Sing to the Lord, for he has risen up in triumph,
The horse and his rider he has hurled into the sea.
Miriam's Victory Song
The Kansas City Star has finally perfected its one-sided advocacy in carefully worded headlines, news, and editorials, in favor of the public funding of the Liberty Memorial Museum for the Glorification of War. The Editorial Board, united in its jingoism, has hung another article on its totem pole, this one supposedly an "oped" view. It was written by another editor, Miriam Pepper, to balance out the editorial pages. She hews right to the editorial line, the single-minded line that states that there is only one "main criticism" of the world war projection into the future, the one the editors have determined to be the "main" one, and that main one is not the fundamental one which the editors are well aware of but have thus far not aired, that the project is immoral and obscene and should not be publicly funded.
According to Star editors and reporters, the "main" criticism is that the money is needed elsewhere to repair the crumbling infrastructure. Reference was also made to promises, implied from statements made some time ago, that any funding of said museum would be private. Objections to the newspaper's official view have been strenuously made to the editors and reporters, and have been ignored. It appears that the editors have adopted the advice given to the civic leaders by former Denver Mayor Webb in respect to projects favored by civic leaders in cahoots: "Ignore the naysayers." However that may be, it gives me great pleasure to say Nay once again, and respond to the oped piece as follows, beginning with the headline over the article:
"Find courage to reveal the memorial's potential."
I don't know, but I do not believe Miriam Pepper wrote that offensive header on her column. I think a bully, probably a male, devised it.
Good grief, it's Groundhog Day again! As if anyone opposed to the use of public funds to support the glorification of war is a coward. As if those who prefer butter to guns are cowards. Yet the bullies who infer or imply that people who would rather eat and make love than make war or participate in glorifying it are cowards; they may be politically correct for not using the using the word "coward," therefore to be politically correct I say they are perverse poltroons.
"The Liberty Memorial Association has a world-class architect lined up.... The chance to hire Applebaum (Ralph Applebaum Associates) could slip by...."
You see, they did the Holocaust in Washington. And for Kansas City they will create multi-media special effects; life-sized facsimiles of the horrors of trench warfare including a bomb crater; the projecting of war scenes on an 180-foot wall; images of war on plasma screens; - they're the best around, and we would certainly miss the gratuitous violence.
"It would not require a tax increase."
Miriam Pepper must not read her own paper, which quoted the ballot language as follows: "The authorization (by voters) of the bonds will authorize the city to maintain tangible property tax rates sufficient to pay the interest and principal on the bonds until fully paid." Perhaps Ms. Pepper is running wild with a credit card, not knowing that there is a difference between cash and credit, and that her credit must be maintained with her income. But we think not. We do suppose that she has forgotten what certain Founding Fathers said about the evils of debt and endless internal improvements." In all seriousness, Ms. Pepper is obviously prevaricating on behalf of the city, using a good thing to destroy it. The city may for instance claim that there will be no tax increase because sufficient old debt will be retired in time to make the payments on new debt. However, if there is no net increase in taxes because other debt is retired and the taxes have not been reduced accordingly, then taxes have been in effect increased over time. In any event, every new debt represents an increase in taxes if it is paid off. For instance, if you agree to pay $100 per month for ten months, for a total of $1,000, and you continue to pay that amount for another ten months in addition to the original term agreed upon, you have increased your total payments from $1,000 to $2,000.
"At one time, Kansas City was known for its Kansas City Spirit, its roll-up-the-sleeves, can-do attitude."
Newcomer Edwin J. Shannahan noticed a booster spirit in Kansas City in 1911, and named it "the Heart of America." And that spirit was not a strictly mercantile or commercial spirit to make a buck, but a spirit of cooperation, a sort of "barn-building" or "convention-center-building" spirit - the center once burned down right after it was built for the convention, and it was quickly rebuilt. The ancients associated the heart with the mind, but today we usually relate it to feeling, especially the warm-hearted feelings of love, not the angry feelings of hate that can give people heart attacks and lead the youth to imitate their elders and wage bloody wars.
"Why not improve Science City and add more to Union Station, create the new Liberty Memorial Museum and allow the two to become a district of cultural attractions?"
In other words, Why don't we do several things at once rather than finishing something by making it right for a change? Miriam Pepper must not be up to date. Maybe she has had her brains scrambled and sprawled out over the metropolitan area by multitasking. She might consult with her colleague, Dianne Stafford, the Kansas City Star workplace columnist, on multitasking. If Dianne is up to date, she will counsel Miriam that numerous scientific studies concluded that multitasking is inefficient and ineffective because multitasking, quite frankly, makes people stupid. She might also warn her of the pernicious mental and physical health effects of fast-pacing, including the fast-paced writing of fast-paced superficial articles. The same have made readers so stupid that they think a pyramid of facts means something, and that any paragraph longer than a short sentence in an article longer than 200 words is a "screed." Laughing out loud!
"With a compelling museum, young and old could learn about the history of war and its lessons for our future." And other haunts designed by Applebaum "are not dead-history places. They are major tourist attractions."
I am shocked by this statement most of all. Maybe I am a male chauvinist, but I have examined Miriam Pepper's photo over her article, and she does not look like a money-grubbing hawk. She looks like a loving dove, my kind of woman, a woman who would not want her children or anyone else's children viewing violent scenes and participating in any way in the grandiose glorification of world war whether it be in the name of "peace" or "liberty" or not, no matter what the box-office take might be. I do not see Miriam at the concession stand selling toy machine guns, grenades, tanks, jets, toy soldiers and the like to kids. I envision her as a hippie woman who would save all men from drowning in hate, a woman who loves her commune equally, regardless of the identity of the fathers; one who would not want them killing each other or pretending to kill each other after greasing up the tribal totem pole. I imagine that in politics she would courageously say, like Jeannette Rankin did,
"Nay, as a woman I can't go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else."
But, alas, I imagine things. I have no right to do so. Women have always made good warriors. The suffragettes and the suffragists bought their suffrage with promises to support world war. Women fly jet bombers now; hardly any man dares question their ability to kill with the best of them - rather they worry what might happen if an attractive pilot crashes in hostile Arab territory. In any case, there are seventeen kinds of feminists now; the kind I dream of is a rare breed.
Monday, March 29, 2004
Downtown Kansas City Journal