To the editor:

The president updated us on the state of the union. As I see it, the state of the union is not good. Yes, I know, lowest unemployment in 50 years and the stock market is soaring, but we are burdened with the highest debt in history for our children and grandchildren to pay off.

The word union means the act of uniting two or more things. Instead, we are far from agreeing or acting harmoniously. We have a leader who has embarrassed us and who lacks the ethics and moral compass required of a resident of the White House. We stand daily on the brink of war either economically or in an armed conflict. We have broken the bonds formed with our allies over the last century by backing out of agreements put in place to make us safer.

Our word is no longer good. The state of the union is not good when we are impeaching our president because he is accused of high crimes and misdemeanors for blackmailing an ally into providing information about a presidential candidate from the other party. I expect to hear rebuttals about how wrong I am, but it’s clear to me as a Christian that I should not lie, steal or treat my neighbors unkindly. If you really believe these behaviors enhance our standing in the world, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

At the state and local level, we have representatives in Congress who have chosen to represent their party not their constituents. Shouldn’t they be fighting for the needs of the people of Kansas? They certainly are not showing the level of honor Kansans have received from Kassebaum and Dole. Where is their courage? They are too worried about their reelection. We must fix that in November.

The state of the union is not good when farm families are filing for bankruptcy because they no longer have the markets they worked so hard to secure over the years. Family farms are in as much trouble now as they were during the farm crisis of the 1980s. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world market. Many of the products we buy and use aren’t made here anymore. Only 37% of a Ford automobile is made in the U.S. It might be assembled here but 63% of the parts come from overseas. 

Please don’t fall for the statement “We are bringing back the manufacturing and productivity of the 60s.” We neither have the resources, skills or factories to produce what we need anymore. Business investment has declined for the third quarter in a row and the tax cuts have not worked as incentives to encourage capital investment or the return of major industries from abroad. 

The state of the union is not good when we have thousands of our citizens committing suicides every year due to lack of mental health services or a feeling of hopelessness. I recently read that 45,000 people in the United States committed suicide in 2019. This includes children, teenagers, moms, dads, grandparents and our veterans.

Another reason our state of the union is not good is because our local politicians are allowing themselves to be pulled into the fray with name calling and behaviors associated with unruly children. Well guess what. We are sick of it. This is an election year. Stay civil and on point. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter appear to be our major means of communication. Many pages are crammed full of comments about the opposition, mostly nasty and untrue accusations. They just add to the anxiety and frustration of both sides and distract from the issues. Social trust is at an all-time low. It’s up to us and the candidates to change the tone and stick to the issues.

Although the state of the union is not good, we are going to have to step up. Speak truth to power, get informed and get registered to vote. It’s easy. You can do it on your cell phone. Go to www.KsVotes.org and follow the directions. Attend forums, read newspapers, look at the Facebook and websites of the candidates. Contact the candidate if you feel strongly about an issue and have a civil discussion. The breakdown in our democracy needs you and as history shows, we can prevail in times of adversity. It’s up to us to turn the state of this union around. Do your part.