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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: Roosevelt had some good ideas

  • Unfortunately, Kansas was overlooked in the presidential race, but things haven't always been this way.
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  • To the editor:
    Unfortunately, Kansas was overlooked in the presidential race, but things haven't always been this way. A century ago, Theodore Roosevelt came through Kansas campaigning and receiving support from the nationally famous newspaper editor William Allen White.
    In his autobiography White discussed Roosevelt's campaign: "Our social philosophy simmered down to this: The national income must be shifted so that the blessings of our civilization should be more widely enjoyed than they were. To make that shift, what Col. Roosevelt called "predatory wealth" or "aggrandized capital" should have its claws pared, its greed checked, its rapacity quenched so far as is humanly possible. And the shift or redistribution of national income should be achieved by using government where necessary as an agency of human welfare. Lord, how we did like that phrase, 'using government as an agency of human welfare'! That was the slogan, that was the Bull Moose platform boiled down to a phrase."
    This comes to mind because similar battles are still being fought today, with opponents using derisive labels. One Kansas politician has referred to them as "socialist" and an "advance of government tyranny" that has "destroyed our Founders' vision" and threatened "our constitutional form of government."
    I'm not offended at opposition, but I am offended by the use of pejoratives. Opponents are entitled to their perspective much as Taft's supporters had their place in 1912, but they need to remember that it is Roosevelt, not Taft, who has his face on Mount Rushmore.
    And name calling is inappropriate even in junior high schools, let alone in the halls of government.

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