Hoping for Garden Time

My next shift at the home, farm and auto supply store is May 16. That schedule provides a solid block of time at home to work in the yard and garden.

If it rains, I’ll work inside. There is no shortage of work, although I’m not concerned with that now.

The 87th Iowa General Assembly has been a pisser.

When Republicans won control of the Iowa Senate during the 2016 general election everything changed. It wasn’t small changes. They had a vision of Iowa and executed their legislative agenda in support of it. They took a broadsword to almost everything that matters. They reduced taxes beyond belief and hobbled the state’s ability to generate sufficient revenue to balance the budget. Then, because of the revenue shortfall, they drastically cut services. In Iowa that means cutting education, health and human services, public safety, and governmental compliance. Tomorrow the legislature is expected to pass more tax cuts and a budget that as of this writing isn’t finalized.

The state sought to get more involved in people’s lives under Republican governance, seeking to control how counties manage the minimum wage, how residents protest, how communities work with the federal government, and managing reproductive rights under established law.

Almost none of this legislation during the last two sessions was bipartisan.

The legislative changes impact everyone, including our family. We are not better off for it now and the prospects for the future are dim. The Republican vision for Iowa is not widely shared, especially among the 30 percent of Iowa voters who register as Democrats.

That doesn’t mean we have given up, we haven’t. Participation in the four Iowa Democratic district conventions was the highest anyone can remember during a midterm election cycle. A number of groups rose in resistance to Republican governance immediately after the election. The Iowa Democratic Party fielded the largest number of house candidates this year in most people’s memory.

However, the obstacles to convincing Iowans that Republican governance leaves much to be desired are daunting. 800,983 Iowa voters, or 51 percent of the electorate, chose Donald Trump as president. The votes are there to flip the state Democratic if we can find them. When everyone is running for cover by registering no preference or retreating into small family networks, that is no small task.

Proverbs 16:29 informs us here, “A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.” Republicans may have been successful in accomplishing much of their agenda in the 87th Iowa General Assembly. We don’t plan to let them get away with it for long.

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