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Living in Society

Be Neighborly, Get Vaccinated

Woman Writing Letter

Last week we located our scars from the polio vaccine. It was fun as we reminisced and discussed a friend who got polio as a child. It was important for everyone who could to be vaccinated against polio.

Today it’s important everyone who can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

My perspective is from serving six years on the county board of health. Vaccines can and do prevent illness, of that there is scientific evidence.

Why get the vaccine? First, it reduces the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 which causes sickness and sometimes death. That’s motivation enough for most. Being vaccinated also decreases the amount of time we must live with social restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone I know is tired of the restrictions now in their second year.

Some people pooh, pooh the vaccine and the pandemic and while illogical, that’s their choice. At the same time, we would all like to get out of the pandemic and return to a semblance of normal. People who don’t or won’t get vaccinated are holding the rest of us up.

Eventually the population will reach what’s called “herd immunity.” Medical experts are not sure if a person gets COVID-19 once they will be immune because people have contracted COVID-19 multiple times. As you may have read, the vaccines currently approved by the FDA are very effective.

We’re retired so we can wait out herd immunity as evidenced by a drastic reduction in the COVID-19 case count. People want to get on with a more normal life, though. So we did the neighborly thing and got vaccinated. I encourage readers to do likewise if they can.

~ Submitted as a letter to the editor of the Solon Economist

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Living in Society

New Type of Patriotism

Woman Writing Letter

On Sept. 22, 2008 The Cedar Rapids Gazette published my letter to the editor, titled, “Americans should reject new type of patriotism.” Too few people got the message, so here it comes again.

Americans should reject new type of patriotism

Most veterans don’t talk much about their service. Concerned that we might lose our lives in combat, we signed up and mustered out hoping to make the military a better place by devoting our best efforts to it in the defense of our values. We did it for duty, honor and country, and this is the essence of patriotism.

Patriotism does not belong to a political party. Veterans pay attention to where the country is going, engage in public discourse, and believe it is our responsibility to do so.

Yet there is a new form of patriotism that is unacceptable: the patriotism that proclaims “America first.” True patriotism concerns itself with ethics, law and devotion to the common good.The new patriotism concerns itself with the moral responsibilities toward other members of “our” group and by definition diminishes responsibilities toward non-members. New patriotism manifests itself in English-only legislation, poor treatment of returning casualties of war, and blindness to the effects of war on foreign populations.

New patriotism can accept extreme poverty, famine and genocide in African countries. New patriotism says, “what’s in it for me?” without regard for the impacts that wish fulfillment may have on the rest of society.

As a veteran, I will have none of this new patriotism, nor should any of us if we care about our country.

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Writing

Support A New Fire Station

Firefighter Uniforms

It’s been almost a year since the Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory reported the first three positive test results for COVID-19 in Iowa on March 8, 2020. The pandemic continues and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting cabin fever. The lingering snowfall hasn’t helped.

I read the report of fund raising challenges for a new fire station for the Solon Tri-Township Emergency Response Agency. The fund raisers can’t get in front of people due to the pandemic. While the $1.2 million raised so far is positive, there is a long way to go. I encourage people who can to give generously to this project.

Thursday I put on my Carhartt jacket, the U.S. Army-issued scarf I wore in the Fulda Gap, my seed supplier logo stocking hat, a pair of Army boots I got in basic training, my buckled overshoes, and ventured into the unbroken snow. It was more work than expected to deliver two five-gallon buckets of compost to the bin. I felt better once it was finished, some relief from cabin fever. Now I need to figure out how much I can afford to give for the fire station.

The new fire station is designed to better meet our needs. Our volunteer fire fighters could use the support. Please give what you can.

~ Submitted to the Solon Economist

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Living in Society

Need Some New Sawhorses

Woman Writing Letter

I read with interest three letters in the Dec. 10 Solon Economist about the Second Congressional District election in which Mariannette Miller-Meeks won by six votes, according to Secretary of State certified results.

Give it a rest folks.

If Rita Hart wants to pursue her legal rights by appealing to the U.S. House for a new recount, she has that option, it has been used before, and it is perfectly legal.

Hart explained in clear terms why she is appealing to the House: to count every vote. The letter writers apparently didn’t get the message. There will be political consequences for Hart for taking the issue to the House. I don’t think she’s worried about that now.

Republicans better find a new whipping post than Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, though. In November she was nominated for another term as speaker and indicated the next congress could be her last. Time will tell, but if she does announce her retirement before the midterms, those old Pelosi-demonizing sawhorses won’t cut wood any more.

