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The Public Pulse: Hunting trophies; COVID question; The brass ring
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The Public Pulse: Hunting trophies; COVID question; The brass ring

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Photo hunter

Like Mr. Greer’s hunting slam (Dec. 26), our son-in-law also hunts animals and uses rather expensive, sophisticated equipment in his searches. However, his equipment consists of photography gear. When he’s through with his prey, the animals are still alive, unharmed, free to live their lives, and are available for others to see and enjoy. And his “trophies?” A beautiful collection of photographs that can be shared and seen by many.

Jaye Welch, Bellevue

COVID question

Jim Birkel had a virus question (Pulse, Jan. 5). He wondered if mask mandates and vaccine requirements were more about governmental control than our health. He suggested that we would be unhappy if the government attempted to improve our heart health by applying restrictions and guidelines around weight, exercise and alcohol consumption.

First and foremost, if one chooses to eat and drink to excess and rarely exercise it affects just them, though their resulting conditions cost millions. However, it is just their heart. Their health. And, in fact, the government has attempted to assist (he might prefer the term control) citizens in caring about their heart health through various campaigns and even through the use of some punitive measures such as increased taxes on items that contribute to poor health. These include cigarettes, alcohol and even my personal downfall, soda.

I don’t resent these efforts; as a member of society I understand that I’m not just an individual with rights but also a citizen with responsibilities to others. And this is where Mr. Brickel’s heart comparison skips a beat. We are currently in a global pandemic. It is a virus that spreads through droplets in the air. While I may not get terribly sick, when I cough and sneeze these droplets are spewed into the face of other citizens that may not be as fortunate.

There was a time in my lifetime that we were taught less about individual freedoms and more about citizenship and the greater good. No more. Instead, it is viewed as government over-reach and control. People no longer see it as a patriotic act to do what is best for all, even set their views aside for the well-being of others. In fact, they go out of their way to thwart efforts. It has been one of the greatest disappointments of my life to realize Americans no longer view their citizenship as a responsibility but rather a right to do as they wish. Ironically, those with the strongest opinions against mask mandates and vaccines are most likely to view themselves as patriots. They are not.

Susan Johannes, Elkhorn

Brass ring

Americans of all stripes are a lot less informed than you can imagine. They are always looking for the brass ring. Give him a bellyful of instant food, a case of beer (or Chardonnay), a medicine cabinet full of prescription dope, titillate him with a steady stream on his VCR and America will ignore the evidence of his senses and support anything which will not tax his leisure life.

Greg Weldon, Papillion

Grassley report

I read with interest the government-funded report entitled, “Sen. Grassley Marks Policy, Oversight Accomplishments in 2021.” It is an impressive 40-page document with 24 color photos, 14 of which show the senator in action, including one of him standing in his New Hartford farm field with his arms outstretched.

The report is divided into 22 topics, arranged alphabetically from “agriculture” to “whistleblowers” (https://www.grassley.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2021_Grassley%20Accomplishments.pdf). Each section describes the senator’s efforts to introduce or support legislation or policy related to one of these topics. He was obviously busy this past year.

Although I have specific concerns with many of Sen. Grassley’s positions as outlined in his report, my overriding concern is the glaring absence of what I consider the most important governmental issue today: voting rights. The 9,800-word report does not contain the phrase “voting rights” even once. Where does Sen. Grassley stand on this topic? What action has he taken? How can any U.S. senator quietly sit by and allow state legislatures, including Iowa’s, to enact laws to restrict access to voting based on claims of election fraud which have been repeatedly proven to be false? Which of the 22 issues Sen. Grassley worked on in 2021 is more important for our democracy than the right to vote? His silence on this topic, and the silence of his colleagues in the senate, speaks volumes about their legislative priorities and their vision for the future of our great country.

Thomas Cook, Iowa City

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