Letters: Are children really this impressionable?

Are children really this impressionable?

Dear "conservative" parents in Van Meter,

I am trying to understand what it is that you are so afraid of, for yourselves or your children or both. Do you fear their learning more about the world around them, the people around them, the ways in which things are changing in our world and our thinking today, as we learn and understand more about each other?

I know that progressives are often called "snowflakes." That term comes to mind when I read about parents who must feel that their children are so weak that they cannot learn, discern, make choices, be exposed to all of the new information out there in terms of medicine, geography, history — our own and others’ — science, space. For parents to want to keep their children "safe" from this knowledge is frightening to me. I want my grandchildren and now great-grandchildren to learn all they can from all sources, not just to hear repeats of what their parents and grandparents knew and learned at their ages. Please let these caring educators open windows and doors and minds.

— Sue Sharp Johnson, Oelwein

Development isn’t the only good use

When Clyde Evans, community and economic development director for West Des Moines, declares 226 acres of land “empty” and suitable for “The Grand Experience,” (“West Des Moines plan entails huge water park,” Nov. 3), a massive water park, hotel, business conference center, retail and office space, housing, and more, I question what land he is referring to.

Is Iowa land ever “empty,” with its rich topsoil, its importance in feeding the world, and its role in keeping us connected to nature?

Is it possible that the best use for land surrounding the existing RecPlex is restored prairie where children can identify butterflies, learn about soil conservation, and dream as I once did, gazing upon the horizon of an Iowa field?

We’ve lost 35% of our topsoil in the Midwest. Without adequate protection for our land, what will be truly empty one day is our own Iowa soul.

— Diane Glass, Des Moines

Elected officials must work for all Iowans

The Iowa results from our recent elections were disappointing, but not surprising. It has only taken a week for the true colors of our elected officials to reappear.

Sen. Chuck Grassley claims to favor the protection of same-sex marriage while voting against it. Gov. Kim Reynolds has refused to use federal money to help Iowans. While I am proud to be an Iowan, I am also frustrated with our inability to look to the future. The Republican Party has a stranglehold on most of our state. It cultivates the notion of “once a Republican, always a Republican.” The Republican Party unsuccessfully privatized Medicaid. Now Medicare and Social Security are in danger of being dismantled.

The party refuses to make public school education a priority. Republicans are against the basic aid for lower-income families. It does not want to increase the minimum wage. It offers minimal aid for mental health. It does not want to help immigrants in the state, even though our workforce is crying for workers. It certainly doesn’t want women making their own health choices. I see a pattern, and it’s not good for Iowa. No wonder many of our young leave the state as soon as they can.

We cannot live in the past. Embrace the change that can help our state move forward. Tell our elected officials to work for all Iowans, not just the wealthiest.

— Margaret Havens, Storm Lake

Cultivated meat is safe

In a landmark ruling destined to save billions of animal and human lives, the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that meat cultivated from animal cells is safe to eat. The ruling was granted to Upside Foods, funded by Bill Gates and Richard Branson, but also by meat industry giants Cargill and Tyson Foods.

In the past decade, the cultivated-meat industry has grown to more than 150 companies on six continents, backed by $2.6 billion in investments. They all grow meat from animal cells in clean manufacturing plants, rather than in cruel, filthy factory farms.

An estimated 70 billion animals are macerated or suffocated at birth or raised in tiny cages each year to produce today's animal meat and dairy offerings. Consumption of these products has been linked conclusively with elevated incidence of killer diseases.

Production of animal-based foods pollutes our waterways and groundwater supplies, destroys wildlife habitats, and accounts for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

The forthcoming massive switch from animal agriculture to plant-based and cultivated meat and dairy products offers a truly monumental change in kindness to animals, human health, environmental pollution, and global warming.

— Douglas Mansfield, Des Moines

Return to the Four Freedoms

Do I have to wake up to this? “District accused of liberal teaching,” Nov. 20.

When I was a child President Franklin Roosevelt had to unite America. Eleven months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he addressed Congress speaking about the Four Freedoms. The first freedom was "freedom of speech."

Norman Rockwell was the most popular artist in America. He created four paintings about the “Four freedoms.“ They became United States postage stamps. They appeared on covers of four Saturday Evening Post magazines. They were used as pictures on our walls. They were on the walls of our classrooms in our public schools!

Please, can we have the Four Freedoms back? This would be better than having politicians telling us what we can and we cannot do.

I’m going back to bed!

— Paul Woodard, Ankeny

Reynolds’ ad was inflammatory

When Gov. Kim Reynolds learned of the recent mass murders at the LGBT nightclub in Colorado, I wonder if she felt even a twinge of remorse over the smirking boast she made during her re-election campaign that in Iowa we “still know boys from girls."

— Dave Witke, Des Moines

Definitely don’t teach kids about the world

It's good that the Des Moines Register is keeping us up to date on what's happening around Iowa. The article in the Sunday paper about the parents in Van Meter complaining about their public school is right on. The complaining parents have it correct: Our K-12 education system here in Iowa is not for the purpose of educating children. And those who think otherwise need to understand that.

The parents of Van Meter certainly understand that. They are of the view, widely held and historically correct, that our K-12 schools are for the purpose of providing fodder for business (ready for employment). We need workers. Nobody has enough workers and without workers profits are limited. Sure, we also need a few people like doctors, dentists, lawyers, investment advisers, real estate agents, and such, but you don't need to know anything about critical race theory for these professions.

It is helpful in modern life to be able to read and write. The problem is that once a kid learns to read and write, he or she needs to be limited in what one reads and writes. It doesn't help anybody if some kid reads the book "Melissa" or knows where Ukraine is located. The most any kid needs to know is how to read an instruction manual and count to a 100 - - maybe a little multiplication and division. Kids are malleable as we know; they can be trained to run a machine or heat up a burger at McDonalds or mix a coffee concoction at Starbucks. And you don't need to know about transgender people in order to fix stuff; you know like a furnace or an air conditioner. Other people can show you how to do that.

Now the teachers who are the subject of these complaints have somehow come to the conclusion that the children they are trying to teach will, when adults, leave Van Meter and go to a city; a city somewhere - - maybe Iowa but more likely somewhere else in the country. In that city they may actually run across people of a different color, different sexual orientation, different political views, and whatnot. You can't blame these parents in the fear that this will be the result of an education; the less their kids know the less likely they will leave rural Iowa and venture into the world where things are different. We don't want that.

So once again kudos to the parents of Van Meter and let's hope other parents around Iowa come to the fore and emulate them.

— Richard E H Phelps II, Mingo

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Letters: Are children really this impressionable?