Letters: Isn’t it better to confront history?

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Isn’t it better to confront history?

A German film company has made a movie about the 20th century's first genocide, Imperial Germany's systematic murder of tens of thousands of native people in what is now Namibia.  The film has been shown to the German Parliament and will be shown in German schools, where children already are taught the history of the Holocaust.  If German children can be taught their history, why are some people afraid to let American children be taught our history of segregation and slavery just because it might upset them?

— Ivan T. Webber, West Des Moines

Changing drugs is quite sensible

Contrary to the recent essay by Lynn Rankin ("Don't allow switching that hurts patients," March 30), it is very reasonable for both private and government-sponsored health care plans to require you to try a lower-cost drug that meets your needs before going to a higher-cost drug.

If you start on a high-cost medication, it seems reasonable to ask you to try a lower-cost drug that has been determined to be therapeutically equivalent.  If you and your doctor don't want to try a lower-cost drug first, it again is very reasonable to require a prior authorization request that shows evidence why the lower-cost drug should not be tried first. It is also reasonable to charge higher co-pays for higher-cost drugs.

It is very easy for doctors to prescribe the newest and most costly drug to treat any illness, especially since patients typically pay very little out of their own pocket. That is part of the reason why our health insurance costs are so high. If people had to pay the full amount for the drugs they take, they would do this on their own.

— Kurt Johnson, Urbandale

Hawkeyes represented us well

Way to go, coach Lisa Bluder and Iowa Hawkeye women’s basketball team! You may not have won the final game, but you won the hearts of everyone who watched your remarkable run in NCAA tournament and your dominance in Final Four!

You brought positive attention to women’s sports ad to our state, which you represented well. All of Iowa is proud of you. You,  ladies, are true champions! Thank you for doing your best and for being a joy to watch.

— LaVonne Anderson, Des Moines

The Iowa Wesleyan University was the location for the founding of P.E.O., after seven women wanted to strengthen their friendship and help women. The organization still impacts women today.
The Iowa Wesleyan University was the location for the founding of P.E.O., after seven women wanted to strengthen their friendship and help women. The organization still impacts women today.

Iowa Wesleyan had a legacy worth preserving

My mother, Vera Bird, born in 1903, graduated from Iowa Wesleyan University after growing up in Mount Pleasant. The school supported educating women in an era when women were not allowed to teach when they got married.

Iowa Wesleyan Literary Institute was founded in Mount Pleasant in 1841, five years before Iowa would be granted statehood. Among the school’s most famous alumni are astronaut Peggy Whitson and astrophysicist James Van Allen.

Why wouldn’t the first female Iowa governor, Kim Reynolds, refuse to support funding this historical university, which now must shut down?

— Donna Gricus, Jamestown, Rhode Island

Liberals are trying to stamp out truth

To suggest “literature” portraying homosexual oral sex as somehow liberating and instructive, furthering the ends of liberal education, is an argument to be dismissed as empty relativism. To present bizarre behavior to very young children as normal or to conflate banning the teaching of transgender behavior as destructive is vanity. To accuse religious people of hate is ugly. There is a temptation to dismiss the lies of fabulists of the left. After all, they’re the same people who believe Rachel Dolezal is African-American.

This isn’t about love or acceptance, it’s about power. The power of lies or the power of truth. By surrendering to lies we betray ourselves, our children, our grandchildren. We can’t fail them now.

Michael Devine, Fort Dodge

Comparing Ukraine and fentanyl and our responses

I know the term “America First” has had a very negative connotation recently, but many of us who have worn our nation’s military uniform felt that way when we joined. Sixty years ago this month I enlisted in the military of this, the greatest country in the world.  And I believe we need to get back to that greatness and put America first.

What has this to do with the title of this letter? We have a nation ONLY if we have distinct borders. We are losing our southern border. We have given tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine for its security.

It's not known precisely how many civilians have died during over a year of fighting in Ukraine; various sources put it at at least 8,000 and possibly tens of thousands more. In 2022, 70,601 deaths in the US were attributed to fentanyl.  This doesn’t include deaths from methamphetamines, cocaine, or heroin. These drugs are also coming across our southern border.

Recent news reports tell us that the US has increased troop strength in Europe by tens of thousands while our borders are protected by 19,000 border agents. These are not just on the southern border.  They must cover all ports of entry, northern border, Atlantic, and Pacific as well.

While, like most Americans, I deplore what is happening in Ukraine, it seems to me that we should protect our country at least as well as we are working to help Ukraine and, hopefully, reduce fentanyl deaths in America.  Let’s put America and Americans first.

— Lincoln C. Soule, Ames

HPV discussions help prevent cancer

Infection by human papillomaviruses, or HPVs, causes a range of health problems, including certain types of dangerous cancers, such as cervical cancer in women and a subset of oral and throat cancers in both men and women. As scientists who study infectious agents that cause human diseases, we believe that Iowans need to be informed of the most effective ways of preventing HPV transmission.

Getting vaccinated against HPV is important because it effectively protects against the most common types of the virus that can cause cancer. The HPV vaccine is recommended for both males and females, ideally before high school, to provide the greatest protection. The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing HPV infections and the cancers caused by HPV. Further, the HPV vaccine can help prevent the spread of the virus to others.

For the past 15 years, Iowa has promoted a policy that HPV and the HPV vaccine need to be discussed in health classes in junior high and high school, a time when studies have shown that HPV vaccines prevent HPV infection and cancer.

