenue-increasing" (read taxation) and pork-seeking (read more debt) measures that serve only to further enslave us and our children.
In short, Mr. Huelskamp is slighted because he will not compromise to gain more trinkets from the federal government, like highway funding, that come at a very high cost.
Simply put, compromise is just that — and it's how we got the mess we have. Pick any topic in the current cultural decline, be it civics, law, art, music, literature, morals ... politics ... and the reoccurring theme is a chronic willingness of a limp-wristed generation to compromise hard-won principles of our forefathers. Indeed, the race to the bottom is fraught with willingness to dumb down consequences; to change semantics; or simply to moderate life's harsh absolutes, like paying for what one buys — and we do it just so somebody's feelings won't be hurt.
American exceptionalism includes a representative system of government, which means we elect legislators who vote in keeping with our values and interests. Last August, Kansans spoke definitively when we exchanged eight compromising "moderates" in the Kansas Senate for more principled leadership.
My hope is the national GOP will mimic the Mr. Huelskamp's example by treating those who disagree with dignity and respect — without compromising on the issues.
J. R. CARLSON,
Public television worthy of support
If you and your family watch Smoky Hills Public Television and value its programming, you should be concerned about Gov. Brownback's proposal to cut funding for public broadcasting another 42 percent to $600,000 for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. This cut, after last year's 50 percent cut, shows a lack of appreciation for the service that public broadcasting provides to all Kansans and/or underestimates how difficult it is to replace state funding with contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations.
Cuts in state funding to Smoky Hills Public Television are counterproductive to achieving two of Gov. Brownback's stated goals — increasing population in rural counties and ensuring that all Kansas children can read proficiently by fourth grade. Smoky Hills Public Television airs commercial-free, high-quality educational programming for people of all ages. Its programming for adults and youths brings cultural and scientific amenities into our homes, improving our quality of life by allowing us to enjoy the best of both rural and city life. Smoky Hills' broadcast of 53 hours of children's educational programs each week far exceeds the Federal Communications Commission's requirement of three hours per week. Because Smoky Hills' children's educational television and outreach programs target low-income children who tend to score lower on literacy tests when entering kindergarten, this literacy work is a critical step toward making sure all children read proficiently by fourth grade. In fact, Big Bird has probably helped more kids learn to read than any single teacher.
State funding provides almost irreplaceable general operating support usually not available from private funders. If you value public television, ask your legislators to restore funding for public broadcasting to FY 2003-2012 levels (about $2.5 million) and become a member of Smoky Hills Public Television.