You Never Met Me


It’s hard work to rise above, but it can be done.

SUBJECT: Go away

MESSAGE: Go back where you came from. You’ve done enough damage here.


I received that email from a woman.


A person I’d never met. Who has never locked eyes with mine. Who I bet feels she is well-informed. Her message came on the eve of my book signing in Kansas City, no doubt after she’d seen me interviewed on local TV.


Words have impact.


The negativity and hatred in her email—directed at me, a person she’d never met—came through loud and clear. Still, compared to the emails I received when my husband was mayor, hers was mild.


Before Funk took office, Kansas City was almost bankrupt. Black children were being shot up over on the east side right and left. And middle-class whites were fleeing the border into Prairie Village the minute their little bundles came of school age.


Now that’s what I’d call damage.


By the time Funk left office, Kansas City was financially solvent. The crime rate reduced. And the schools were beginning to be addressed.


The damage I caused? I stood by my husband and did what he asked of me while he accomplished all that.


The damage that lady caused? When I opened her email, I felt the physical impact that she intended when she hit “send.” The assault of her words. Words that were formed by the media. Had been force-fed to her. Words that she believed, when she’d never laid eyes on me the first time.


Here’s to you if you use your intellect to question what some are trying to sell us on a daily basis. If you step kindly with your words until you’ve researched the topic from all angles to decide for yourself what you think about an issue. If you use introspection so that your words don’t foul the atmosphere, aimed at the wrong target.



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