To be clear, there is currently no HPV vaccine mandate in the US, only a requirement to discuss the choice to get vaccinated and its benefits. Current efforts by anti-vaccine groups have undermined these efforts by convincing some elected officials to eliminate the required mention of HPV and the vaccine from health discussions with students. These efforts to not discuss HPV come at a time when it has recently been reported that Iowa is the only state in the United States in which cancer rates are going up. In fact, we are second in the overall rate of cancer based on population numbers of each state.

The exact reasons for this increased cancer rate are unclear; however, an FDA-approved and licensed vaccine is available that has proven to be safe and effective in preventing certain types of devastating cancers. Limiting teens and young adults from learning about this preventive approach to limit HPV infection is detrimental and illogical. In addition, the legislative efforts go beyond HPV and include removal of the discussion of HIV, the virus that can causes AIDS. More people live with HIV in Iowa now than ever before. Failing to discuss these pathogenic viruses with vulnerable individuals is a disservice to our children and the people of Iowa.

To best protect Iowa youth from preventable diseases, their education much include science-based and the most up-to-date information about these issues so they and their parents can make informed choices about their health. Removing these education requirements may tragically lead to preventable HPV-related cancers and HIV infection.— Al Klingelhutz, Ph.D., Iowa City, Jack Stapleton, M.D., Iowa City, Theresa Ho, Ph.D., Iowa City, and Li Wu, Ph.D., Iowa City

Small businesses need partners in Congress

Last week I had the privilege of meeting virtually with our new member of Congress, Rep. Zach Nunn, to talk about the tools and support small-business owners like me need to survive and thrive in today’s fast-moving economy.

My message, on behalf of my fellow entrepreneurs here in Iowa, was a call to action: We need decision makers in Washington to modernize the federal government’s small-business programs to better reflect the realities of doing business in 2023 and beyond.

Unfortunately, after navigating the historic challenges presented by the pandemic, small-business owners feel like we’re going it alone as we navigate workforce and inflation issues and seek capital to sustain and grow our enterprises. This frustration is reflected in a recent survey of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community that found that 96% of entrepreneurs nationwide believe the federal government should better tailor its small-business programs and services to be more efficient and effective, including modernizing and reauthorizing the Small Business Administration for the first time in 23 years.

I came away from my meeting with Nunn knowing we have an ally in Washington, and hopeful that the voices of small-business owners like me will spur changes urgently needed. Now, I urge Congress to act to modernize the Small Business Administration.

— Brandon Dahms, Des Moines, co-founder and partner of Innovative Manufacturing and Engineering

Lessons from ‘Animal Farm’

A book we studied in high school English class made me very uncomfortable: George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Its cynical plot showed that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It didn’t have a happy ending. But, as an adult, I’m watching this plot play out in real time. The Republican Party of Iowa is showing us that they want all the power, and they are quickly creating a larger and larger pool of people who have no power whatsoever. I think the book should be required reading for everyone.

— Nancy Brown, Urbandale

Tweak the state motto

While the Legislature is at it, they may as well go ahead and update Iowa’s state motto – currently “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” In keeping with their recent actions, I suggest “Our liberties we compromise and our rights we will disdain.”

— Kathy Svec, Ames

Reynolds throws money away

At least $417 million so far.

Iowa is one of four state governments that missed a deadline last week to participate in the federal Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program, as Axios Des Moines reported. Why it matters: Rejecting federal money is a trend that has cost the state more than $200 million. And this time, by declining $3 million in planning grants that don't require a state match, Iowa won't be able to tap into phase II of the program — a $4.6 billion allocation to help states transition to clean energy economies.

Here’s the reason: The grants program is part of the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Joe Biden last year to reduce the federal deficit, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lower health insurance-related costs.

Flashback: Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Fox News in 2021 that she'd returned $95 million in federal money for COVID-19 testing in schools, claiming Iowa didn't need it. And her administration also declined a $30 million federal grant for child care services in November and, as of February, had forfeited at least $89.5 million in emergency rental assistance.

— Kenn Johnson, Des Moines

Gun restrictions seem effective to me

Why is the answer to mass shootings in the US always the same? Republicans claim it isn’t the gun. England, Japan have banned firearms and look at their gun deaths. Come on, don’t you have a better answer than that?

— Richard Hale, Madrid

Confused by Trone Garriott’s story

I read, and reread numerous times, the story told by Sarah Trone Garriott for the Storytelling Project’s “Love.”

Finding the message was difficult for me in the story of an intern pastor of a branch of the Lutheran Church. As a professed Christian and a practicing member of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, I was disheartened by what the story portrayed: a young intern pastor who seemed to have little respect for the church, the pastor assigned to mentor her or her seminary experience. Her comments did not indicate she had a grasp of importance of the vocation she either chose or was called to.

Worse yet were her comments about the couple, satanism aside. What she said about their odor, looks, dress demeanor, could hardly have been more demeaning. Pastors, new or senior are no different than the people they shepherd in that they are imperfect and sinners. And I get that serving entails a lifetime of learning.

That said, as one of those old German Lutheran hymns goes, “Chief of Sinners Though I Be.” I could have as a layperson cleared things up for her.

God is love.

— Steve Lame, Des Moines

Reynolds seems to think Trump is above the law

Gov. Kim Reynolds frequently touts her "law and order" persona, often times preening about as if it is a badge of honor.

However, when someone of her party gets indicted by an impartial grand jury of 23 of her fellow citizens, her morality seems to change.  Iowa's leader publicly called the result of a constitutional procedure a scam, seemingly only because she thought it didn't fit her definition of law and order, rather than the definition of the Constitution of the U.S.

One word seems to define this: hypocrisy.

— Steven W. Whitehead, West Des Moines

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Letters: Isn’t it better to confront history?