Boycott an empty gesture
You may remember me; we were classmates at KU. We both spring from the same Kansas roots; carry a mantle handed down by former generations that envisions a better world, in which people of diversity live in prosperity and equality with one another.
We both have traveled great distances -- both geographically and educationally -- from our origins to achieve our goals. We stand on the shoulders of those -- namely our parents -- who sacrificed in order that we might have better lives; in turn expected that we might make life better for others -- those we know and those we will never meet.
There was an article in the Kansas City Star the Sunday your article appeared on the Opinion Page in which you pleaded with Mayor Funkhouser to accept Semler's resignation from the Parks and Recreation Board because of her membership in Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, about how environmental factors may alter our genetic codes and the genetic codes of future generations; just as the behavior of our ancestors may have altered our genetic code, hence our health and welfare as well as our behavior.
I would ask you to consider this: whether the National Council of La Raza might have a greater impact by staying the course and bringing its convention to Kansas City; whether it is better to stand strong in the face of adversity than to withdraw and leave adversity to propel itself forward without the moral challenge and outrage that you feel so strongly.
I think of a lone Chinese student in Tiananmen Square, face to face with a tank; in the process stopped its forward momentum. Who can forget that diminutive figure up against that formidable, destructive force?
I have stood in Tiananmen Square in the 80's when I traveled there with a medical team; we were some of the first to travel there after the gates of China reopened after having slammed shut during the Cultural Revolution in which highly educated, cultural professionals found themselves culled and eliminated from the populace.
We perhaps stand today in a Tiananmen Square in the heart of America, facing adversaries who would eliminate all that does not purport to be in their self interest. I would ask you to consider whether or not your presence here would not be a far greater statement and have a far greater impact than to boycott.
I would ask you to come home, Janet, and bring La Raza with you. I would ask you to take your position before the tanks which bear down before you; impede the forward momentum of destructive forces in our midst; and alter the genetic code of future generations. You will not be standing alone.