Citizens must rise above any apathy
Has everyone lost sight of the fact that had our Congress and president formulated an annual budget, which has not been done for several years, this whole debacle over the shutdown of the government would not have happened?
Why wasn't this aspect of the situation publicized more? Many citizens of this great country have apparently descended into apathy, the final step before the emergence of a dictatorship.
An equally large bloc of voters has been characterized as “low information voters.” Or is the citizenry simply too turned off by the grandstanding in Washington to even try to understand what's going on?
Gene Gausman, Milford, Neb.
It's not a gimmick to budget responsibly
As a registered Republican and current federal employee at StratCom, I found Sen. Deb Fischer's comments insensitive that suspending her own pay during a government shutdown would be a “gimmick.”
As a retired military officer, I learned that being a good leader means not making your subordinates go through anything you wouldn't go through yourself.
So why would this be a gimmick? I know that Sen. Fischer's thinking the same things I am: How am I going to pay my bills? How do I maintain my house? How do I buy Christmas presents for the three girls at my dinner table? How long will this go on?
I have been responsible and have savings to cover a crisis for a while. It would be comforting to think that those we have sent to Washington were as responsible or at least sensitive to the chaos they've caused through their own irresponsibility.
Joe Williams, Omaha
Will the fire-starters be able to put it out?
Who's going to save the Republicans from themselves? Their reading of the tea leaves told them to shut down the federal government and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America, all in the hope of preventing millions of Americans from buying health insurance.
The Republicans have lost ground and their ranks are thinning, so how does John Boehner's House put out the fire they started?
Then again, some people just like to watch things burn.
Tom Russell, Fremont, Neb.
Demagogues exploiting our citizenry
As I recall, a demigod (Oct. 3 Pulse) was a mythological half-god and half-human being. Many of the current members of Congress are half-something, and it's not a god.
There are a number who through being demagogues got themselves elected to their offices. They clearly have played on the prejudice and ignorance of their electorate to gain a position they could exploit for their own personal needs. They then ignore the actual need for a functioning government.
Actually, many have run against having a functioning government, and the sequester, government shutdown and potential of a default show their contempt for our government and its current structure. It also shows their contempt for the rule of law from the Constitution, its amendments and judicial oversight.
Tom Williamson, Omaha
Recognize the perils of big government
It's time to give thanks. Our grand republic still stands in the midst of a government shutdown. No riots, no military coup, no empty grocery shelves, etc.
Within this marvelous system (hammered out and ratified by our forefathers), our elected representatives conduct, for good or bad, the business of the people and the United States of America. They need our well-reasoned input to do their job and our thanks.
A recent quote in The World-Herald's History feature reveals great wisdom: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”
Karen Kumpf, Omaha
Shine light on too much federal control
A tiny example in Wisconsin should be a harbinger for how much the federal government uses the power of the purse to control our lives. It is reported that the National Park Service tried to close state parks because a handful of employees are actually paid by federal grants. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker refused.
One doesn't have to think too hard to find examples of where federal funds are used to control the actions of state and local agencies through the same strong-arm tactics. We are so accustomed to the fact that most infrastructure and civic projects are partially funded from federal funds that we somehow fool ourselves into believing that this money is free.
The federal government shutdown, while painful to a number of direct federal workers, has some benefit for the entire nation. We now have daily evidence of just how much the federal government has taken control of our lives by allowing the politicians to write checks they can't cash.
Just as miners used a canary to show the condition of the air in a coal mine, we should use this shutdown to shine a light on an oppressive federal government.
Richard Hill, Omaha
The problem starts at the top, so fix it
Shutdown solution: Impeach Obama. Problem solved!
Bonnie Venhaus, Omaha
Our war veterans deserved much better
Despite the so-called government shutdown, President Obama seems to have money for all the really important work he wants to get done. Just last month, he pledged $12 million (no, not his money, but yours and mine) to the Global Equality Fund, which will be used to pressure countries around the world to accept homosexuality.
And the World War II veterans who are probably making their final trip (and perhaps their first trip) to see the war memorials in Washington are met with unnecessary barricades and closed doors.
Something is rotten, and it's not in Denmark.
Maris Bentley, Omaha
Health care law legitimately approved
So what if the Affordable Care Act was legitimately passed by the political process? Who cares that it was found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court? House Speaker John Boehner has found a way to satisfy the Tea Party conservatives and circumvent the political process — just shut down the government until you get your way.
What an idea. Perhaps we can use this process to get rid of other pesky legislation, like civil rights laws, the Voting Rights Act, maybe even constitutional amendments.
Boehner's cunning plan has made it possible to impact legislation the old-fashioned way — through blackmail and hostage taking. Well done!
Peter J. Smith, Council Bluffs
Accountability still a problem at OPS
Omaha Public Schools is embarking on an expensive community-wide survey of the district. School district officials are spending more than $140,000 to hire out-of-town consultants to help them find out more information from people in the district.
At the end of the day, this survey is not worth the time or money because OPS district staff and the board cannot respond to the current small challenges.
This is not the first or last wasted survey by this district. I sent written correspondences to three board members about a month ago. I also sent a letter to the new superintendent, Mark Evans. I have not heard from any of them. One would think I would at least get a phone call or a postcard from the board secretary or someone acknowledging the receipt of my letters.
This district would be better suited to hire an ombudsman and create a real office with accountability. It is no wonder that standards are so low when you have overpriced administration and overpaid superintendents not responding to the local constituents.
A'Jamal-Rashad Byndon, Omaha
Waterman was excellent instructor
I was John Waterman's principal during his career at Omaha Central High School (“Waterman inspired as teacher and coach,” Sept. 29 World-Herald).
He had a rare talent for making weak math students believe in themselves and succeed in learning math, often for the first time, and he inspired strong math students to achieve even more than they ever expected. His math teams' records still are among the best in Nebraska high school competition. He was among the first in the state to recognize computer capabilities for teaching math, and he implemented computer programs and activities that were cutting edge for the time.
John has former students working all over the world who would testify that he was an exemplary teacher taken from us much too early.
G.E. Moller, Omaha