Thank you, Mr. President, for reviving patriotism in schools


On Sept. 10, 2020, Governor Reynolds talks about wearing a mask, she says she hopes to provide a good example for Iowans.

Des Moines Register

Thank you, Mr. President, for seeking to revive patriotism in schools

My teaching career started in 1979, just three years after the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence, when the truths of the founding and the liberties of this great country were taught in the schools. About 20 years ago I compiled and wrote articles for children about Old Glory, the beautiful flag of the United States of America, because I wanted to build patriotism and share my love of America. I have friends from many nations and work daily with immigrant families who have risked so much to have a better life in this country.

From the beginning of my teaching career until now, I have seen the deterioration of the teaching of America’s history and heritage in our schools, and frankly, it breaks my heart. I was overjoyed to hear about the 1776 Commission to Promote Patriotic Education announced on Constitution Day, Sept. 18, from the National Archives.

Vice President Mike Pence said, “No one can preserve what they do not love, and no one can love what they do not know.” President Donald Trump followed by saying, “Our youth will be taught to love America with all their heart.”

Please take 30 minutes to find and watch this inspirational broadcast and rejoice with me about this great step for the education of America’s youth.

— Carolyn Gelder, Iowa City

Krause’s investment in Iowa praiseworthy 

I am so pleased to see the Krause family is supporting soccer in such a big way in Des Moines. There is plenty of room for soccer in our schools and in our society as well.

I learned the game in the Peace Corps while in Grenada and coached children in Ankeny and Des Moines for over a dozen years. A child does not have to be exceedingly large or tall to play soccer. A good athlete can come in any form.

I would like to see mixed teams in small Iowa towns where putting a one-gender team together would be difficult. The Krause family will give an avenue to Iowa soccer players from the local club game to the European leagues by acquiring Parma soccer club in Italy. They put Iowa on the map in European circles. The next Messi, Ronaldo or Rapinoe could come out of Iowa. Why not?

More: From Iowa to Italy: Kum & Go owners purchase 90% stake in Italian soccer team

— Mike Delaney, Windsor Heights

Biden the only option for the nation 

As we are all painfully aware, our nation is terribly divided. The past four years under Donald Trump have further divided us, and he shows no indication of having the ability or the willingness to undo the damage he has caused. He is mean-spirited, vindictive, corrupt, and cares more for himself than he does the United States.

It appears that some supporters of Joe Biden are lackluster in their support. Their support comes about because Biden is a better choice than four more years of Trump. I would maintain that we should evaluate Biden in a more positive fashion. Our nation needs a president who has the best chance of undoing this divide that afflicts us. Trump is not that person. Biden’s life has taught him to develop empathy and sympathy toward others. This is exactly what we need. We do not heal when our leader constantly insults certain demographics.

When our nation has faced its biggest challenges, we, fortunately, elected presidents who had the moral fiber, discipline, and intelligence to meet those challenges to lead us. Abraham Lincoln was able to lead a divided and morally challenged nation, and Franklin Roosevelt led us through our worst economic crisis and a world war. I see no way that four more years of Trump will make us better and get our nation back on track.

More: Joe Biden: Iowa is a ‘critical battleground’ in 2020 campaign against Donald Trump

— Gary Duneman, Waverly

Ordinary truck drivers deserve our thanks 

Over the past several months, we have all been touched by the global coronavirus pandemic. Together we are facing truly unprecedented times that have dramatically impacted our families, our communities, our businesses and most importantly, our way of life. While those in positions of leadership continue to struggle to manage the reality in which we are living, trucks are safely and efficiently doing the job that allows all of us to enjoy some semblance of normal. As we see stocked shelves everywhere, it’s a poignant reminder of the value of the trucking industry.

Throughout this crisis, trucks delivering essential products have remained a powerful and consistent beacon of hope. During this time of uncertainty, seeing big trucks on the roads is a stable and valuable reminder that something has remained the same. Trucking companies throughout this state and nation have continued to respond to a constantly changing environment because of their unwavering commitment to their customers, their employees, and the many communities they serve. Upholding these important promises, quite frankly, is what we do in trucking every single day. The professional men and women who proudly get behind the wheel of these big trucks are real heroes. These valued individuals rarely get the appreciation they deserve, yet that never deters them from doing their job in a safe and professional manner, day after day.

More: Keep on trucking: High demand keeps big rigs rolling amid coronavirus outbreak

— Brenda Neville, president, Iowa Motor Truck Association

Honoring King requires actually caring about the poor 

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is undoubtedly one of the most important leaders for civil rights and economic justice in American history. His legacy should and must be preserved. Yet the line between honoring and exploiting that legacy can be thin, a line the recent mural unveiled at MLK River Park has clearly crossed.

Des Moines faces a homelessness crisis, as shown by the recent arrest of Chase Ransom Foster. His experience highlights just how hostile our city can be to the homeless community. MLK in his final years increasingly focused on the cruelty and dehumanization of poverty. Would Foster have been allowed to panhandle at the MLK River Park? Go to the bathroom at its businesses free of charge? Put a tent out overnight to sleep or even be welcome in its space? Of course not.

These businesses, like so many others in Des Moines, will continue look to police to criminalize poverty and shoo away our most vulnerable, all while appropriating MLK’s image to promote their own personal brands. This mural, far from being a bold act of remembrance, is instead a ghoulish appropriation of one of our greatest moral leaders.

More: A jail stint after a crosswalk ticket: Des Moines arrests show the fallacy of criminalizing poverty

— Emmanuel Smith, Des Moines

Grateful for Iowans’ generosity

Iowans have missed out on many of our favorite public events this year, but it’s amazing that we still find ways to join together as a community. 

