Stop using professed respect for Jews as cover for racism and Islamophobia

Prominent Iowa Republican Jamie Johnson resigned yesterday as leader of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, after CNN exposed a pattern of racist statements and “inflammatory remarks about Islam” between 2008 and 2016.

Johnson told CNN his past comments “do not represent my views personally or professionally”; “Having witnessed leaders from the entire faith spectrum work to empower their communities I now see things much differently.”

Whatever Johnson believes today, his generalizations about lazy, promiscuous, drug-using African Americans and Muslims who “want to cut our heads off” didn’t attract any special notice, let alone condemnation, in Iowa GOP circles. Republican activists elected the reverend to serve multiple terms on the party’s State Central Committee. Presidential candidates also sought Johnson’s support. He worked for Rick Santorum before the 2012 caucuses and for Rick Perry and Donald Trump at various times during the 2016 election cycle.

As a Jew, I want to express my utmost contempt for how Johnson praised American Jewish culture as a rhetorical device while denigrating other minority groups.

Continue Reading...

The line against hate is drawn in Oakland, Iowa

Thanks to Glenn Hurst for sharing this inspiring story of local activism. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Not long after Charlottesville, the Nazi menace attempted to slither into peaceful rural Iowa; Oakland, Iowa to be precise. As I laid fingers to keyboard, another ugly head attempted to sprout in northwest Iowa’s heavily Republican Sioux County. We took the same tactics spelled out here and successfully reproduced the protest in this Republican stronghold.

I had just emceed the vigil for Charlottesville held in Omaha a few weeks prior to the Oakland event. I was also providing the media coordination for the upcoming DACA event (scheduled for the following week) when murmurs about an anti-Islamic group snaking into Pottawattamie County started to get louder. Rallying against hate was becoming all too common.

Continue Reading...

Trump's license to discriminate

Thanks to Iowa Safe Schools for working to protect all students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Tomorrow, President Donald Trump is reportedly poised to sign an executive order establishing a sweeping religious exemption that would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) people including youth. This license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, Muslims, people of color, and other marginalized groups is repulsive, regressive, and remedial.

This executive order does not increase freedom of religion which is already protected by our Constitution. It undermines crucial safeguards against discrimination that creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to survive and succeed. If consistent with past draft orders, Trump’s Executive Order could allow school counselors to deny LGBTQ youth life-saving services, school principals to forbid interracial couples at prom, and LGBTQ educators could lose their jobs simply because of who they love.

This is America. No one should ever fear being “outed” for who they are or who they love. Youth should not fear going to school and facing discrimination from those who should be helping them. This Executive Order goes against the basic values of American society which is equal protection under the law.

Continue Reading...

How liberal is the American Heartland? It depends...

Kent R. Kroeger is a writer and statistical consultant who has measured and analyzed public opinion for public and private sector clients for more than 30 years. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The American Heartland is not as conservative as some Republicans want you to believe, nor is it as liberal as some Democrats would prefer.

Like the nation writ large, the American Heartland is dominated by centrists who make up nearly half of the vote-eligible population.

That conclusion is based on my analysis of the recently released 2016-17 American National Election Study (ANES), which is a nationally-representative election study fielded every two years by Stanford University and The University of Michigan and is available here.

Across a wide-array of issues, most Heartland vote-eligible adults do not consistently agree with liberals or conservatives. They are, as their group’s label suggests, smack dab in the middle of the electorate.

However, on the issues most important to national voters in 2016 — the economy, jobs, national security, and immigration — there is a conservative skew in the opinions of the Heartland. The Iowa Democratic Party, as well as the national party, must recognize this reality as they try to translate the energy of the “resistance” into favorable and durable election outcomes in 2018.

Continue Reading...

Mike Pence, misogyny and dinner "distractions"

Taylor Soule is a blogger, editor and nonprofit communicator. You can follow her on Twitter @TaylorOSoule. -promoted by desmoinesdem

After reading The Washington Post’s profile of Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, I struggled to focus my reaction to his refusal to eat alone with women outside his marriage. Sure, it astounded me that a man could be successful — Vice President of the United States — despite excluding women in such a profound, sweeping way. But at its core, I found myself remembering a dizzying swirl of moments and microaggressions, each rooted in the notion that women are inherently distractions — not people, let alone professionals.

Continue Reading...

The Children of Immigrants

Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese’s latest reflection resonated with me, since all four of my grandparents were born outside the U.S. -promoted by desmoinesdem

My grandmother Marie was an immigrant. She arrived at Ellis Island with her mother Dorthea and siblings on August 21st, 1906, aboard the SS Bremen. Then, as now, many Americans decried the influx of foreigners on our shores even while they celebrated the liberties embodied by the Statue of Liberty, who lifted her lamp beside the Golden Door for my grandmother and countless others, and who herself was a gift from a foreign land.

Continue Reading...
View More...