Living in Society

No Summer Vacation in Politics

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn at the state convention, June 18, 2022.

My dance card is rapidly filling and there is no relenting until the end of the year. With the primary elections in the rear view mirror, it’s hammer down until the Nov. 8 election.

I attended what I hope is my last state Democratic convention in Des Moines on Saturday. I participated in the Senior and Retiree Constituency Caucus where we briefly heard from Admiral Mike Franken. The agenda for the caucus was unclear since officers had previously been elected and there was no new business. Some attendees complained about the types of benefits currently received from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other retirement programs. They wanted more benefits, which is understandable. What Democrats need to do in the midterm election is elect majorities in the U.S. Senate and House so we can at least retain what we have. If Republicans win majorities, they have stated publicly they intend to sunset Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid every five years unless the Congress extends them. While Biden will veto such legislation, I’m not sure voters understand this is at stake.

Parade season, a mainstay of political campaigns, is upon us. At the convention I overheard someone who lives in a rural area say, “People are hesitant to walk in parades because they don’t want to get yelled at for being a Democrat.” There has always been some support and hate from crowds at parades. Part of being a Democrat is standing up to both the good and bad by walking in community parades along with any member of the community that wants to join. While voter concerns about harassment in heavily Republican areas are understandable, it doesn’t have to be that way. Republicans could choose decency and respect for people with whom they don’t agree. We Democrats can’t give up before we get started.

The political speeches at the convention were fine. The messaging was consistent: set aside our differences and focus on winning in November. Much is at stake. Continued Republican rule could be disastrous for everything we have come to rely upon in our government. It has already been a disaster.

I’m having to decline invitations to political events because there are so many of them. I don’t know what we can win this cycle, yet we are about to find out. Tally ho!