Living in Society

A New Iowa

Trees after a snowstorm.

While my spouse was being fitted for eyeglasses, I tried on a few pair of frames. I am not used to looking at myself in the mirror, yet my reflection was okay: hair reasonably combed, I didn’t look dumb. I don’t pay much attention to looks, so seeing myself was a bit of a shock. I appeared younger in the mirror than my age.

I delayed new glasses. If there is a prescription update at my April screening, I want the latest lenses. I keep eye wear for years after they are new.

Our Iowa life does not include vision insurance because it is a loser. Between advertised sales and self-imposed delays in updating our glasses, it is cheaper to pay cash for optometry service. The technician covered every common type of available discounts and insurance during the conversation with my spouse. By then, I had moved on, sitting on a bench in the mall reading my mobile device while the transaction concluded.

My news and social media feeds told a story of Iowa undergoing historic change in our governance. Republicans are just getting started. It will be a new Iowa when they are done.

The transition began with spurning the black president and Democratic governance in 2010. Obama won Iowa in 2008, but Democrats lost the governorship two years later as Terry Branstad returned to office with Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. It intensified when Republicans gained control of the Iowa governorship, House and Senate in 2017.

The evangelical movement in Iowa politics is partly responsible for Republican dominance. Evangelicals are less about religion and more about authoritarian behavior. I mean, I met Bob Vander Plaats when he ran for governor and he is no more religious than a broken garden spade.

What is the political evangelical movement about? Getting back to a mythical past, one that never was real, and tearing down anything that conflicts, for example, education, tax structures, licensing requirements, rules about hunting, LGBTQ+ rights, and so on. The only thing sacrosanct is allegiance to corn, soy, and livestock farming. True believers genuflect at the altar of corn ethanol.

Before the 2010 three judges campaign, the one where evangelicals rallied to ouster three Iowa Supreme Court justices because they were part of a unanimous decision that an Iowa law restricting marriage to one man and one woman violated the state’s constitution, Iowans may have given evangelicals a pass. They are religious, how bad can they be? As the Iowa legislature prepares to enable young children to work in slaughter houses and other dangerous jobs, and parents assert ownership of children as property, we should now know.

The mall was deserted when I sat down. There weren’t enough shoppers to keep the lights on. It was during the middle of the day when seniors tend to business, but still. If I owned that mall, I’d be worried.

If the mall closes and the eye wear retailer moves, we’ll go there. Even though my prescription needs an update, I can still see clearly enough to know that Iowa will never be the same once Republicans are done with it.

It will be a new Iowa, one I hope all of us can tolerate.

2 replies on “A New Iowa”

I couldn’t agree more! The worst part of all this is how difficult it will be to bring it all back and the damage that will be done in the mean time and I do mean “MEAN TIME”. The crap they propose is simply a way to divert much of the media over this stuff, while the real hatchet job is being carried out right under everybody’s nose. The rule changes that simply strip all the teeth from the laws that remain. The under funding and simply defunding that will happen by consolidation of departments and stripping staff down to unprecidented levels insuring they will be non-functioning and then using that as an excuse to eliminate it all together.

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