Coronavirus secrecy erodes the public’s confidence

The relationship between government and the governed is a delicate arrangement, even in the best of times.

Government wants us to pay our taxes. It wants us to obey its laws and directives. Citizens, in turn, expect certain things from government, things like good schools, parks, law enforcement and protection of the public health and safety.

Trust and accountability are key elements in this arrangement between government and the governed.

It’s time to rethink Iowa’s business incentives

The coronavirus crisis has exposed the financial vulnerabilities of countless Iowa businesses.

Whether we like it or not, it will be touch-and-go to see how many come through this intact, how many will end up as shadows of their former selves, and how many will disappear.

It’s implausible that businesses will pick right up where they left off two months ago and proceed as if this were just an extended power outage.

That’s why our state needs to have its leaders – Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, middle-of-the-roaders, big-city folks, small-town and rural residents – sit down for in-depth, comprehensive discussions about the way state government uses its economic assistance to help businesses.

Bail out U.S. Postal Service before cruise lines

It’s quiz time.

What arm of the federal government has the most contact with ordinary Americans, people like you and me?

Is it the Internal Revenue Service? Social Security Administration? The Food and Drug Administration? Or the Department of Agriculture?

Nope. Not that one. Not that one, either. None of those.

Amazing heroes in the fight against coronavirus

One of my memories, one that had been tucked away back where the cobwebs congregate, is from that day in 2004 when the oldest Evans daughter graduated from Saint Louis University.

The graduates crowded onto the arena floor for the commencement ceremony. They were grouped by their areas of study – business, education, arts and sciences, law, nursing, medicine, etc.

As each group of graduates was announced, those students rose and moved forward to receive their diplomas. When it came time for the School of Nursing, parental pride enveloped me over Sara’s achievement.

But I wasn’t expecting what happened next: As the nurses stood, another group of students stood at the same time, too, and began cheering. The cheerleaders were the soon-to-be-graduates of the School of Medicine – a new generation of physicians.

No guarantee leadership roles will produce leaders

Leadership is an elusive quality.

When we think of leaders, we often list people in leadership roles. They are the boss; they make the decisions.

But in reality, having a leadership role does not necessarily make those people true leaders. Someone once explained the distinction this way: “Actions, not words, are the ultimate results of leadership.”

There should not be a price tag to vote

Iowans take considerable pleasure in enumerating the various ways our state stands apart from the other 49 states --- beyond our endangered first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.

For many years, we pointed with pride to the fact that Iowa’s high school graduation rate was tops in the United States.

We like to remind friends from other states that Iowa farmers produce more corn, hogs and eggs than farmers anywhere else.

Sports fans beamed over the University of Iowa wrestling team’s success from 1978 to 1986, when the Hawkeyes won the NCAA title a record nine consecutive times. That is a longer string of NCAA team championships than any other Division 1 university in any other sport.

But there’s another category where Iowa stands atop the 50 states, and this one should embarrass us instead of filling us with pride.

Protecting teachers who protect student rights

A bill now awaiting debate and a vote in the Iowa Senate is quite short. It adds a mere 10 lines to the Iowa Code.

But those 10 lines are an important legal statement Iowa lawmakers should adopt before they finish their work for 2020.

Senate File 2331 says employees of Iowa’s public schools shall not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned or in any other way retaliated against for protecting a student’s freedom of expression or for refusing to infringe on a student’s First Amendment rights.

Iowa’s compelling interest in equality for all

Members of the Iowa Legislature are in the midst of tying themselves into knots over the issue of equality, and that’s unfortunate.

The knot-tying involves what these lawmakers call “religious freedom.”

That has a patriotic ring to it. Who would disagree? Our constitutional right to freedom of religion sets the United States apart from many nations.

But when you analyze what this legislative initiative really involves, it is too reminiscent of America’s past – a past when some people regularly were subjected to discrimination when they tried to find lodging for the night, or sit at a lunch counter for a meal, or to be hired for a job.

It’s time to overhaul, or end, the caucuses

For 40+ years, Iowa has been pulling the wool over the eyes of the free world every four years.

It is time our state’s political leaders put aside their love of the national spotlight and retire the much-ballyhooed Iowa caucuses – or overhaul the process to address the obvious flaws that exist with the event.

I say that, not because some people think Iowa is the wrong location for the first stop in the process of choosing the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ nominees for president.

Remember, our imperfections don’t define us

Every one of us probably has a moment of dread from our grade school days squirreled away in the dusty recesses of our memories. Or many such moments.

For me, it was in elementary school when it was my turn to sing a solo in music class. I would have given anything to be spared from having the spotlight on me that day.

In the grand scheme of things, however, my agony quickly passed. But not every student’s moment of dread is as fleeting as mine.


Subscribe to RSS - blogs
Go to top