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Ricketts wrong on masks

I read with horror the June 18 article about Gov. Pete Ricketts’ recent threat to withhold funding to local governmental agencies if they require the wearing of face masks in public buildings.

I had hoped that our elected governor would, in this time of national crisis, be acting in the best interests of taxpayers and the electorate. I cannot defend this on any rational or scientific basis.

As a retired M.D., I have spent my life wearing face masks to protect the public. The same people who are denying the usefulness of masks would be horrified and indignant if they walked into an operating room to find their doctors and nurses without face masks. There is no question at all that using masks saves lives, and people who refuse to wear them are putting others at risk for serious illness or death.

I have spent 40 years of my professional life wearing a mask to protect my patients, and now that I am over the age of 60 and therefore at higher risk for serious illness or death, it is appalling that members of the public and our elected governor will not take this simple step to protect me.

The wearing of face masks is simple science and public health. The fact that it has become foolishly and recklessly politicized in this crisis is undermining our recovery and return to normalcy. It shows a profound lack of good judgment and responsibility.

Elizabeth McInerney, Omaha

Poor choices in Senate race

Running for office is exhausting, so is being an elected official. If we expect our elected officials to show good judgment in a time of crisis, then they need to prove through the campaign process that they are up to the job. I appreciate the time, effort and money that Mr. Janicek has put into his campaign; however, with a president who sometimes acts like a racist misogynist, this mistake by Mr. Janisek just shows he is not ready for elected office.

It is too bad because Sen. Sasse’s graduation speech also showed poor judgment and poor leadership, and he has not shown responsibility for his mistake.

I will be writing in Jane Raybould for the office.

Marcia Anderson, Omaha

Problem and solution

I am all for people raising their voices at injustice, and I hope we are seeing a true movement to right the wrongs in our country. But I don’t think we’re focusing on the right problem.

Racism is a cancer in our society, and I’d like to remind everyone that it isn’t restricted to one group or another. (I’ve had racism directed at me several times and I’m white). It’s despicable. Police brutality is terrible, but it isn’t restricted to the police either. I’d have to say that, statistically speaking, there are fewer bad actors in the police force than in the general population.

If we the people did a better job of policing ourselves, however, maybe we could de-escalate police violence. Maybe if we behaved ourselves, we could defund the police because we no longer need them at their current level. We want to blame the police, but they are not the heart of the problem. We seem to want someone else to solve our problems, wait for “them” (whoever “they” are) to act, blame everyone but ourselves. That has to stop. The police departments need to clean up their act, of course, but I also think maybe we owe the police an apology for our own behavior.

We have to take responsibility for our own actions. We have to act as a society to right the wrongs and do our best to bring everyone out of desperate situations. Level society. I don’t believe anyone is really — sorry for this, but — stupid enough to believe the shade of someone’s skin, their gender, the shape of their eyes or any other external attribute has anything to do with the content of their character. Each of us is either honorable or we’re not.

Carolyn Lee, Bellevue

The message from kneeling

To Craig M. Barnhart (June 14 Pulse): I genuflect when I enter my church, and kneel during the service. Those being knighted kneel before their king or queen. I knelt when I asked my wife to marry me. None of these, I believe, demonstrates the betrayal or cowardice that you wrote about.

Initially, Kaepernick sat during the anthem, which I did think was disrespectful. Since disrespect was not his goal, he then visited with a military veteran about how to protest with respect; the veteran recommended he kneel.

You may not like it, but it is not disrespectful.

Joe Hall, Bennington

A tainted tax

Former Democrat President Woodrow Wilson was a racist, even by the standards of the early 1900s. Not only did he resegregate the federal government, but he was also a vocal supporter of the KKK.

In 1913, President Wilson signed the Revenue Act into law and thus, the collection of income taxes was born.

Since everything else under the sun can be massaged to be illegitimate due to their racist roots these days, income taxes must be banned.

Evan Trofholz, Columbus, Neb.

Malcolm X Foundation’s great work

Last weekend, during my weekly video chat with my adult son in Denver, I shared that I was going to participate in a virtual training meeting for non-black allies of Black Lives Matter, live-streamed from the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation. I reminded him of my participation in the Cooperative Urban Teacher Education program in the years just after the period of racial unrest in the late 1960s, and the lifelong influence of that experience on my own commitment to civil rights and social justice causes in Omaha.

My son, though born and raised in Omaha in a household, arts community and church that embraced diversity and inclusion, not only was unaware of the Malcolm X historical site but surprised me by saying, “I always admired Malcolm X, but I didn’t know he was from Omaha!” As we address the issues that have brought our country and community to face the consequences of systemic racism, it is crucial that the citizens of Omaha learn about the legacy of our native son Malcolm X, the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation and the outstanding work it is doing.

The strategy session on Sunday was well-organized, informative and thought-provoking. An opportunity was provided to register for a three-session course to continue our training. The foundation website and Facebook page offer a wealth of resources with background information, history, upcoming events and lectures, and much more. Please research this neglected historical gem, plan a visit to the lovely building and grounds, and take advantage of the events planned to help educate and unify our community.

Peggy A. Holloway, Omaha

Example of white blindness

Allen Thomsen’s June 19 Pulse comments regarding the closing of the 11-Worth restaurant give a perfect window into white blindness. Mr. Thomsen upends his whole argument in his last paragraph. “Everyone connected to this restaurant, customers and employees alike, has been irreparably harmed. This is blamed on a stupid, thoughtless Facebook posting, and a menu named after a Civil War general. How in the world has this harmed the demonstrators?” (Italics added).

That “stupid, thoughtless” Facebook post encouraged using lethal force against protesters. “Stupid” and “thoughtless” hardly seem strong enough adjectives to describe Tony Junior’s comments. And that menu item named after a Civil War general? Mr. Thomsen forgot to mention that the general was the commander of the Confederate Army, a man who used his significant military prowess to try and destroy the very Constitution he had pledged to defend, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, and for the sole purpose of protecting the institution that enslaved millions.

“How in the world has this harmed the demonstrators,” asks Mr. Thomsen. The answer is, in every conceivable way! It is the public and private expression of such contempt for the lives of not only blacks but those of all the marginalized groups in our society.

To describe the customers and employees of 11-Worth being “irreparably harmed” by the demonstrators is not just laughable, it is obscene. The only harm they have encountered is from Mr. Caniglia’s unwillingness to apologize for the racist remarks of his son and his own use of a disgusting, racist symbol of oppression on his menu. Tell me, Mr. Caniglia, would you eat in a restaurant that had a dish named after Mussolini on the menu?

Rev. Richard Lane Bailey, Plattsmouth, Neb.

11-Worth closing

The Caniglia family restaurants have been a mainstay in the Omaha community for many years. My wife and I and friends went to the 11-Worth Café for breakfast on Sunday mornings many times over the past several years, and it was always crowded. We even enjoyed waiting for a table while we chatted with others who were white, black and shades in between. The food was great and in large portions and not expensive. The wait staff was friendly and efficient and also white, black and shades in between.

We were waiting for the coronavirus to slow down before returning and are now very disappointed that we never will.

One never knows if a “peaceful protest” will actually be peaceful and safe. Just the threat of violence can be damaging to businesses where they occur. So, to protest organizer David Mitchell and your followers, you were successful in winning your feud with the Caniglia family, putting a good and popular restaurant out of business and making a number of good people unemployed. I bet you’re proud of yourselves.

Don Sachs, Council Bluffs

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