Something to Think About - keep (322)

Polarization is defined as: “division into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions.”

        Ed O’Malley is the founder and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center. Recently he published an article about the “fog of polarization” in relation to this pandemic we are in.

        My belief for some time is that radical polarization is one of the biggest challenges we face in America.

        O’Malley’s conclusion that: “the pandemic simply became the latest canvas on which Americans paint a polarized civic culture” is absolutely right on.

        Ed points out that polarization makes problem-solving more difficult. His examples are familiar. It’s them, not us. They need to change, not us. Get the picture?

        He gave an even better example when he wrote: “I spoke to two prominent Kansas political figures this week, one Republican and one Democrat. Both bemoaned the hyperpolarization in our state government. (But)Neither saw their part of the mess.”

        Our underlying problem as I view it is we’ve quit listening and talking. Politically most of our minds are made up and the resulting polarization is killing us.

        O’Malley points out that both George W. Bush and Barrack Obama ran for president on unifying themes.

        Bush claimed to be an “uniter, not a divider.” And Obama pointed out “There’s no red America, there’s no blue America, there’s just the United States of America.” Unfortunately, both their terms as president ended with America more polarized than when they took office.

        Today the level of polarization in America is off the charts. Have you ever heard President Trump reach out in an effort to unify? Me neither.

        Towards the end of congressman Roger Marshall’s first term at a luncheon, I ask him: “How often do you actually talk with a democrat in Washington?”

        His answer was: other than in a group of newly elected representatives that he chaired, not that often!”

        I was stunned. My contention is if there are not even conversations between Republicans and Democrats in Washington D.C. there’s no chance for compromise or progress.

        My votes in November will be based largely on the candidates that tell me they want to work across the aisle, not for anyone suggesting they have all the answers!

        I’m Steve Sauder.

          When I say Lake Kahola, what comes to your mind?

          If you aren’t familiar with Lake Kahola here’s some information. It was built by a federal work program in the ’30s with the 70-foot tall dam completed in 1937. It was thought at one time Kahola could provide a backup water supply for Emporia, but lake veterans tell me nary a drop of lake water ever reached E-Town.

          Kahola is Indian for “spring water.” That seems accurate as the Lake’s water is typically crystal clear like a stream and fishing is amazing.

          The lake of 405 acres of water sits on an 800-acre plot. Its 2 miles long with 7 miles of shoreline. There are 180 cabin sites leaving plenty of free shore with no new home sites allowed. I called them cabins, but there are a number of really nice homes at Kahola. In fact, rumor has it there a property for sale with an asking price of a million-plus!

          The lake was owned by Emporia City until a while back when the Home Owner’s Association made a deal to end the leases and allow the properties to be individually purchased.

          The 20 miles from Emporia to Kahola have always been unique – at least the last 7 to 8 miles which are now gravel. Old-timers told me they liked the bad roads to keep curious outsiders away. The roads are a challenge but manageable if you follow the advice of my longtime neighbor – the late Don Ek, who said “don’t exceed 40 MPH and you’ll never get a flat!”

          The bad roads haven’t worked to keep people away as Wichita and Kansas City people own a number of cabins at Kahola.

          With that said let me share a story about the things that make Lake Kahola so special. We purchased a vacant lot 20 years ago and Eric Johnson built us a very nice lake home. Over time we have used it in various ways with my sons becoming more and more involved to the point they now run the show. Jamie, who lives in Emporia takes the lead but brothers Brady from Manhatten and TJ from Shawnee have upped their participation greatly.

          The Pandemic has made the lake an extremely attractive destination.

          Sunday Bobbi and I received a text from Brady’s family saying they were headed to Kahola for some fishing and wondered if we’d like to come out later for a boat ride.

          It worked out after golf we drove the nasty gravel to Kahola. What an enjoyable time! It was maybe 80 degrees, slight breeze, and sunshine. After sitting around the fire pit for a while we boarded our tri-tune party boat and circled the lake seeing many friends and enjoying God’s beauty.

          Lake Kahola is a special place for many reasons and we experienced several of them last Sunday. We feel blessed.

          I’m Steve Sauder

Election Day is November third. Voting this year may be a challenge especially if you are a vulnerable individual like me – older with underlying health concerns meaning voting in person isn’t the smartest decision.

          Arranging to vote by mail is very easy and without peril in my opinion regardless of what some want us to believe.

          Here is how you get a ballot mailed to you.

          Go to KSVote.org and follow the prompts. I did it on my phone. You can even sign your request on your device using your finger.

