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The Public Pulse: Impeachment; A better Legislature; Cancer screening; Housing justice

The Public Pulse: Impeachment; A better Legislature; Cancer screening; Housing justice

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Think again

A substantial portion of the Republican Party has made the decision to follow the “Big Lie” and go with it. To go with the alternative reality that the election was indeed stolen. Similar departures from long agreed upon norms have occurred in other countries. Poland and Hungry come to mind.

To quote Adam Grant in his new book “Think Again”:

“Too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating towards those who challenge our thought processes.”

Donald Trump sent an angry mob to the Capital to stop the certification of an election he knew he had lost. How you choose to believe or not believe this is symptomatic of the situation we find ourselves in and the dangerous place our representative republic is currently in.

Michael McDonald, Omaha

Circus in D.C.

How embarrassing to watch the charade that the Democrats are putting on, attempting to impeach someone who is not even in office. It’s like a three-ring circus. They should be selling cotton candy and souvenirs in the aisles. Hatred is an powerful emotion; it will make people do the craziest of things. The nation is suffering with the pain of COVID, joblessness etc, and the swamp is wasting time and money on this joke. Let’s get back to repairing the impending problems we have and stop crying over your hurt feelings.

Get back to what you are paid to do.

Ed Volpi, Fremont, Neb.

It’s not censoring

To all enthusiastic Pulse contributors: What the Nebraska GOP is pushing for is a resolution or an action of some sort censuring Sen. Ben Sasse for offenses either real or imagined. What they are not seeking (at least at this point) is to censor the senator. “Censure” and “Censor” are two separate words (of similar meaning, I’ll grant), but let’s get it straight.

John A. Daum, Omaha

Here’s the protocol

I am not a constitutional expert, nor am I an attorney of any sort. However, I did manage to stay awake through most of my high school civics class over 50 years ago. Thus, I believe I am modestly qualified to answer the two questions posed by Glenn M. Freeman in his Feb. 10 Pulse letter, “Censure Sasse.”

First question: Where in the Constitution does it give the Senate the authority to impeach a private citizen? Answer: It doesn’t. However, it does give the House of Representatives the “sole Power of Impeachment.” And, oh, by the way, when he was impeached, Donald Trump was still the president of the United States.

Second question: Where in the Constitution does it give the Senate the authority to impeach a president (sic) without the chief justice (sic) of the Supreme Court presiding? Answer: First, see above the answer to the first question. Secondly, Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6 reads in part, “When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside.” Fortunately, Donald Trump is no longer president. The Constitution makes no stipulation or reference regarding the presiding officer of a Senate trial for someone other than the current president.

Jim Bay, Omaha

Herd Hysteria

A lot is being reported these days about getting herd immunity against the COVID-19 disease. But nothing about another herd being formed.

Herd Hysteria is forming against citizens that define themselves as conservative. History shows that these Herd Hysterias don’t end well. There are many instances of citizens being driven from public and imprisoned and even murdered.

The media is promoting the idea that citizens that didn’t vote the approved way are racist and white supremacist. Commentators on news programs say that these need to be silenced and have their minds reprogrammed. How about the First Amendment?

A lot is reported about groups such as the Proud Boys, and try to impute that all conservatives approve of them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing is being reported about antifa and Black Lives Matter and all the destruction they have committed.

Conservatives are accused of a cult-like following of President Trump. Sen. Ben Sasse says he won’t bend a knee to one man and thereby implies that citizen who voted for President Trump do. What a disgusting and false opinion coming from a supposedly educated man. Ben is seemingly on board with Herd Hysteria being formed.

The country is headed down a terrible path that will take years to recover from. The citizens of this country deserve better from the politicians and news media and all the rest.

Citizens are being fired from their jobs just because they don’t agree with this Herd Hysteria going on now.

I hope we can recover from this Herd Hysteria.

Francis Jensen, Gretna

The long term

In the long run, it may not matter much whether the president is found guilty in the impeachment. Rather, what will matter is that in 10 or 20 or 100 years, if the United States still exists, our descendants will view our actions and judge us.

At the present time, many cities have removed statues of Confederate Civil War icons. I can’t imagine that statues will be erected to boot-licking sycophants who support ridiculous conspiracy theories, are led astray by false news, refuse to accept election verified results and violate their oaths of office for fear that they will not be reelected.

Dan M. Sullivan, Omaha

Limit it to 12 years

To all of the people who think that the Sasse approach is best, I applaud you. Many Democrats should follow his example also. The only way this could work for the little people who vote for our elected officials is term limits of 12 years, maximum, for all senators and representatives. This would tell our elected officials that we want issues decided for the good of all people including them because they will only be in office for 12 years, not a lifetime.

We need an amendment to the Constitution to accomplish this change. Because our elected officials will not change this and eliminate their lifetime positions.

Mike Dworak, Omaha

Cancer screening

Just this month, the American Cancer Society released its cancer statistics for the year for Nebraska. In our state alone, nearly 11,200 individuals will hear the words “you have cancer” and an estimated 3,560 will die from the disease.

