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The Public Pulse: Where's the mayor; Racial equality; More thoughts on vaccine
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The Public Pulse: Where's the mayor; Racial equality; More thoughts on vaccine

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Mayoral response?

Where are you, mayor? Our city’s hospitals are filling up and good people are dying of COVID, yet silence. You were elected to be a leader, not a follower of the governor or a disgraced president. Where are you, Mayor Stothert?

Mathew Davey, Omaha

Real equality

In 1688, the first religious document opposing slavery was written by four Mennonite men meeting in a Quaker meeting house in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Four hundred years later, we have not achieved liberty and justice for all. At one time, Black people were only three-fifths human and Native Americans weren’t considered human until 1869. One of the problems with Mr. Chappelear’s article (Dec. 14) is attempting to soften or water down a full-fledged effort to bring about complete equality, thus to continue racial inequality. I want to commend the leaders at UNL for a full-fledged attempt to bring about real equality, now.

Elvin Siebert, Omaha

Relief funding

Senator Rand Paul has consistently voted against awarding federal disaster relief money to states impacted by weather-related disasters, over the last 10 years, stating “people here have great compassion for others, but notice that their great compassion is with someone else’s money.” While voting to deny relief money to other states, he asked that relief money needs to be sent to his home state of Kentucky. Fortunately, the relief bill is for all four states impacted by the tornadoes, otherwise Rand would probably be voting “no” on three of the bills and “yes” for Kentucky.

Rick Madej, Omaha

No more descriptors

First off, full disclosure — I am white; lived and raised in North Omaha and went to a mixed race grade and high school. But, being white, I am automatically labeled as “privileged”, a “white supremacist” by some that want to widen the divide among races. There have been several recent posts in the Public Pulse about systemic racism. In my opinion (that I want to express before personal opinions are also a sign of systemic racism), this phrase is getting a little old and worn out.

There also was a recent editorial about “How young is too young to teach white kids about race?” My immediate answer was ... never. I would like to share an experience with my 5-year-old daughter, some 50 years ago, when she was taking swimming lessons in the mixed race area (but mostly white) where we lived in North Omaha. She was in a small group of five girls taking lessons. During a pause in the lessons, she came running over to my wife and me all excited and exclaimed “I just made a new friend.” We asked her which one it was. She was having trouble pointing out the new friend. Then she said “the one in the pink bathing suit” ... the only Black girl in the group. My wife and I just looked at each other and smiled.

Prior to that event, we did not teach our children about race. We also did not teach about handicapped people, short people, etc. We always answered questions as needed. But I do not remember one instance where any of our four children asked about a person’s skin color. They made friends based on the content of their character.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t teach the blemished and imperfect history of our country. But to essentially declare that our great country is systemic racist and even demand reparations for terrible mistakes made by people that have died several years ago, does nothing to bring us together as Americans. Let’s get rid of the descriptors and let’s just be Americans.

Dan Hedrick, Omaha

Future of democracy

I read with interest the article on issues facing the Nebraska Legislature in the upcoming session (Dec. 26). The issues listed were those that will be facing most of the country as we move into 2022. They are not unique to Nebraska and are at the center of the great divide in our nation.

There were a couple of issues that were obviously missing that I believe to be crucial for the future of our democracy.

Are members of the Unicameral capable of addressing the issues on a bipartisan basis? I am deeply concerned that as the Republican Party is drifting further to the right, there seems to be a strong opposition to democracy. We see a willingness to embrace tyranny as a path forward as opposed to our current governmental system.

Second issue is the drift towards tyranny itself. There appears to be some vocal supporters of what they perceive as a positive in a tyrannical form of government. There appears to be those who find their guidance down this path in the Constitution. The reality is in experience, there simply is not an example in history or the present where tyranny has served all of the people well. Even the majority of the populace who help put tyrannical leaders into power experience few, if any benefits.

Third and probably equally important if not primary, is the willingness to pull back from corporate denial and have the strength and courage to address the issues of climate change. If we do not do that, and I am not a doomsday person, the other issues will become moot in 30 to 40 years.

I would hope our state, which has some wonderful, strong and dedicated people, finds the courage to address these issues and at the same time find the basis of affirming the integrity, value and importance of those on the opposite side of the debate. I hope the leaders of this state would seek ways for the populace to have a serious debate on these important issues.

Don Sarton, La Vista

Capitol attack

The attack on our Capitol building one year ago should be included in the history of the United States as one of our darkest days. My blood boils when I hear people try to downplay this fact. Lives were lost, more than 100 people were injured. Everyone knows who is to blame.

God bless America.

Leon A. Bresley, Omaha

Rein it in

Representative Don Bacon’s press release concerning the Jan. 6 insurrection I am sure is sincere. His revulsion to what happened that day echoes that of the majority of the country. However, I get the sense from his remarks that maybe he is getting tired of taking punches from Trump for voting for the infrastructure bill. When you get criticized for supporting something the overwhelming majority of the county has been clamoring for for a decade, I imagine it’s difficult not to feel abused. But it is also difficult to sympathize with someone who for so long enabled a former president who was — and continues to be — so petulantly vindictive and self-absorbed. Accusing Speaker Pelosi and the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 for being “tainted by partisanship” is laughable. Congressman Bacon says it’s time to “rein this back in.” No doubt. That should have started long ago, by Don Bacon and the majority of the Republican members of congress, before two impeachments and an appalling, treasonous insurrection.

Leo Miltner, Omaha

COVID vaccinations

In response to Jim Birkel’s letter (Pulse, Jan. 5) — you are confusing apples and oranges. You are either missing or ignoring a few critical differences between COVID vs. obesity, alcohol abuse, and cancers from tobacco use. 1) COVID is a highly transmissible virus and 2) there is a widely available vaccine to prevent or significantly lessen the effects of this virus. An individual’s freedom to damage their own health is different from our responsibility for public health. The regulation of smoking in public places is a more apt comparison. Public mandates for smallpox and measles vaccinations have made these public scourges almost non-existent. How is COVID vaccination different?

Michael Kaipust, Omaha

Importance of water

Burning fossil fuels pollutes our air creating a greenhouse effect which warms our planet, the science is there. No one is addressing the elephant in the room, hydraulic/hydro-fracturing or fracking after a bit of wordsmithing. The product of hydro fracturing is natural gas, a fossil fuel, but it is the extraction method we need to scrutinize. To extract natural gas from rocks below the surface, water, sand, and a proprietary mix of chemicals is injected into layers of shale causing the natural gas to rise for collection. Water rises back to the surface as well. This water is ruined, so toxic it must be stored in deep wells under ground forever. Elementary science class taught us about the water cycle, where we learned that all the water on Earth now is all the water there ever was and will ever be. Where are the studies showing the impact of removing so much water from the water cycle? Is that why snowfall is down in the Rockies? Does it play into the unprecedented drought in California? How is this affecting the climate overall? Can life on Earth survive without water, no.

J.A. Conley, Omaha


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