          Here’s what you need: Your name, address, driver’s license number, or alternatives if you don’t have a valid Kansas driver’s license. And your phone number.

          It’s that easy! Your ballot will arrive several weeks before November the third, so you will have time to fill it out, seal it and mail it.

          K S V O T E . O R G!

          You can use this site to get registered to vote too.

          One last thing in terms of a suggestion. Whether you are voting by mail or in-person – VOTE EARLY! If voting by mail, do not wait until November the second. If voting in person, try and vote early in the day to avoid a late rush or demonstration.

          I agree with President Trump on one thing! This is the most important election in American history so I hope you will vote.

          It’s easy by mail – KSVote.org, that’s KSVote.org and follow the instructions. It tells you everything except who to vote for!

          I’m Steve Sauder

          Today several Posts taken from Face book. While I’m in agreement with most of this please remember someone else posted these thoughts.      The poster wrote:

                                 I can do without Starbucks;

                                 I can do without Nike shoes;

                                 I can do without Hollywood;

                                 And I can do without athletes and all sporting events who disrespect our flag.

                                But I cannot imagine my life without the safety of our  Police Officers.

                               Concluding, We’ve got to be loud and back the blue.

         

          Providing a reasonable response someone offered.

                                 For the record, the movement isn’t anti-police. It is anti-Police brutality. Some seem to be confused.

          And Steve said, “well put.”

          Finally, let’s bring our Lord and the power of prayer up as our topic. A poster offered:

                                Once a man asked, “What do you gain by regularly  praying to God?” The man replied, nothing…but let me tell you what I lost: Anger, ego, greed, depression,    insecurity, and the fear of death.

                                Sometimes the answer to our prayers is not gaining but losing; which ultimately is a gain.

                                Can I get an Amen?

          Last a very important prayer for many people.

                                God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

                                Amen

          I cannot stop today without mentioning COVID 19 and the fact that we in Lyon County are doing a lousy job in slowing it down.

          Jeniffer Millbern from the Health Department said yesterday on KVOE, "it’s not just the retirement homes, it’s community spread and we are socializing too much.”

          Coming up is a Holliday weekend meaning more social opportunities.  Our schools don’t operate in a bubble, so if we want our kids IN SCHOOL, playing football, marching in the band, and cheering we’d better clean up our acts. The time is now folks! Not next week.

          There’s “Something to think about.” and I’m Steve Sauder.

Not sure I’d ever sat through a school board meeting, but I am sure I’ve never spent 3 hours at one!

         Monday night, remotely I attended a very informative Emporia Board of Education study session. It was impressive. The information presented by two groups, one from the state and the other appointed by the local board explained this new feature called “Kansas Schools Gating Criteria” which is available to help school districts evaluate the climate for opening their schools in relation to Covid 19.

         We learned how this Gating tool works and what information is used to create it. The two areas that seem to trouble Lyon County most are: the number of new Covid cases and the percent of positive cases compared to total tests given.

         The committee members from outside Emporia were lavish in their praise of the reopening plans USD 253 has put together. In fact, more than one of the experts called Emporia’s plan the most detailed and well thought out plan they had seen. This will be important when the Board decides how  proceed on Wednesday night.

         The bad news is our “community burden” meaning our performance against the virus has not been very good. Bad efforts in the two areas mentioned earlier seem to put USD 253 in the mostly Orange area on the Gating chart. The addition of a large number of tests from ESU actually helped,  but Lyon County’s consistent daily growth in new virus cases is a deal breaker.      

         The discussion was engrossing. Our position on the Gating chart suggestd “Remote Only” for  learning and limits activities including sports in a significant way..

         The experts did agree that because of the really good plan Emporia has created it could consider going forward with current plans for face to face elementary school education and the phased in - hybrid plan for older kids.

         Sports and other activities are a different question and one that received a great deal of attention. No one discounted the need or desire for extra curricular activities, but the risk involved was well documented. 

         Board President Mike Crouch is an impassioned proponent for allowing activities to go forward until there is a problem citing the past three weeks where camps and practices have been held without incident. Mike asked “so, what’s changed, why back off now?”

         Unfortunately for Mike and many others it isn’t what’s changed as much as what hasn’t changed. That being the growing daily number of new cases of Covid 19 in Lyon County. That’s the problem! We as a community have not done a good enough job in fighting this pandemic and our children may pay for it! We need to do better.

Thank you to the USD 253 Board members and those assisting them with this decision and good luck with this difficult decision.

