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Another kind of signing day

As I was reading The World-Herald recently about the ceremonies for the kids signing their athletic letters-of-intent, and with Veterans Day just past, it occurred to me: Why don’t high schools have ceremonies for the kids signing their enlistment papers?

It’s nice to recognize the kids going on to play college football or basketball, baseball or soccer, swim, run track, etc. But wouldn’t it be just as nice and fitting to recognize those going into the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard?

We do a great job of recognizing veterans and those currently serving. I think it would be encouraging to recognize those kids embarking on a military career, letting them know we’re grateful for what they’re doing, and reinforcing their decision.

Tom McShane, Omaha

History repeating itself?

I cannot understand the lack of support for the president from our elected senators and representatives in Congress. It appears there are very few comments in The World-Herald expressing their views on these important issues.

Take the case of Abraham Lincoln and his unpopularity during his entire time in office, which W.M. McClay described in a speech last July at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.: “Few great leaders have been more comprehensively disdained, loathed and underestimated. … As Lincoln biographer David Donald put it, ‘Lincoln’s own associates thought him a Simple Susan, a baboon, an aimless punster, a smutty joker.’” Lincoln thought he would lose the election, but he was wrong, and the political environment was wrong.

On the day of his assassination, Lincoln said, “I hope there will be no persecution, no bloody work after the war is over.” This sad period of our history has passed, and this, too, will pass.

David Gambal, Omaha

Partisan puppetry

This longtime reader and native Omahan remains grateful that the city continues to have a voice that is “Real. Fair. Accurate.” — as touted in The World-Herald masthead. I know that most of us have never considered our local newspaper to be an “enemy of the people.”

I especially appreciate the “fair” way your reporting team always polls our folks in Congress about their reactions to the circus unfolding on the national scene, as happened recently when Rep. Don Bacon, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Sen. Deb Fischer, etc., were asked about the impeachment imbroglio.

Partisan politics in this part of the world never surprises me, and it often saddens me. Had Barack Obama committed one tenth of the transgressions manifested by Donald Trump, Hobby Lobby would have sold out of pitchforks and torches long ago.

One notes that our local representatives are never “too busy” to cash those checks from the National Rifle Association. One also imagines Vladimir Putin snapping open his communication version of “fairness” every morning, marveling at all of our national division, and thinking smugly: “I knew my plan would work; I never dreamed it would work this well.”

Steve Paschang, Omaha

Campaign defends donation

I am responding to Klaus Lindner’s Nov. 18 letter to the Public Pulse (“Transparency and integrity?”), critical of our decision to donate funds received by our campaign from billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

When our campaign learned that a Steyer campaign official in Iowa was in effect attempting to trade campaign dollars for endorsements, we immediately checked our finance database and found the 2018 contribution from Steyer. While this contribution was made before Steyer was a candidate, we decided the honest course of action was to donate the funds to a worthy, local nonprofit. We picked the highly regarded Heartland Workers Center.

We felt it was especially important to be upfront and transparent because of the growing role money plays in politics. Unlike every other candidate in our race, we reject all corporate political action committee money, and we seek to overturn the misguided Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Citizens United opened the floodgates to unlimited “dark money” contributions in federal races, giving outsized influence to groups like the Congressional Leadership Fund that spend millions to subvert democracy.

It’s deeply troubling that Lindner is attacking our action. Heartland Workers Center’s board and staff are majority people of color, and the organization serves mostly working Latino/a people. The center is dedicated to developing “leaders who are capable of promoting, protecting and defending their rights.” It’s all about building self-sufficiency among a traditionally disenfranchised population.

We stand by our decision to choose people over money.

Dave Pantos, Omaha

chief political and

communications strategist,

Kara Eastman for Congress

The pope’s call to action

Creighton students are responding to Pope Francis’ call to action on climate change by asking Creighton University to divest investments related to fossil fuels. Francis, the first Jesuit pope, urges us all to take drastic action. The Rev. Daniel Hendrickson’s response was “Laudato no,” unless he thinks forming a committee is drastic action.

He perhaps would do well to study a fearless CU Jesuit, John Markoe, when dealing with racism when that was the status quo.

Rachel Dowd, Omaha

A time for prayer

A 2018 Gallup Poll found that, although church attendance in America is at an all-time low (50%), most Americans (87%) still believe in God. A 2017 Barna report found that 55% of Americans pray. But of those, only 24% pray for our nation and government. Wonder what might happen if all Americans who pray, prayed for God’s will for our nation.

God’s will is always good. Maybe the Creator is waiting for us to turn back to him. God knows how to bring peace and unity to our nation. Let’s go to him humbly in prayer and ask for the healing our country so badly needs.

Becky Tometich, Omaha

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