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The Public Pulse: Work ahead to defeat COVID; Religion, politics, policy

The Public Pulse: Work ahead to defeat COVID; Religion, politics, policy

  • Updated
  • 17

More work ahead

More than a year has elapsed since the U.S. began its battle against COVID-19. Throughout the course of the pandemic, Nebraska’s hospitals and health systems made crucial contributions to their respective communities in response. They ramped up capacity to triage and care for patients and expanded telemedicine services all while focusing on patient safety. Others deployed their own research and innovation capabilities to develop in-house COVID-19 tests and established vaccination clinics for their communities.

While things are improving across the nation, there is still more work to do to defeat COVID-19. I’m proud to say that more than half of our residents have now been at least partially vaccinated. Our Nebraska hospitals continue to partner with public health departments and communities across the state to get shots in arms, but we still need more people to get this critically important vaccine if we hope to reach a sufficient level of herd immunity.

The global pandemic taught us all many valuable lessons we will use in the future to improve how we both prevent and cure diseases such as COVID-19. Most importantly, Nebraskans can have confidence that our hospitals will continue to care for patients with the highest levels of quality and concern whatever comes our way.

Laura J. Redoutey, Lincoln, Neb.

president, Nebraska Hospital Association

Fact vs. judgment

Responding to three Sunday/Monday letters:

First, the Catholic Church, including the pope, universally condemns abortion. President Biden’s problem is the Democratic platform supports abortion. I believe that Biden’s Catholicism is a private matter between him and God, and it should not be a public issue except with one proviso. If Biden publicly uses his Catholicism to secure votes by claiming he is a faithfully practicing Catholic, then it is reasonable to challenge his veracity because he is publicly violating his own Catholic faith.

Another letter argues that because one politician does something bad, it justifies another politician doing something bad. The obvious corollary is that the “end justifies the means.” We need to better elevate the importance of “truth” versus “judgmental opinion.” “Truth” is not the exclusive province of Republicans or Democrats, and all politicians and the news media need to better overtly differentiate between fact vs. opinion so we citizens can make properly informed decisions.

After 2016, President Trump was labeled “illegitimate” because of “claimed” Russian collusion. Democrats demanded continuous “resistance,” labeling him a Russian agent. Democrats refused to work with him, nor acknowledge anything good. Is this different from the Republicans claiming “funny business” in 2020? Amazingly, Trump’s accomplishments were noteworthy: lowest unemployment ever for all minorities; rising middle-class incomes; energy independence; stability and peace in the Middle East and at southern border; and three COVID vaccines in record time that are ending the pandemic. To move forward, we must return to respectful working relations between all citizen groups — without nasty labels, recognizing that continued prosperity requires working together as Americans.

James T. Smith, Omaha

Christian love

It is highly disturbing that Ms. Lippert (May 18 Pulse) claims that the core of Christian teaching is love, and therefore we should allow abortions to continue. Loving someone is desiring and working toward what is best for them. Those who support abortion clearly do not love the babies who are destroyed by it. It is also difficult to believe they want what is best for the mothers who are victims of abortion. Allowing or promoting murder of another is not love. Allowing or promoting children literally being torn from their mother’s womb is not love. Christian love is a reality based on the Truth of Christ. It is not based on feelings or convenience.

And that line in the Bible that says, “Judge not lest ye be judged”? Ms. Lippert should read a few lines down where it says, “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Christian love calls us to remove the splinter in our brother’s eye as well as correct our own faults. Christians want what is best for everyone, eternal life.

Robert Steffen, Fordyce, Neb.

Church and state

When Kennedy was running for president in 1960, there was concern that this office would be overly influenced by the Catholic Church. Today it appears that some U.S. bishops want to do just that. We have too many examples today of theocracies gone bad. We need to adhere to the principle of separation of church and state.

Jeff Johnston, Elmwood, Neb.

Yes to investigation

Congressional Republicans are either dishonest or deluded, or perhaps both. On Jan. 6, the whole country watched a mob attack the U.S. Capitol in an effort to “save the election for Trump.” Congressmen and women ran for their lives, hiding behind locked doors and cowering behind chairs. Mitch McConnell on that day called the mob thugs. Kevin McCarthy pleaded with President Trump to call off the riot. Nobody watching or experiencing that invasion could believe it was “peaceful.”

Yet several Republican members of the House are now likening Jan. 6 to a “normal tourist visit.” They deny that the mob was carrying weapons. They are using these arguments to oppose an independent commission to investigate the events of that day. I have been to the U.S. Capitol. I saw nobody waving Confederate flags, breaking windows, threatening to kill the vice president. Tourists respectfully followed the directions of the Capitol Police.

The Republican Party is fighting tooth and nail to keep an independent commission from being formed and given the power to subpoena witnesses and go where the evidence leads. They are apparently fearful of the truth of the events of Jan. 6. McConnell is stonewalling. Are there any Republican congresspersons who have the backbone and political courage to stand up to Trump and McConnell and vote for an effective and honest investigation? How will our Nebraska senators act in this political moment?

If our elected representatives are more fearful of political reprisal than they are of standing up for the well-being of our democracy, we are in big trouble.

Patricia Ohlmann, Seward, Neb.

Lack of empathy

I can’t help but wonder how the medical marijuana vote would have gone had every member of the Unicameral had a child whose only relief from painful seizures was medical marijuana. I had thought that a lack of empathy was a characteristic only of Donald Trump, not of his followers as well.

James Olson, Omaha

Fix street needs

Now that Aimee Melton has gotten herself re-elected, I believe it is time to point out to her that a great deal of her northwest Omaha district she represents is located north of Maple Street. We have lived in this area for over 20 years and it seems that the roads out here are pretty much stuck as they were 20 years ago. There has been a great deal of new housing developments, apartment complexes, new schools and businesses north of Maple Street, and yet Fort Street, 132nd Street, 144th Street, 156th Street and 168th Street north of Maple Street all remain as two-way streets. It seems like having 120th from Fort to Maple widened to accommodate a Little League and some soccer fields is rather ridiculous when all these folks are waiting in long lines of traffic to get to jobs in the morning and to return to their homes at night.

I would like to see Ms. Melton step up and get something done with these issues, as she represents all of us northwest Omaha folks north of Maple Street.

Cheri M. Tegels, Omaha

What we’ve lost

With the current administration only four months into its term, I am already feeling that I am missing things I used to have. Among them are $2 gasoline, low inflation, sensible federal spending, peace in the Middle East, an orderly southern border, when ability was more important than ethnicity, when schools educated rather than indoctrinated, a president that could answer pertinent questions, when people respected police and appreciated their service, being reminded by those in authority that America is a great country that has provided more freedoms to their citizens than any other nation in history of mankind, when American citizens came before non-citizens, when people with different opinions could discuss the issues without rancor, when “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” were considered classics and required reading for any educated person, when it was OK to read Dr. Seuss to your children without being considered a racist, when you had a government that thought you could make better decisions about important matters in your life than a bureaucrat in Washington.

Having said this, I am still deeply concerned about what else I will miss in the near future.

Donald Busenbark, Omaha

Days to go

As of today, NYC no longer has a mask mandate, but we here in Omaha still have ours for days more. Great job, councilmen and -women!

Dave Reeble, Elkhorn

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