I’m Steve Sauder.

Line in the Sand by Roger Hartsook
August 2020
I don't know if this will do any good but I have to say my mind. The world at large and the USA, in particular, aren't getting it. The COVID19 virus is not going away.
Our first attack was great. However, it was just showing success when all the cracks started to appear. I think it all started around Memorial Day and I've been seeing it grow since that time.  Along with the spread of the virus, we have experienced losses. Unfortunately, some have been intensely deep and personal.
The hurt and grief of losing a loved one never go away. We're also experiencing losses in our day-to-day life. Maybe they're something as essential as education in classrooms; maybe they're only so-called quality of life; issues.
All of them are important to us in their own ways, whether psychologically or physically, or a combination of both.
Nobody wants to lose baseball, football, etc. No one wants to lose the freedom to socialize, to party, to barbecue in the backyard, to go shopping, and, yes, to go to church. Meanwhile, I have to take oxygen 24/7. I'm not happy. I'm in danger because of this virus.
Where I reside, we see that much of the world thinks this will all go away. A cure eventually will be found and we'll stand in line for shots and return to our blissful lives. Trust me. Til then, the game ain't over.
What can we do? First of all, if you're around Emporia, cooperate with the protective efforts being put forth. Your local media is imploring you; local leaders are doing the same.
If we're going to get smart about it, then let's put our line in the sand; right here. Let's start one person at a time and get this behind us. The next flu season isn't that far away.

I recently read an interesting story in TIME magazine entitled “Revenge of the Never Trumpers.”

          It tells about the organizing of groups of mostly Republicans dissatisfied with President Trump for his Tweeting practices, being cozy with dictators, his mishandling of the COVID 19 pandemic, and his propensity to fire people among other things.

          These groups are generally known as RVAT’s, Republicans Voting Against Trump. Most well known is the Lincoln Project with others called the Right Side PAC and the very interesting “#43 Alumni for Biden” with ties to former President George W. Bush’s administration.

          Jack Speilman had been a Republican his whole life. A retired Army cybersecurity engineer Speilman had already decided he could not vote for Trump again, but when the President fired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vineman for testifying in the impeachment hearings the camel’s back was broken. He knew he was not only voting for Joe Biden, but he’d start persuading others to follow suit. He even filmed a video where he tries to correct the wrong he did in voting for Trump.

          One of the founders of the Lincoln Project is George Conway, Kellyanne’s husband. You know, she’s President Trump’s media defender in Chief. After Lincoln ran a video in May called “Mourning in America” taking Trump to task about sick and unemployed Americans he Tweeted this. “I don’t know what Kellyanne did to her deranged loser of a husband, Moonface, but it must have been really bad.”

          These “Never Trumper” groups understand they are up against a giant obstacle in an incumbent president that possesses a giant war chest and who until recently was supported by 90% of Republicans.

          The RVAT’s are chipping away at Trump’s party approval level as it’s dropped to 78%.

          The Never Trumps are encouraged that Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania by just 77,000 votes. That gives RVAT’s one very manageable target. If they can convince a small slice of disenchanted Trump ‘16 voters along with a majority of right-leaning independents to vote for Biden they might well change the 2020 outcome.

          Jack Speilman concluded, “I’m not leaving the party, but I want to fight for what’s right for the party.”

          Guess I have to agree with him because it’s no fun being a RINO – that’s a Republican in name only.

          I’m Steve Sauder and “There’s Something to Think About.”

I am writing to express my concern about the alarming growth of Corona Virus cases in Emporia and Lyon County and the situation created by politics and the Kansas legislature when they took leadership on controlling this pandemic in Kansas away from the Governor and dumped it in your laps.
For several months it appeared Lyon County was doing well, but that changed about a month ago when clusters broke out and community spread took hold. In the past month, Lyon County’s active cases have increased from a low of 16 to 86 on Monday! Deaths and hospitalizations have grown as well.
I appreciate your desire to keep regulations to a minimum, but these increasing new cases indicate we need to start using every available tool in our tool chests. This is especially true with several thousand college students arriving soon and public schools opening with extracurricular activities included.
Our challenges are growing and a mandatory mask-wearing law will send a message to our new guests we are serious about beating this virus.
Mandatory mask regulations have proven effective in many cities across America and the effectiveness of masks was well documented by the hairdresser in Missouri who while being an active COVID 19 carrier worked on 89 clients all wearing masks with none of them getting the disease.
Lord knows we no one enjoys wearing a mask, but I’d suggest such a practice from now until the end of September has the potential to pay large dividends in our battle with Corona.
Every other Regent’s University city in Kansas including Pittsburg and Hays have mask restrictions with fines in place!
I’ve been taught that good government does for its people what they can not do for themselves. Wearing masks is most effective if everyone complies. That will only happen if you adopt a new law with penalties. We the people can’t do this on our own even if it may be a big game-changer.
Sadly politics put this decision on your plates. I’m sure you are hearing a lot of people suggesting wearing a mask should be a personal decision, but on occasion, public health and safety needs to take precedent over individual rights. Using every tool we have available to fight this virus would appear to be one of those situations.
With local virus numbers spiraling, our public schools opening, and our college students returning I pray you will give this opportunity serious consideration and act quickly to protect your constituents.
Thank you.
Steve Sauder

