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The Public Pulse: Liberated at last; Biden a bad choice; Reality at the Legislature

The Public Pulse: Liberated at last; Biden a bad choice; Reality at the Legislature

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Liberated at last

My lovely bride of 54 years and I mailed our ballots to the county clerk yesterday.

This morning we both realized — neither of us can hear the endless stream of political commercials. You should try it!

Jim Sanford, Blair, Neb.

Biden falls far short on many counts

I read The World-Herald’s endorsement of Joe Biden for president of the United States. I am most troubled by two of the arguments The World-Herald made on behalf of Biden. Most of the points in fact were not potential accomplishments of Biden, but perceived failures of President Trump.

First of all the endorsement stated that Trump failed, as President Lincoln showed in having a duty to speak to the nation’s “ ‘better angels.’ To promote unity, not division, to champion virtue, not pettiness, and to lead America toward reconciliation.” Joe Biden and Kamala Harris need upheaval and COVID-19 fears to unseat President Trump. I have seen no action other than talk from Biden and Harris toward virtue or reconciliation.

Secondly, Biden supposedly understands the proper roles of all three branches of the federal government including the role of an independent judiciary as it interprets law and restrains executive branch actions. Yet Joe Biden will not address the simple question of whether or not he will attempt if elected to pack the Supreme Court with cronies supported by the Democratic Party.

Yes, Joe Biden has witnessed and participated in Washington’s national policy debates for decades, but his actual accomplishments can be counted on one hand. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said Biden has been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue for four decades. That is not a convincing endorsement.

Ron Stone, Bellevue

Put country before party

I have been a lifelong Democrat. Born into a politically active family, in 1968 I recall telling my classmates at Dundee Elementary how Hubert Humphrey would be a better president than Richard Nixon. In 1972, I stuffed envelopes for the George McGovern campaign in Papillion’s historic old hotel. And in 1976 when I was a sophomore in high school, I wore a Jimmy Carter t-shirt that read, “The Grin Will Win.”

So when 1980 rolled around and I finally had my chance to vote, I accepted that my party didn’t have anyone who appealed to me and became a Reagan Democrat not once but twice. George H.W. Bush got my vote as well. Instead of being reluctant about it, I was proud to be taking part in the process, of voting for the person I felt deserved the job even though he was a Republican.

Crossing party lines to vote for the better candidate is nothing to be ashamed of — indeed, putting country before party is something to be proud of. In 2020, it is painfully obvious who that better candidate is. Do the right thing, and be proud of it.

Tim Horning, Bellevue

Religion under attack? Don’t exaggerate

I was bothered by the writing by Deacon Tim McNeil (Archdiocese of Omaha) in the column From the Pulpit (Oct. 11) in which he tried to make the case that religious freedom, his most cherished freedom, is under attack in the United States. Was this rambling piece, with reference to unspecified “violations of religious freedom,” an attempt to frighten and not enlighten readers? It seemed like a dog whistle to some group that feels oppressed because it can’t yell “fire” when the church isn’t burning.

If the deacon is concerned about the lack of religious freedom, he should look to his own church in which none of its female members have the “religious freedom” to participate in all of the church’s sacraments. He might consider the words of Jesus: “Remove the wooden beam from your own eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye,” Matthew 7:5.

Mary Ruth Stegman, Omaha

Get facts straight about Legislature

In his Sept. 20 op-ed “A GOP call to reconsider the Legislature’s nonpartisanship,” Mr. Chris Chappelear makes a case for why the Nebraska Legislature should abandon nonpartisan rules and fall in line with partisan norms across the United States.

Chappelear writes that “[t]here is an excessively enforced unity that creates a certain mob mentality, intolerant of contrary thought,” and that “we saw a very clear depiction of the enforced unity in the waning days of the most recent legislative session when State Sen. Justin Wayne brought up difficult, complicated topics and questioned the procedures and standards taken by the body. He was punished for this and I believe, even though I disagreed with many of his positions, unfairly so.”

Sen. Justin Wayne was far from punished. Take, for example, the Arizona House of Representatives where in 2018 the only two Black lawmakers were formally reprimanded simply for raising the issue of racism on the floor. How was Wayne punished in Nebraska? His colleagues were annoyed at him for taking time. Wayne did not lose his office or his committee assignments or get called out of order.

Wayne, a Democrat, is the chair of the Urban Affairs Committee — a position he would never have under the GOP’s call for a partisan Unicameral, yet Chappelear attempts to paint a picture of intolerance and of a mob mentality within the Legislature.

Ironically, in the waning days of the session Wayne was utilizing nonpartisan rules that simply do not exist in any other state — and certainly would not be possible in the partisan legislature Chappelear calls for. The procedure in question allows a member to try to change the agenda. It has been in the rulebook since the Unicameral’s maiden session in 1937, and when it was adopted it was a dramatic departure from the norm that bills be strictly scheduled for debate by partisan leadership.

Nathan Leach, Kearney, Neb.

Action needed to fight hunger

The Omaha World-Herald reported on Sept. 12 that 70% of Americans want a second stimulus package. Yet as hunger reaches historic levels amid the global pandemic, negotiations on a second stimulus package in Congress have stalled.

Hunger is reaching historic levels and people need help now. Punting a second stimulus package until after the November elections will push more families deeper into hardship. I believe Congress should pass a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package that includes assistance for families struggling with hunger.

The global pandemic continues to devastate vulnerable communities across the United States with a disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous and people of color, worsening the effects of hunger and poverty around the globe.

God calls on us to care for our neighbors in need (Matthew 25:35, 40). Children and families are hungry right now and cannot wait.

Martin Russell, Gretna

A Nebraskan comes home

My family and I would like to thank The World-Herald and especially reporter Steve Liewer on the article about our uncle killed in WWII (“Nebraskan finally coming home,” Oct. 11). I say this for my family and for all the other families that have members still lost who have served their county. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Jack Langan, Omaha

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