To the editor:
This is in response to Bruce Wiley’s letter published May 14 addressing Col. Pat Proctor and Sen. Kevin Braun’s support of the Topeka protestors. Mr. Wiley asked the question, “Who in their right mind would consider voting for these candidates to represent our values in Topeka?” I did not attend the rally but, as a small business owner who kept abreast of the events and watched the video of Sen. Braun speaking to the people gathered at the Capitol, I have an answer for him.
I do not know what pains Mr. Wiley may have endured as a result of the governor’s shutdown and sincerely hope they were few. I can only attest to the financial burden placed on my family-owned business, our sole means of support.
No matter what the reader’s opinion is of the shutdown or what side they stand on in the field of polarized politics, I want them to consider this. The people in attendance of this protest were not “freaks” or “bone heads” as Mr. Wiley labeled them. They were our fellow Americans exercising their constitutional rights, guaranteed to them for more than 240 years, to gather, protest peacefully and redress our government with actual grievances.
It is our elected officials’ obligation to allow us our stage and to listen when we speak regardless of what one person, be it a heroine or dictator, orders.
Mr. Wiley nor I are in a position to rule on the legality of a governor’s decree. However, I am aware of no laws made by Congress and certainly none made by individual states or their governors that can supersede our first amendment rights. If one wishes to argue to the contrary, that’s fine as it is your right. However, bear in mind that the law is not a moral compass. If it were, the people who helped Anne Frank and her family would not have been guilty of breaking the law and those who killed her been rewarded for following it.
After a month of my business being shut down and not seeing or hearing anything meaningful from any of my representation to include Sen. Braun, I found it encouraging to see him emerge, on the front lines, to address constituents and listen to their concerns. He could have continued to stay home and hide himself from the public as many of his colleagues had on both sides of the aisle. He instead chose to act as a leader and come face to face with, in Mr. Wiley’s words, “crazy,” “half-baked fruitcake” people “armed with assault weapons.” I find that commendable beyond reproach and place much value to someone willing to toe the line, even cross it, for me.
Col. Proctor? With his business crippled and to this day still restricted, he fed our neighbors. Every week. He extended offers to join his mission to anyone willing to help and contribute to the effort. It was a perfect opportunity for people, politicians or otherwise, Democrat and Republican, to unite and serve the people.
But, sadly, I did not see this happen. Even during a time of crisis, there was no unity in our community. Mr. Wiley’s attitude simply confirms this.
Perhaps in his next letter, he can outline his contributions to the relief effort. Present us with a teachable moment on how to aid those who have lost everything.
So, Mr. Wiley, to answer your question, who would vote for these two candidates? I, sir, am crazy enough to vote for them both.