BronxinIowa

Mercy killing

Ira Lacher‘s open letter to Lucas Grundmeier, opinion editor or The Des Moines Register.

Dear Mr. Grundmeier,

Ordinarily, I would submit this to you as a guest opinion essay. But you’ve announced that the Register, once counted among America’s great newspapers, will no longer consider unsolicited opinion pieces. CORRECTION: The newspaper will continue to consider unsolicited guest columns but will “accept far fewer” of them in the print edition.

So I share my views on this blog, which now exists as apparently the sole outlet for members of the Des Moines community wishing to make their opinions known, civilly and responsibly.

In the print edition dated March 13, 2022, you commented about the addition of a new columnist, saying: “I believe this demonstrates the Register’s continued commitment to providing forums for robust discussion of community topics.” My response, to you and the other top executives of the “media company,” which you now call yourself: No. It doesn’t. More about that later.

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Needed at Purim: another act of courage

Ira Lacher: Jews have not, can not, and must not support people whose mission is to undermine everything that has made the United States of America a haven for Jews.

The following is a copy of an email I sent to someone I know at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). This organization, which calls itself a “bipartisan American organization that advocates for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” recently has become anything but.

“AIPAC slammed for endorsing Republicans who refused to certify Biden’s election,” reported The Times of Israel.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency headlined: “AIPAC’s PAC endorses dozens of Republicans who refused to certify Joe Biden as president.”

And the fiercely pro-Israel Jerusalem Post, owned by the right-wing Murdoch clan that owns Fox News, noted: “AIPAC’s PAC endorses dozens of Republicans who refused to certify Joe Biden as president.” The article, which reported that the group endorsed 59 Democrats and 61 Republicans, included “Jim Jordan of Ohio, was prominent in the events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection.”

I know a young man who has a prominent position in AIPAC. I was honored to be present at his bar mitzvah, I remain good friends with his family, and, as such, I had to write him personally about this. What follows is the text of my email to him. I have deleted his name and position because I know that, in this stupid age, people mistakenly believe they have the right to harass someone they disagree with.

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Whose needs?

Ira Lacher: Westerners in general and Americans in particular seem to have abandoned the notion of sacrifice.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Fans of Star Trek know that trope well — Spock uses it to justify his life-threatening actions in the second Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan, and Captain Kirk agrees.

Much of what I learned in life comes from two sources: baseball and Star Trek. So it would seem I must adopt this all-too-important mantra that helps make the characters the heroes they are.

We seem to be taking this sort of approach to the latest chapter of the pandemic, as infection rates, hospitalizations, and even death rates fall, and state after state and country after country begin to toss aside the necessities of keeping massive numbers from overwhelming our healthcare don’t-call-it-a-system.

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In gratitude

Ira Lacher reacts to the latest news in Iowa’s pandemic response.

On this occasion of Governor Kim Reynolds ending her COVID-19 disaster emergency declarations in Iowa, effective February 15, I thought you’d like to hear from the main beneficiary of her proclamation. Take it away, SARS-Cov-2!

Thank you! I don’t know what to say or tell you how grateful I am for this opportunity!

Iowa and places like it have given me and my humongous extended family such a warm welcome; a welcome that, frankly, we weren’t getting in much of the world. Why, our birthplace even denied our right to exist; then, after admitting that yes, we were really there, tried to keep us penned up, tried to keep us from engaging with our community.

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Joe Biden's game plan for the Supreme Court

Ira Lacher: Nominating Vice President Kamala Harris to the U.S. Supreme Court would accomplish two critical political objectives for President Joe Biden.

The news that Justice Stephen G. Breyer intends to retire at the end of the U.S. Supreme Court’s current term should warm the cockles of those who welcome the appointment of a justice who believes in something other than “might makes right (wing).” Do we dare to use the words “Joe Biden victory” in a headline?

We can. But to succeed, he will have to carefully plan strategy, the way a winning football team must anticipate every defense formation and tactic — along with the offense’s inevitable missed blocks, miscues, and outright fumbles. So, in this season of NFL playoff games, I offer myself as the Biden administration’s offensive coordinator.

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Dare we hope

Ira Lacher: We need to pursue hope, and we must prioritize it over our other base emotions such as doubt, fear, and anger.

On a day when the news is filled with record COVID-19 infections, the anniversary of a revolt against American democracy, societal lawlessness, and myriad other ills of our time, it would be facile to begin 2022 with a screed about how lousy it sucks to be us.

Not going to happen.

Rather, on this occasion, at least, I leave it to others to begin 2022 by submerging their keyboards in despair. To paraphrase a speech from Captain James T. Kirk, “We can admit we’ve been doomsayers, but we’re not going to doomsay today.”

Today, let’s speak of hope. Of optimism. Of ways to take comfort of the undeniable miracle we call existence.

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