September 21, 2016

Love Letters from across America and around the World

to President Will Jones, students, staff and friends

Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas

What do you do when a white supremacist writes racist and hateful messages directed at your children and at the students you work to serve?” This was the question asked by President Will Jones of Bethany College just a few days ago when such messages appeared on his campus and he got a threatening phone call from the person who wrote the messages.

I emailed President Jones and said HateBusters would provide any help he needed. Free of charge. I will send a packet by snail mail telling him all about HateBusters.

But right now let’s send Love Letters to President Will Jones and to Bethany College. He and they need to know we have their backs.

For snail mail: Will Jones, President

Office of the President

Presser Hall 106

Bethany College

335 East Swensson Street

Lindsborg, Kansas 67456

for email

For details of this incident check out Bethany College on line.

Thanks for doing this. Invite friends, family and folks you know to join in and write Love Letters.

Ed Chasteen, President



September 13, 2016

I Vote Democrat Because

By Ed Chasteen

Neither of my grandmothers could read or write.

My dad had to quit school in the eighth grade when he was 14 and his father died. Dad had to go to work to support his widowed mother.

Only my mother in all my extended family graduated high school.

I was the first in my extended family to graduate college.

I learned that Democrats were in power when

Child labor laws were enacted.

The WPA and CCC saved my dad.

The graduated income tax was enacted.

The minimum wage law was passed.

Social Security came into being

Medicare came about

And now universal health care has come.

All this legislation was designed to help people like my family.

I gladly pay my income tax, seeing it as the price I pay for the good life I have.

My mother died at age 100. She worked in a bomber plant during WWII and then in department stores as a sales woman. Without her Social Security check every month she would not had the money to live on for the last two decades of her life.

I vote Democrat because the lives of people I love are made easier when enough people do. I want always to be one of those people.

September 5, 2016

Mr. Gandhi and Mr Trump

by Ed Chasteen

Mr. Gandhi sits across the table from me. The imagination-deprived would see only a book upon the table. That book, though, is the heart and soul of Mohandas Gandhi. An Indian by birth, a lawyer by training, a spiritual giant by assiduous application of principle, this humble and soft spoken man freed India of colonial rule. The Story Of My Experiments With Truth is the title Gandhi chose for his autobiography. In the 505 pages of this riveting book, I heard him tell me in simple words how he came to active non-violent resistance.

Non-violent resistance to oppression was not an easy sell to the Indian masses. “It seemed well nigh impossible to make them realize the duty of combining civility with fearlessness,” Mr. Gandhi said to me. “Civility does not here mean the mere outward gentleness of speech cultivated for the occasion, but an inborn gentleness and desire to do the opponent good.”

“Mr. Gandhi,” I say, “when people call me naive and simple-minded for seeing the world as you see it, I feel inadequate to the task of helping them understand. But if the world cannot operate by this principle, Mr. Gandhi, then I can never willingly make my home here. This seems to me a spiritual law, without which the exchange of views and the relations between people quickly become intolerable and impossible.”

“I have made my self a rule to help in this regard,” Mr. Gandhi said to me. “It is my rule to understand the viewpoint of the party I propose to deal with, and to try to agree with him as far as possible.”

“If I did not know how you lived your life, Mr. Gandhi, I would see no wisdom at all in your statement. Knowing, though, that you stood virtually alone and seemingly defenseless on behalf of your people against the legal and military might of a world power, I find your statement singularly powerful. As a tactic for morally disarming your opponent, it is a stroke of genius.

“Thank you, also, for showing me where the search for truth leads. That paragraph on page 104 of your book captured the essence of your life and message. I hope you won’t think it presumptuous of me to quote it to you. You said: ‘To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means’.”

Mr. Gandhi, you are not alive in our day and did not live in our country. But how you lived in your day in your country leads me to think that you would love Donald Trump as a person and oppose him as a politican.

Because I find much to admire in your approach to solving political and moral problems, I must announce to those who care what I think that while I grant to Mr. Trump the right to believe and behave as he does, I do not support his wish to lead our nation. Our national and world stage calls for a leader more measured and nuanced. Mr. Trump should return to pivate businesses and let those who have devoted years to public affairs contest with one another.

August 30, 2016

Kansas Street Ballet

Scene 2

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at seven in the morning:

The white Bobcat comes several times up the hill carrying lengths of smaller blue pipe in its metal arms and deposits them one after another in the trench, where they are to be joined and buried atop the big black pipe, all beneath the coming street and for years to come will, out of sight and mind, serve the basic needs of all who come pass this way.

These pipes and these workers make possble the good life we have, but like foundations everywhere draw little attention when done well. Decades will pass before again the work these men do will need attention. Generations of those who live here will not get to see this show. The memory of its occurrence will grow dim. Its value forgotten.

Until! That time! An encore.

More of Ed’s stories at

August 30, 2016

Ballet on Kansas Street

From La Tienda past Ginger Sue’s to Main

by Ed Chasteen

Monday, August 29, 2016 at seven in the morning:

Deere 5441 yellow moves massively back and forth across the blocked intersection of Gallitin and Kansas, creating then redistributing mounds of fine gravel that rise to either side of a big-blue-box car-tool-shed shoved into place moments ago by an even more agile white Bobcat, and frequented now by workers who scurry about extracting needed tools and securing those already used.

A week ago today this very early morning, an oversized dump truck backed with aplomb between Road Closed signs on Main and stopped in front of Ginger Sue’s, where two metal monsters of distinct form and function moved in unison to accomplish their appointed tasks. One pierced the pavement; the other gouged still deeper, then lifted giant pieces of pavement and the earth beneath high into the air, swung it gracefully in an arc and loosened its load into the bed of the recently arrived truck.

Then came a flatbed carrying sections of long black pipe big enough around that an average size dog could chase a squirrel through. Men in work clothes and boots attended the pipe, rolled it from the flatbed onto and across the street and into the trench now made ready by the metal monsters, tamed and made useful by their human masters. The men attach each section of pipe and call the maw of a machine to move gravel to the site and overlay the pipe, removing it from sight and keeping it safe, awaiting the soon-to-come time when several feet of dirt will fill the trench now two blocks in length and all will be paved, ready again to usher folks downtown to Liberty square.

This free show has been mine on back-to-back Mondays as I take my usual high table #1 just inside the front door at Ginger Sue’s. Right up against the window onto Kansas Street I sit. Long past the time it takes to eat my breakfast. When finally I pull myself away, I stand for long minutes on the sidewalk and marvel at the choreography occurring about me. To a passing player in this scene that Carl Sandburg would laud, I say, “Thank you.”

“I appreciate that.” He says. Then, after a pause, he adds, “More than you will ever know.


More of Ed’s stories at