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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Diane Wahto » Archives for Diane Wahto

By Diane Wahto on November 16, 2015

Living by pacifist values in a time of perpetual war, in a time when innocent people are slaughtered mindlessly by those who seem to have only evil on their minds is almost impossible. Impressed by the example of Gandhi and the anti-nuke activists in Britain, I declared myself a pacifist when I was 17. Born at the start of WWII and a teenager when the Korean War was waged, I had lived through war for much of my life. I believed war was wrong.

Then came the ‘60s and Vietnam. I demonstrated against that war when I returned to college to finish a bachelor’s degree. Eventually, the war was ended, thanks to Pres. Nixon, who implemented a draft lottery, thus making sure that all men could be called up, not just the poor and minority men. I was sure, after the resounding defeat in that misguided “police action,” and after the human cost and the cost in dollars to America, that surely no one would think to start a war based on shaky grounds again.

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By Diane Wahto on June 23, 2015

That 21-year old Dylann Roof, the man who shot nine people in the Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, is a hate-driven man with an unjustified superiority complex cannot be denied. Yet, when I first saw him on the news as he was being taken to jail, I thought he was still a child. He looks unformed, as teenagers often look before they gain the maturity of adulthood. However, within that youthful countenance lives an age-old evil that is rekindled with every new generation and every new set of victims.

Since I’m not a psychologist, I can’t say what impels a person like Roof to go so far off the rails of humanity. I do know that he is not alone in his desire to obliterate those who are not like him. Roof hates Jews, Latinos, and Asians, but his greatest enmity is directed toward black people, people he grew up with, attended school with, and partied with on occasion.

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By Diane Wahto on May 24, 2015

After watching Republican presidential candidates try to avoid an opinion on the second Iraq War, then watching the episodes dealing with the Vietnam War on PBA’s documentary series about the Vietnam War, I appreciate even more that Obama is indeed the leader we need right now. Given the quagmire of the Iraq War under George W. Bush’s leadership, Obama’s determination not to get the United States military involved in another war there heartened me.

I opposed both Iraq wars, the one under the elder Bush and the one the team of Bush-Cheney started in response to 9/11, with the claim that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. Secretary of State Colin Powell put his credibility on the line by going to the U.N. and embellishing the truth about WMDs in Iraq. Because of his statements, Bush-Cheney sent Americans to Iraq to fight and die in a war that had no purpose.

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By Diane Wahto on March 19, 2015

As a liberal, or now what is called a progressive, and as someone who does a little bit of social interaction online, I have found myself a member of many liberal-progressive Facebook and e-mail groups. I don’t do Twitter. I opened a Twitter account to help my writer daughter-in-law spread the news about her Young Adult book series. However, I closed it after too many people wanted me to follow them and it occurred to me that the constant tweeting would take up whatever time I had left over from checking on Facebook and my e-mail. Oh, and I don’t text either. How much non-face-to-face interaction with other people does a person need during one day? Every so often I have to check my bank account and write a poem or two. How in the world can I have time for that if I’m constantly checking Facebook notifications and Tweets of the hundreds of people who wanted me to follow them?

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By Diane Wahto on January 15, 2015

Several years ago, when Melanie, one of my granddaughters, was in middle school, the art teacher came up with a fun project—students were to make life-sized cardboard cutouts of themselves and color in the hair, the eyes, the mouth, clothes, and whatever other distinguishing characteristics they wanted to include. Melanie showed me her “flat Melanie” before she sent it off to one of her favorite great aunts. I thought it was pretty cute, but there was no way anyone could ever confuse that flat piece of colorful cardboard for my lively, thoughtful, smart granddaughter. That cutout was ultimately empty of what made Melanie who she was.

I thought back to this art project when I read Gov. Sam Brownback’s inauguration address remarks in the Wichita Eagle. Flat. That’s what I heard in the speech. An inability to understand what is really happening in the state that he governs. A lack of empathy for people who fail to share his narrow moral code.

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By Diane Wahto on November 17, 2014

The people have spoken in the 2014 mid-term election. Well, some of them have spoken. Most spoke by staying away from the polls. Once again, the Republicans have the upper hand, at least in the House and the Senate and in many states. Kansas is sliding into an economic hole that it won’t be able to dig out of without drastic action on the part of the state legislature, but already the battle lines are drawn between the no-taxers and the raise-taxers. Similar scenarios are playing out across red states everywhere

The people who were elected to the U. S. House and the Senate promise to make things better for Americans by doing the following: repeal the Affordable Care Act; cut Medicare benefits; cut Social Security benefits; and cut safety net benefits. They also promise not to do anything substantial on immigration reform and to cut Pres. Obama off at the pass if he tries to do anything. Oh, yes, they will likely approve the Keystone Pipeline, bringing the danger of an oil spill right over the most vulnerable water source in the country. Of course, that oil coming from Canada won’t help Americans, as it is being shipped from the Gulf of Mexico to other countries. Who cares? The Kochs and their ilk want that pipeline, so forget the rest of us.

