Bruce Lear

When pretending isn't fun

Bruce Lear explores the layers of pretense that have hampered our national, statewide, and local efforts to combat COVID-19. -promoted by Laura Belin

We love to pretend. We dress up at Halloween. We pretend there’s a Santa Claus, an Easter Bunny, and when one of our kids loses a tooth, we pretend to be the tooth fairy. It’s all in good fun, and it’s all for the pure joy of doing it.

But pretending isn’t always fun.

When American politicians at all levels exchanged pretending and pandering in a pandemic for leading, it’s deadly. Although hind sight is always 20/20, here are some examples of where our leaders surrendered to pretending.

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Musical chairs and other bad ideas during a pandemic

Bruce Lear: The drive to throw the schoolhouse door open, even in coronavirus “hot zones,” has spawned some terrible ideas. -promoted by Laura Belin

In sports we call them unforced errors. In normal life we call them missteps. But in a pandemic, we call them deadly and foolish.

Unfortunately, the drive to throw the schoolhouse door open for business five days a week, eight hours a day, even in coronavirus “hot zones,” has spawned some terrible ideas in the name of trying to pretend, “I’m OK, You’re OK.”

Iowa is not OK.

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It’s time for the education and medical communities to unite

Bruce Lear proposes several ways Iowa’s doctors and teachers could cooperate to advocate for safe conditions in schools. -promoted by Laura Belin

It’s been a summer ride. First, there was a tingle of unease. Then there were questions, and more questions, left unanswered. Later, the Iowa Department of Education issued a vague, incomplete statement. Finally, the governor issued a proclamation filled with hype instead of hope. It was the summer of angst for parents and for educators.

Now, it’s time to stop defining the problem and start trying to solve it.

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An open letter to Governor Kim Reynolds

Bruce Lear responds to Governor Kim Reynolds’ recent open letter to Iowans, enclosed in full at the end of this post. -promoted by Laura Belin

Dear Governor Reynolds,

Thank you for your letter to all Iowans. I thought I’d take a minute to respond, certainly not for all Iowans, but for one very concerned citizen.

The theme of your letter seems to be that we are all in this together. We are. But there are different levels of “together.” It’s a lot like the old story of the chicken and the pig asked to contribute to breakfast. The chicken drops off her contribution and leaves, and the pig sacrifices everything.

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Taking advantage of a disaster

Bruce Lear: Some Republicans are using difficult decisions about reopening schools during a pandemic to justify redirecting public funds toward education vouchers. -promoted by Laura Belin

One of the inevitable consequences of any disaster are scam artists who prey on the vulnerable. This pandemic is no exception.  There have been scams from surefire cures for COVID-19 peddled by medical hucksters to clever crooks plotting to steal stimulus checks.

Now comes yet another scam, only this time victim is public education, and the scam artists aren’t shadowy figures no one knows. Instead, these are federal and state Republican office holders, trying to use a pandemic as cover for ripping off public money to use for private schools for vouchers.

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