Discover more from Julie Gammack's Iowa Potluck
...I am enraged. Aren't you?
Tap, tap, tap. Is this mic hot? Hello? Hello? Testing, one, two, three.
Is anyone else livid about what is going on in Iowa?
If not, talk to an Iowa classroom teacher.
If not, talk to a nurse.
If not, talk to a psychiatrist dealing with an overflow of mentally ill patients without enough staff or resources.
If not, speak to an employer who can no longer attract top talent to their Iowa corporate offices because the state’s reputation has plummeted.
I have had these conversations with the folks mentioned above. The depth of despair is immeasurable.
Do you know what the biggest problem of all is here in Iowa? Collectively, we are living in a mood of resignation. And, we need to snap out of it.
A man in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, taught me about moods and how they impact our emotions. His name is Chuck Smith, and he deserves an in-depth feature piece one of these days, but for this column, I am homing in on what he taught through his company Education for Living Seminars about moods.
When we find ourselves in a mood of resignation, we live in a place of no hope.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is we can shift our mood.
This toxicity isn’t just about party affiliation. My friends in the Iowa GOP have to stop pandering to the book-banners, polluters, and racists. Just stop it. Please don’t contribute to the party until they get rid of this internal rot. And don’t get me started on the whole right-to-life thing when Iowans are dying right and left because of some inexplicable disinformation campaign about Covid 19. Do not reward your state party’s leader for sending Iowa State Troopers to ‘the border,’ which is code for keeping brown people out of the country. How much did that photo op cost? This ridiculous sleight-of-hand distraction took place so we would overlook the rising, unreported cases of a deadly virus.
How many lives have we lost to Covid that didn’t have to happen?
Call out racism, please, oh ‘party of Lincoln.’ (SEE Richard’s column Tone at the Top, Stupid).
Community leader, Suku Radia, says he feels the sting of anti-immigration today in ways he had not felt before when he was CEO of Bankers Trust. Here’s a man who could have relaxed in retirement and not co-chaired the capital campaign for Mercy’s new Richard Deming Cancer Center or played a leadership role in raising $34mm for the Water Trails project in Des Moines. But Suku Radia did just that. Even so, today, he feels an undercurrent of anti-immigration sentiment from Trump supporters in Des Moines. Here’s a man whose family was evicted from Uganda by Idi Amin and who adopted the state and Des Moines thanks to his Iowa wife, Mary.
Radia rose to one of the most prominent positions in the banking industry while balancing his corporate responsibilities with a deep commitment to the community. Today, he feels this subtle shunning. It is wrong on so many levels it is disgusting.
So, my dear, so-called Bob Ray Republican friends who believe they need to ‘work from within the party,’ don’t just sit there when hate-talk comes up. Deal with it head-on. Bob Ray sure did. (Richard’s column on Christian Values)
Now, for my side of the aisle.
Iowa Democrats, you have a smart young woman, Abby Finkenauer, who served in the Iowa legislature with distinction. She ran and won a congressional seat, and then she lost it. Now, there are plenty of reasons for her defeat that need to be considered. Democrats in the state can win when they knock on doors, but during the last cycle, amid a global pandemic, party leaders opted not to risk the health of their volunteers, so they didn’t knock on doors. And they paid the price up and down the ballot, including Finkenauers loss of her congressional seat. Nevertheless, Finkenauer persists. She is now running for the U.S. Senate in a primary against Admiral Mike Franken.
Iowa Democrats are so fortunate that a guy like Franken, whose resume to serve in the United States Senate is beyond stellar. This northwest Iowa native has stepped up to run. He understands foreign policy and the military-industrial complex in ways anti-war liberals can barely imagine. He’s the real deal. Give him any litmus test; he passes with flying colors. Oh, yeah, and he appeals to Independents. Got it? He can win. He’s fought for democracy abroad, and now he feels he has to fight for it in the United States.
So, why are Abby Finkenauer and Mike Franken running against each other? Is there any way to persuade Finkenauer to run for governor? She has experience in state government, and the Senate needs Franken’s expertise.
Diedre DeJear is pretty much out of cash, according to the latest campaign disclosure report (See Bleeding Heartland). Maybe it is racist that Iowa Democratic donors haven’t stepped up to support her. My own experience is that I reached out to her several times before she announced she was running for governor. I saw her as a bright light, and I was going to invite her to a woman’s potluck. I made several attempts to reach her, but no reply. If she’d checked my ActBlue history, maybe she would have called back.
Iowa, we missed a massive opportunity by not electing Fred Hubbell governor. I’ve known him since preschool. We could have had Charlotte, too. And Coco, the rescue pup. Fred would have brought his executive and managerial skills to state government, and he would have brought heart. Fred and Charlotte’s often quiet support of causes includes nonprofits that serve the economically disadvantaged, environmental issues, and the arts. Most Iowans don’t know how much Fred and Charlotte Hubbell have enriched our community. They aren’t showy. They are competent. Successful. Caring. Smart. Engaged. Iowans. And that’s why Fred ran. He almost won, could have won, and should have won!
Now, about this ‘mood of resignation,’ where we find ourselves.
How do we shift?
First, recognize your mood. Then, here’s a little history lesson to illustrate what can happen when we take action and not live in resignation.
Once upon a time, a professor from Cedar Rapids ran for the United States Senate in Iowa against a two-term Republican who had previously enjoyed a long career in the U.S. House. The professor didn’t have money, of course. No one thought he could win. So, he walked across the state of Iowa on what he called a ‘listening tour.’ That professor was Dick Clark, who unseated Jack Miller in 1972.
Twenty-four hours is a long time in politics, the saying goes.
Will you please forward this column to Rob Sand, Pam Jochum, David Miles, or anyone else who you think would make a great governor of Iowa?
I am publishing this column in January of 2022. The filing deadline to run in the Democratic primary is March 18. There is still time, but not much.
If no one else steps forward, then Diedre has my complete support.
Having watched tears from an exhausted educator trying to teach in a pandemic, only to be called ‘sinister’ by a member of the Iowa legislature, I am livid.
Having a loved one needing psychiatric care within a crumbling, dysfunctional, underfunded system, I am raw with rage by a state legislator saying disability requirements need to be tightened further. Has he seen the hoops our disabled have to jump through?
For those who send links to articles about politics, but do nothing else, spare me. Instead, find a candidate to support who can do something about it by giving your money or time. Write letters to the editor. Urge folks you admire to run for office. Or run for something yourself. RUNFORSOMETHING
Let’s be proud of Iowa again.
Julie Gammack produces the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat. Learn more: OWRII.