As dire as these numbers are, the data doesn’t yet consider the pandemic’s immense impact on preventive screenings that is expected to result in a significant number of late cancer diagnoses. Nationwide, the number of lifesaving screenings has yet to return to regular rates — that is, before March when the pandemic hit.

At such a critical time in the fight against cancer, the important work we do on behalf of cancer patients and their families cannot stop. During the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Cancer Action Day, cancer survivors like myself will be making our voices heard to elected officials and calling them to make cancer a top priority in our state.

Even though we’re unable to meet in person this year, we’re letting our lawmakers know we need their help. The format might change, but our spirit, passion and resolve for our mission to fight against cancer is as strong as ever.

We would love to have you join us virtually on March 17 by visiting www.fightcancer.org/cadne

Ann Yager, Gretna

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Housing justice

In response to Mr. Dennis Tierney’s Feb. 9 letter, “Targeting Landlords,” I would offer that proponents of the housing bills in front of the Nebraska Legislature are advocating for housing justice, which is justice for everyone in our community as opposed to less or more justice for one group or the other. For example, Legislative Bill 45 and LB 46 ensure that tenants can attend their eviction court hearing (3,245 eviction filings in Douglas County in 2020), thereby supporting the equality and due process elements that are the bedrock of our proud American justice system.

LB 419 would provide a lawyer for people in eviction court so they can defend themselves before losing their home. (Only 1% of tenants in Nebraska had a lawyer for their eviction while the majority of landlords have representation.) In addition to advancing the principles of equality and justice, the proposed housing bills are anti-poverty, not anti-landlord. Increasing the availability of safe, affordable housing in our community (as would happen with LB 196 and LB 453), or allowing people eventual grace from their past mistakes (as outlined in LB 128), help people work toward housing stability and make our entire community stronger and more resilient. LB394 protects both landlords and tenants in a public health emergency and keeps all of us safe.

Instead of approaching these bills with a zero-sum mentality, or vilifying people living in poverty by stating they are “less invested” and “less well behaved” tenants (as was stated in front of the Judiciary Committee), let’s all commit to working together to make our community a better and more equitable place for each of us to call home.

Erin Feichtinger, Omaha

A better Legislature

I agree with Jeremy Aspen’s Feb. 7 column regarding the pay of Nebraska state senators being shamefully low. This leads, as he wrote, to a Legislature make-up skewed toward people with means and time being our elected officials, rather than providing an even playing field that allows the best and most capable, regardless of their economic situation, to serve and dedicate themselves fully to the important work in the Unicameral.

Where I disagree with Mr. Aspen is the conspiratorial insinuation that lawyer and not-for-profit professional legislators might choose the interests of clients and benefactors over their elected constituents when working on state laws. Don’t let a flawed argument of assuming self-interest get in the way of the good argument about increasing legislator pay significantly. If you want to talk about the bad influences on elected officials, let’s have a chat about private (and corporate) money in campaigns.

Dave Sommers, Omaha

Slavery’s shadow

I was struck by the Feb. 8 World-Herald article about the emerging controversy over the teaching of slavery. Some federal and state level officials have proposed legislation to limit how schools can teach about slavery. It would have been difficult to minimize the topic of slavery in my high school, given that it was on the grounds of a former plantation, complete with the deteriorated remains of slave cabins and on the exact footprint of the former manor house.

There was awareness of the boundaries of other former plantations in Ferguson, Missouri, my hometown. I knew that my middle-class suburban house was on the site of the former Magoon plantation. Slavery was real to us. We saw its impact by comparing the fortunes of the descendants of those slaves, living in a nearby all-black town, to residents of the mostly white towns in the rest of St. Louis County.

Today’s children and youth need to have an honest presentation of this significant, though negative, part of American history.

Mary Ann Lamanna, Omaha

Safety on the road

We all have our own reasons for not washing our cars in the winter.

However, for your safety and the safety of other drivers, please clean off your headlights and tail lights!

Oncoming traffic and those behind you cannot see when you intend to stop or turn, even when you are using your turn signals.

We don’t realize how dirty they can get in just one day as we travel around.

It’s easy to forget, but just take a minute to just quickly clean them off before you head out. Maybe make a note; leave it by your car keys.

Kathy Kudron, Omaha

Outstanding carrier

I’ve been taking the Omaha World-Herald for 30 years. Over that time, I could not tell you how many different carriers I have had delivering my paper. But I can tell you that my current carrier is the best of the best, hands down! I seldom have to step outside my door to get my paper. It is always there on the porch, usually within arm’s reach. And it doesn’t matter what the weather is, the service is always the same.

If the OWH has an awards program for their carriers, then please put my carrier at the top of the list. I don’t think you will find another carrier more deserving of your recognition.

Michael E. Wagner, Omaha

An inspiration

I would like to thank the many good Samaritans who’ve been helping the stuck motorists like myself. Three people helped push me out of a snowbank I fishtailed into in frigid temperatures. Humanity is still thriving if we look at the right things.

Thanks to Wilmar in the Honda CRV, Brandon on his bike, and Mike in his truck, who helped me out. You showed me and my 6-year-old daughter that there are lots of good people willing to help without being asked or rewarded.

Trevor O’Reilly, Omaha

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