By the way, urging folks to contact their congressman with demands is fine. Just remember ours is still Dave Loebsack who supports Hart’s quest for a recount.

~ Published in the Dec. 17, 2020 edition of the Solon Economist

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Living in Society

House District 73 and the Pandemic

Woman Writing Letter

As Election Day approaches, the coronavirus dominates the news and lives of many who live in House District 73. I voted early for Lonny Pulkrabek as state representative and recommend you vote for him too. Pulkrabek will engage with other legislators to do something about spread of COVID-19 in Iowa.

Given the chance; the Republican majority did little to address the global pandemic for Iowans.

The single bill related to the pandemic that passed last session was Senate File 2338 which took away liability for COVID-19 from businesses. State Senator Rob Hogg said of the Republican majority, “no proposals, no bills passed,” to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. As a member of leadership Rep. Bobby Kaufmann has culpability.

At a minimum, what was needed was to add capacity at the Iowa Hygienic Laboratory so they could process more tests. Because the legislature did not, Iowa fell out of compliance with White House and CDC recommendations regarding testing in nursing homes.

Iowa friends and family of mine tested positive for COVID-19. A child I know did too when schools reopened. The minister who officiated at our wedding died of the disease. The pandemic is proving to be personal for so many of us.

Republicans had their chance. It’s time to elect Democrats like Lonny Pulkrabek to effectively address the pandemic.

~ A version of this letter first appeared in Little Village Magazine in Iowa City. Also published in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Oct. 24, 2020.

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Writing

So Many Letters

Morning in Iowa

Here’s a post I wrote about writing letters to the editor while working as a proof reader at a local weekly newspaper on Oct. 20, 2012. The newspaper in Iowa’s second largest city continues to print letters to the editor and guest opinions daily. The main newspaper in the county seat practically eliminated printing letters to the editor, now doing so maybe two days per week. Weeklies, like the one where I worked, are challenged with loss of advertising, consolidation with other newspapers, and an uncertain future. They welcome this free to them and engaging to their readers content. Letters to the editor of local newspapers play an important role in political campaigns and about anything else going on in small cities, towns and school districts. While it continues to exist, the letter to the editor is an effective way to gain readers’ attention. It reaches many multiples of the daily views a blog like mine or a social media post reaches.This is reprinted with limited editing.

Just returned from my job at the newspaper, where I had to work longer than usual to get through a spike in submitted letters to the editor… election and all. Many topics, some letters better written than others. Some writers I know well, others, not so much. More well written than poorly written, in fact all of them were understandable.

Which leads me to the question of why these same writers don’t take advantage of this forum, except when they have an axe to grind, cause to promote, or we are two weeks from a general election?

The small slice of the community that still reads newspapers is one of the most intelligent and articulate parts of our society, believe it or not. As a lowly proofreader, I earned extra pay for my time, so am grateful this day. But I know from experience the volume and time will drop off dramatically after the election.

So for Pete’s sake, spend 30 minutes a month and write a letter to the editor. You will feel better and it keeps us piecework wage earners in the green.

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Living in Society

It’s Time to Vote

Voting by mail.

The auditor sends out the first vote by mail ballots Oct. 5. I can’t wait to get mine. I’m hoping Democrats sweep Iowa yet the races are tight.

The Des Moines Register released a poll saying the presidential race is tied. What’s curious is Biden leads Trump by 20 points in every demographic of women and Trump leads Biden by 20 points in every demographic of men. If you want proof women are smarter than men there it is.

I’m voting for Theresa Greenfield for U.S. Senate because she’s smart and disciplined. During my interview with her this spring she stayed on message. She remains so despite the buckets of tar outside groups throw at her. Greenfield also understands the risk reelection of President Trump poses to Social Security. Trump would eliminate payroll taxes and bankrupt the trust fund by 2023. Greenfield is engaged, tough, independent and persistent.

Rita Hart is a farmer and former teacher. During her opponent’s three previous campaigns I spoke with Miller Meeks at parades. There is really no comparison between the two. Hart has the experience Iowa needs, the energy to get things done in the Congress, and she puts people over party.

Lonny Pulkrabek is the change we need at the statehouse. I like Bobby Kaufmann personally, he’s a hard worker. At the end of the day he votes with Republican leadership which is taking the state in the wrong direction. We know Lonny has the experience to make a difference in the Iowa legislature.

Please vote on or before Nov. 3.

~ Submitted as a letter to the editor of the Solon Economist