Letters to the Editor


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Honoring activism

The loss of two heroes hit hard last week. Several hundred people gathered in Iowa City on Jan. 30 to commemorate the life of our local hero, Peggy Stokes, who died on Jan. 9. The Jan. 27 death of Howard Zinn, our national and international hero, shocked and saddened hundreds of thousands.

Peggy and Howard didn’t know each other, but they were a lot alike. First, they both would say there is too much living and work to do to spend much energy mourning. Peggy took loving care of her own family and spent 23 years at the UI Pediatric Center for Disabilities and Development helping innumerable families and children. For the last five years, she has led a peace vigil every Friday afternoon at the southeast corner of the Pentacrest.

Howard, a B-17 bombardier in World War II, was beaten and arrested in the ’60s and ’70s protesting for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. He wrote A People’s History of the United States and never stopped applauding the heroism of everyday citizens (Peggy was one of those “everyday citizens”). They were both rather audacious and not easily embarrassed, because they acted not for self-glorification but out of a deep affection for others and an unshakable commitment to peace.

They did everything possible to inspire us, and it is now up to us to take up their sweet burden.

Ed Flaherty
Iowa City resident

Universal health-care system essential

I am still deeply troubled that President Obama and his administration throughout the last year have not done a very good job explaining to Americans in a persistent and convincing way the advantages of a good, sensible universal health-care system — including a public option. I think that most Americans would appreciate watching the PBS “Frontline” segment “Sick Around the World,”, in which T.R. Reid clearly and objectively shows how other developed countries have created good universal health-care systems that work fairly well, provide cost-effective preventative health care for everyone, and yet the overall cost is much less per person — about half as much per person as the current U.S. health-care system.

Why is this understanding of all the benefits of a good, comprehensive universal health-care system not being given to all Americans and their legislators? There is widespread confusion, misunderstanding, and fear of health-care reform and universal health care.

Many call it “socialism” and claim that the government will take health-care decisions away from their doctors (that is, if they have health-care insurance that does not deny coverage for their particular health-care problem). There is no reason why the United States cannot create its own universal health-care system that is well designed and well run.

John Macatee
Iowa City resident

The truth about Israel

James Eaves-Johnson routinely slanders any human-rights or peace activist who criticizes the Israeli government’s oppression of the Palestinians, whose land that government has illegally occupied for more than 40 years. So David Goodner should consider the attacks a badge of honor (“Goodner’s report biased, misrepresenting,” Jan. 29).

For anyone interested in hearing firsthand of what Goodner actually saw and wrote about on his recent visit to Palestine, he will speak at the Iowa City Public Library at 7 p.m. Feb. 8.

Julia Daugherty
Iowa City resident

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