The Colyer story recounts the Governor having his driver stop his car as it went by an accident scene on a campaign trip. There Colyer made sure a heat-exhausted truck-trailer driver had a bottle of water, then took him to the trooper’s car to sit in air-conditioning.
Says his paid spokeswoman, apparently the source of this stand-alone story, “This is just what he does,” also citing his running to the aid of an injured wrestler at a tournament.
The second story details Congressman Marshall’s account of his visit to 360 mostly Central American boys separated from their parents at an ‘immaculate’ detention center or ‘camp’ near the border. Citing his own mission work in Central America, Haiti, and Kenya, Marshall said the camp’s ‘loving and caring’ workers who also ‘look at it as a mission project,’ are “bringing teddy bears from home and getting them food.”
To further comfort the children, Marshall played soccer with them.
Thus calling to mind the January 31st story of the Congressman administering CPR to one of three garbage truckers hit by him and more than half the other Republican Senators and Representatives in a chartered train enroute to a West Virginia retreat.
Good for them! Compassion is a scarce commodity these days. When our public officials demonstrate it, shouldn’t we be the first to thank and congratulate them? Of course.
When anyone faces such need up close and personal, Hippocratic oath or not, the urgency of the moment and our best human instincts (usually) come into play. For that impulse, we can all be grateful.
But we should beware the Missionary Mentality. The automatic label of “Good Guy.” The feeling that by taking some saving action, we have done our best—and our duty–to our fellow humans. This applies to all of us, but especially Elected Officials and People in Charge.
It cannot go unnoticed that these stories appear in an election year. That their origins are with the officials themselves, or their surrogates. And that they might just seem deliberately calibrated as free campaign advertising.
Far more importantly, that their seemingly benevolent actions are in stark contrast with the harm inflicted by their public policies. Policies that, potentially or actually, directly harm the very people they are ‘helping.’
Imagine Colyer’s truck-trailer driver has a disabled daughter needing ongoing care, care denied by the KanCare company putting off or denying payment to the facility or physician offering her services—for their own personal enrichment.
A Kan’t Care system created by whom? Governor Colyer. A system the Guv wants to change to limit help to 36 months, and not allow help for anyone the Guv’s worker bees say won’t work for their benefits.
If our 150,000 Kansas neighbors not insured against financial disaster (because the Guv staunchly opposes expanding Medicaid) were sitting in the heat by the side of the road, would a water bottle and air-conditioned trooper car provide sufficient relief?
Will a soccer game with a U.S. Congressman and Teddy Bears from their captors get these kids back to their parents and out of prison (where they are held without their consent)?
Don’t be ridiculous.
The onus is on us, friends. When you read these Teddy Bear stories (and there’ll be more), it’s your responsibility to see the larger picture—and to Vote Accordingly!
David Norlin is Chairman of the Salina Planning Commission, former President of Salina Access TV, and a former College Director of Broadcasting and English Department Chair. He has twice run for Kansas State Office.