I have been delivering my message on Wednesday mornings on KVOE for over 30 years. Today’s thoughts are without question my most important and heartfelt ever!

Emporia. Lyon County and Kansas are in the midst of a major spike in Corona Virus infections. Locally as of Monday, we had 80 active cases. That’s a 500% increase from the 16 active cases reported just three weeks ago!!

Hopefully, they are all identified with contact tracing taking place and we’ve hit our high watermark. If not, there should be pressure on local officials to take steps to slow things down with more restrictive local rules in terms of gathering sizes and other limits. Wishful thinking won’t fix this mess.

With that being said the so-called 800-pound elephant in the room becomes the opening date for our schools?

We absolutely understand the need for our schools to open, and if safe with face to face learning as a viable option. BUT, with the COVID 19 spiking situation we are experiencing in Lyon County why not choose the option to delay school starts until after Labor Day? It just makes sense.

It makes sense NOT because the schools aren’t ready – they’ve been planning for months. Our schools know what they will do, but our community is not as ready or as healthy as we could be. Those three extra weeks could give Emporia time to cut those active numbers way down. 

Also, there should be little debate at the local level about requiring masks in school settings. The Attorney General may be correct legally, but from a health perspective schools need to wear masks and his ruling is counterproductive. That’s a no brainer!

So, mimicking the words of Bill Curtis, the Topeka TV newsman from over 50 years ago when a massive tornado was bearing down on Topeka – 

FOR GOD’S SAKE EMPORIA - TAKE THE TIME TO LET OUR COMMUNITY’S HEALTH IMPROVE AND HOLD OFF OPENING SCHOOLS UNTIL AFTER LABOR DAY FOR OUR OWN GOOD!

 

I’m Steve Sauder

Susan Wagle is a State Senator from Wichita, elected in 2001 she became President of the Senate in 2013. A Sam Brownback disciple we know that other than tax
cuts she is against most everything!
She was at it again last week blasting Governor Kelly’s sensible plan to delay opening Kansas schools to allow the state to get the surge in new COVID 19 cases under control. I don’t think our Governor had left the podium when Wagle blasted her “closing the schools” and for using a so-called “one size fits all” solution.
Wagle used Facebook to encouraging citizens to “voice their opinion about the Governor’s suggestion to close the schools.”
A large number of Facebook responders pointed out that Senator Wagle had conveniently distorted what Kelly actually said! The Governor wants to “delay” opening schools, not close them.
As for “one size fits all” we all know there are 105 diverse counties in Kansas, so typically one size does not fit all, BUT this COVID 19 virus doesn’t respect or recognize county lines. We are learning the hard way that we need a uniform, state-wide response if we are to succeed in flattening this awful curve.
Senator Wagle is guilty of using our Kansas school children as political capital.
Her post on Facebook was met with almost total opposition from her “Facebook friends” citing Wagle for putting politics over accuracy in claiming Governor Kelly wants to close our schools.
This teacher said it best: Thanks Susan, I’ll be sure and write to (the State School Board) and encourage them to support the Governor’s declaration since we are now in the middle of a huge COVID 19 spike that started….wait for it when the Republicans in the legislature tied her hands and allowed the state to re-open too quickly. 
Politicians are influencing ill-advised Corona Virus decisions and Senator Wagel is a leader. She opposed the Governor’s reasonable re-opening plan to slow down the growth of this pandemic and Kansas is currently paying the price in alarming rising virus numbers.
What we are facing today is the old “Fram Oil Filter” challenge. “You can pay me now or pay me later.”
Simply wanting the Corona Virus to disappear is not working!!
We need to listen to the scientists or we will be wearing these damn masks a year from now!
I’m Steve Sauder and There’s Something to Think About.

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