As tournament director of the Principal Charity Classic, an annual PGA Tour Classic event in Des Moines, I had the privilege on Sept. 15 of announcing that this year’s tournament raised a record-high $6.7 million for Iowa kids. 

That’s remarkable in any year, but especially impressive because we canceled this year’s tournament because of COVID-19. 

We couldn’t have done it without the support of title sponsor Principal Financial Group, presenting sponsor Wells Fargo, Wakonda Club and thousands of other generous individuals and organizations. We offered full refunds on the price of every ticket, the cost of every sponsorship, and the fees to our volunteers — but collectively, more than 95% of our supporters chose to make a donation for this year, or to allocate their donation to next year’s tournament.

I have lived and worked in some of great communities in this country, but none compares to Des Moines when it comes to civic pride and generosity.  As a result, we will donate millions of dollars to nearly 100 local children’s charities, to the benefit of more than 130,000 kids. Thank you, Des Moines, we look forward seeing you at the Principal Charity Classic next summer.

— Douglas K. Habgood, tournament director, Principal Charity Classic

Republicans bent on a power grab

Once again Republicans are using the argument that they are just following the will of the people. President Donald Trump lost the 2016 election by 2.8 million votes, saved only by the antiquated Electoral College. The president has already gotten two Supreme Court justices. The Senate must not let him install a third on this premise.

Many videos from 2016 are surfacing, showing some Republicans defending their refusal to even hold hearings in an election year for Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated in March 2016. Their current explanations insult the intelligence of fair-minded persons. Their insistence on immediately nominating and approving a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg is, very simply, a power grab.   

Another ploy is to invoke the “Biden Rule/” There is no Biden rule. There was simply a statement made in a speech by Sem. Joe Biden in 1992. It was just a suggestion to President George H. W. Bush after the bitter fight over the nomination of Clarence Thomas that, if an opening to the Supreme Court came up, Bush not nominate a new justice so close to the election.

I implore the Republican Senate majority to wait in this year to truly let the people speak.

— Linda Warren, Des Moines

Ginsburg dies an inspiration

The valedictorian of the not-so-Silent Generation has died.

The statue of justice is wiping her tears with her blindfold at the loss of this national treasure. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Jewish woman born in Brooklyn who died with rock star status, was anything but an elite. She was one of our nation’s better angels.

She fought discrimination her whole life. Her legal career ushered in life-changing decisions for women, minorities (religious and racial), the poor, the marginalized. Her last years were active with stinging dissents that should influence future verdicts.

Unfortunately, Sen. Mitch McConnell and his cohorts crave power above justice. They conveniently disregard their 2016 principle, “we’re too close to an election, let the people decide.” The new principle is “whatever works for our agenda.” They want a highly partisan court, violating the statue of justice’s blindfold symbolizing all are equal under the law. Beyond hypocrisy, it is evil when elected officials fail their obligation to protect and defend the Constitution for all. They dishonor Ginsburg’s fervent wish for the choice to be after the election. Remedy? Vote out the violators of the promised process: Joni Ernst, McConnell, Lindsey Graham, etc. And if he runs again, Chuck Grassley.

— Charles R. Kniker, Ames

Sweden’s is a dangerous model to imitate

Greg Ganske, former Iowa congressman, in a Register essay Sept. 20 extolled the virtues of Sweden. Normally, when one suggests Sweden is a good place, the hair of any Republican within hearing distance bursts into flame as they denounce this socialistic stronghold. 

Why is Ganske doing this? Because Sweden didn’t shut down for COVID-19 and, socialist thought it may be in Republican eyes, it seems the country made a good capitalistic decision to ignore the pandemic and simply wait for its citizens to die in sufficient numbers to gain herd immunity. Unfortunately, Ganske’s essay fails to mention the likelihood of a second wave.

Ganske goes to great length to show the wisdom of Swedish deaths, showing that June gave the country 30,000 new cases and going on to explain a decrease to only 7,000 new cases in August. What Ganske forgot to do was to explain away the high number of new cases and deaths in the months between January and August.

In my opinion, Ganske, a doctor, commits a grave professional sin in ignoring the important distinction between sickness and death versus economic considerations. Many of Sweden’s deaths could easily have been avoided by following some simple rules. However, that’s a reasonable course only if one cares more about human well-being than an economy.

What makes this piece so egregious is the way it ignores the poor response of the Trump administration. President Donald Trump walked away from the COVID-19 problem, telling us the U.S. government isn’t a supply depot, leaving the states to compete with each other for necessary medical supplies. Later we learn from Trump’s own admission that he purposefully downplayed the numbers and ignored the dangers in favor of economic aspects (and, more than likely, political aspects as well). 

Even worse, Ganske talks around the tragic numbers of America’s experience with COVID-19. As of 10 a.m. Sept. 20, America had suffered over 200,000 COVID deaths. Clearly, this administration’s response has been wholly inadequate, and it is understandable that any Republican would avoid mentioning numbers demonstrating the fact. 

It’s a shame that there is a movement among Republicans to whitewash this administration’s failures, of which the COVID boondoggle is only one.

Ganske closes his article by suggesting that “Maybe we can learn something from Sweden.” Perhaps we could, if only we could get honest enough to include all aspects of the problem in our discussion of what works best. But first, we must decide the goal — do we want to save human lives, or will we be satisfied simply to keep the stock market high? 

— Floyd Gardner, Altoona

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