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By Diane Wahto on September 1, 2014

Reading a political party platform is probably considered by most people to be at the ho-hum level of watching paint dry. However, it is in the platform that people can discover what a political party values and what it stands for. .

I don't know how Republicans develop their platform. I do know, since I'm a Democrat and active in the Kansas Democratic Party, that the Kansas Democrats develop their platform with the input from a platform committee. This committee is made up of people holding elected office, Democratic Party officers, caucus chairs, county chairs, and district chairs. Democrats throughout the state have a say by letting members of the platform committee know about issues that need to be addressed.

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By Diane Wahto on July 27, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, the Wichita Eagle, my hometown newspaper, ran a front page story about David Koch and his philanthropy. Roy Wenzl, a fine Eagle reporter, wrote the story. From the content of the story, it appears that Wenzl went to New York City, where Koch lives with his wife, children and dogs in a Manhattan apartment building.

According to the long, front-page article, David Koch gives money to such institutions as a cancer center, an art museum, a ballet company, and other New York City based cultural and medical establishments. This giving is a good thing. Koch etches his name on each of the buildings housing these institutions. Among his motives, of which there are many, is his desire to help these cultural and medical establishments flourish so that others may benefit from them.

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By Diane Wahto on June 24, 2014

This morning's Wichita Eagle carried an article that rated the states according to how much fun they were to vacation in. It's no surprise, I guess, that Kansas was near the bottom of the rankings. However, having grown up and then returning after being away for close to fifteen years, I know Kansas is beautiful in ways that aren't always obvious to those who don't look closely.

I grew up in the southeast corner of the state. Baxter Springs is a small town, named for its founder and for the springs that people went to. On the east side of town is the Spring River. People fish there below the small dam. The river also supplies hydroelectric power to the area. In the country just outside of Baxter Springs, someone thought to dam up the river and turn it into a crystal clear swimming hole. In the summer, everyone in Baxter Springs drove to Five Mile to escape the heat. If you were a teenager and you didn't go to Five Mile, you just weren't with it.

I live in Wichita, a city of many fine examples of architecture, both new and old. My husband walks around the city every day and takes pictures of sites that can be reached only by walkers. It's amazing what treasures are hidden just out of sight of people driving cars. Then there are the city parks, with great expanses of grass, tennis courts, baseball and football fields, and areas for walking.

My children and their families live in the northeast, so I often drive on the Kansas Turnpike to visit them. The rolling hills in that part of the state put the lie to the idea that Kansas is flat. At the crest of one of the hills, the eye takes in miles and miles of pastureland, trees, creeks, wildflowers, and the other natural sights that live in those hills.

I once traveled to Western Kansas on my way to Colorado. Yes, it is indeed flat out there, but it's also beautiful. As I was driving, off in the distance, I could see an elk standing in solitary grandeur, looking out over prairie. Rivers and streams cut through outcroppings of limestone. Fields of wheat, soybeans, domesticated sunflowers and corn are a testament to the importance of Kansas agriculture.

It's not a problem, I guess, that people don't want to visit Kansas for their vacations. I see the fewer people, the less congestion we have. And, after all, we do have Kansas City, a major U.S. city, and Lawrence, one of the greatest little cities in the world.

By Diane Wahto on June 19, 2014

Thanks to Angelo Lopez for suggesting I write this.


My writing critique group meeting comes along every month without fail, except for December when we all go out for a holiday lunch. Every month, I try to have a poem or two ready to take for the group’s perusal. The members of this group, all women, are all sharp-eyed, experienced writers who have good instincts when it comes to improving a piece of writing. This month, having gone through a long dry spell and having been involved with graduations and other family events, I didn’t have anything I could take. I did, however, have the germ of an idea.

I listen to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac every weekday on KMUW radio. I also get the transcript online. One day last week, Garrison announced that it was Soren Kierkegaard’s birthday and gave a summary of his philosophy. He mentioned Kierkegaard’s notion of “the leap of faith,” which says that a person finds faith in God only through taking that leap. Kierkegaard also believed that in order to have faith, one must also have doubts.

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