Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 05, 2010 7:30 AM

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Solving the big problems

As a Democrat, I found Dustin Krutsinger’s April 1 guest opinion (“Republican Party — fear over facts”) heartening.

I was encouraged not by its lucidity and lack of hyperbolic rhetoric, but because it was realistic and restored my faith that we can reach consensus on foundational issues. I found similarities between his thoughts and mine, though we may disagree about implementation and the specifics of important proposals. Reaching points of agreement is the only way that we can move forward with making this state and nation better places to live. I have faith that we can agree on things. I also have faith that the protesters and proponents we see on television and hear on the radio do not have the best ideas; they are only the loudest and most obnoxious. Reasonable people are everywhere, even if they are quiet.

Faith alone will not work, however. We must demand reality from officials. Mr. President, the health-care reform law is no panacea and should not be sold as such. Mr. Boehner, characterizing the law as Armageddon is irresponsible and unacceptable. Unrealistic exaggerations do not move us forward. They keep us locked in the same partisan clashes and silence good, reasonable ideas.

These are turbulent times for our state and nation. We have problems that all Democrats, all Republicans, and all independents agree need to be solved. The most efficient and effective solutions will come from widespread involvement in the governing process. I ask that all of us have a little faith in one another. I also ask that the men and women who represent us in government behave more sensibly. By doing this, real solutions will not be muted by fringe elements shouting hyperbole.

Brandon Underwood
UI senior

Stop the killing

Reclusive villages deep in the Congolese jungle are likely not on the forefront of any of our minds.

Their remote existence was demonstrated recently after an underreported finding was released of a murderous, yet routine, rampage taking the lives of more than 300 villagers. Genocide is sadly failing to make news headlines.

The Lord’s Resistance Army is a Christian terrorist organization thriving in the African bush and is responsible for this massacre and thousands of other deaths for more than 25 years. Led by Joseph Kony, a man claiming a divine connection with the God, their mission is to overthrow Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and install a Christian theocracy.

The group’s recruitment tactics represent the epitome of despicableness. Children are abducted at night and given a simple choice: kill or be killed. Boys are often initiated by murdering their own parents with machetes in an effort to repress desires to escape the group and rejoin their family.

Girls become sex slaves. Biblical indoctrination ensues. Repulsive scriptural verses are used by Kony as justification for his actions.

A weak, clandestine, U.S. military-backed insurgency to overtake the Lord’s Resistance Army one year ago fell short, and Kony remains elusive, and he has since grown stronger. The United Nations, whose role is to oversee global peacekeeping, has provided little support in dismantling the terrorists. The priorities of the United Nations have become clouded recently after a $1 billion office renovation in Geneva was laced with embarrassingly expensive artwork.

Currently, a bill is muddling through the U.S. Congress that calls for public efforts to end Kony’s reign of terror through collaboration with Ugandan forces and bilateral talks. The nonprofit organization Invisible Children is leading the effort to pass this bill. Let’s support its passage in hopes that greater international awareness of these atrocities will help to stop this genocide.

Ryan Teahen
UI dentistry student

21-ordinance won’t solve alcohol problems

As an international student in the University of Iowa Graduate College, it strikes me as odd that young men and women between the ages of 18 and 21 are deemed irresponsible when it comes to drinking alcohol, while these same individuals can join themilitary and obtain a gun.

Now, it is true that alcoholism is a growing concern at Iowa. But having more police, a 21-ordinance, and stricter control over alcohol pricing, in my opinion, is not going to change the deeper social concern. The question that people need to ask themselves is, “Why is a fairly large section of the population, younger or older than 21, binge drinking or drinking to a point where they feel sick?”

It is as though an entire section of the population is trying to commit suicide through slow poisoning.

Is Iowa really that depressing? Won’t people find another poison if you take away alcohol from them? The issue of greater availability of drugs is yet to surface. And in my opinion, as the control over alcohol tightens too rapidly, the economic forces are bound to make other euphoria-inducing substances more popular.

The problem needs to be tackled at a deeper level. If there is a concern about safety around bars during late-night hours, then a greater push toward services such as Nite Ride needs to be made. If there is a concern about youngsters spending too much time at bars drinking, then a greater push toward arts and music must be made with more festivals such as the Jazz Fest, which brings families and friends together while at the same time providing jobs and economic incentives to young people.

I truly believe that Iowa City is a culturally astute city that is entirely different from the rest of Iowa the same way San Antonio is entirely different from the rest of Texas. And this cultural exuberance that Iowa City hosts would not be enhanced nor protected by the 21-ordinance.

Sameer Khan
UI graduate student

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