Our nation recently watched in horror as flight staff at a publicly traded airline, having failed to motivate volunteers with sufficient compensation, enlisted Chicago Aviation Police to forcibly remove one of the randomly selected passengers so they could seat their own employees instead.
In the opening chapter of the book I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice, author Joe Starita vividly describes the heroic, harrowing story of Standing Bear and the forced relocation of his Ponca Tribe from their Nebraska homeland to “Indian Territory” (present-day Oklahoma).
An important religious figure in Syria once asked to see me and other members of an American delegation. I assumed we were in for a strident lecture about America’s role in the Syrian conflict. It was quite the opposite. He humbly asked us to understand the circumstances of the vulnerable persons he represented. He pleaded with us to be aware of the complexities and dangers they live with.
I once met a young man who had escaped from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly known as North Korea. He shared his harrowing tale of fleeing, capture, jail, and, ultimately, freedom. He is grateful for his new life and shares the enthusiasm of liberation. To this day, for reasons of safety, he has to keep his identity and whereabouts quiet.
Upon a visit to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, I noticed among its many noteworthy qualities that the bucolic campus reflected a harmony, orderliness, and dignity, a call to something higher. Creating a sense of place as a message for the ages used to be the tradition in American public architecture.
As I got on the plane to return home to Nebraska yesterday, I had to maneuver with baggage in one hand and dinner in the other to get to my seat. After I was settled, the nice lady next to me politely said, "There must be an easier way." I replied, "Yes, I agree." I don't think she was referring to my seating struggle.
A medical doctor once asked me in a public forum if healthcare is a right. I paused, having not fully considered the question, and I've thought about this for a long time since. Fast-forward to last Monday’s town hall in Lincoln where I asked those gathered the same question. Is health care a right? Most in attendance boisterously said yes.
I once drank some Russian vodka. It was not ordinary vodka; it was special vodka laced with pepper. I rarely drink vodka. However, given my circumstances and in deference to my host, I decided to take it. It was very nasty.
For 150 years, Nebraska has held a special place in the history of America. Nebraskans take justifiable pride in the values of hard work, community life, and the proper stewardship of our precious resources. The mystique of the Great Plains, the nobility of the family farm, and the vibrancy of our people create the conditions for “The Good Life.” Our story is one of strength and dignity.