Kurt Meyer

Freight writing

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

I don’t know when I first encountered the word “graffiti.” It probably happened in high school. I vaguely recall a late-night adventure that included spray painting “class of ‘72” on a few country bridges… and maybe on the rear window of a school bus. Upon reflection, I think our gang of (mostly) benign rascals was simply ahead of our time. Graffiti was not a major public nuisance at the time.

Then, too, maybe our semi-legible scribbling was an early example of graffiti art, arguably the only visual art form with its origin in the U.S. Since graffiti art is too broad a subject to tackle here, I will concentrate more narrowly on freight graffiti, defined as expressive painting on train boxcars.

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The Baltimore checkerspot and the turtlehead

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

It’s human nature to regard your home community as special, distinctive, or unique in one way or another. I’ve always seen my rural community in this light, although some claims to fame are rather small.

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U.S. schools teach too little Native American history

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

By the time you read this, Native American Heritage Month will be almost over. I admit I missed most of it again this year, too. I wouldn’t have known except for seeing a banner on the Washington Post website, calling special attention to Native American articles during November.

Why is there so little education in the U.S. about Native Americans? Possible causes include ignorance, oversight, pedagogy obstacles, and fear. Undoubtedly, it’s a blend.

News under the Native American heading often relates to changing offensive school mascots and team names, decisions usually prompting considerable controversy. Still, the name changes are a significant step in the right direction. Meanwhile, politicization of this issue underscores the need for education while simultaneously foreshadowing challenges facing advocates of a more inclusive curriculum.

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Reaffirming my faith in politics

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

Some people live in town and have a second home on a lake or in the country. For almost two decades, we’ve reversed these items. Our primary residence is in rural North Iowa – in the country – with a turnkey town home in the greater Minneapolis area. There, for the last ten weeks, we’ve provided “supporter housing” for a political campaign worker in the Twin Cities.

Accommodating this short-term boarder was not demanding duty. We’re often not there, more true recently as delayed travel plans were rescheduled for earlier this fall. Furthermore, providing temporary housing is consistent with a vague “transition strategy” as we seek different ways to support causes we believe in.

Let me explain how this relates to politics.

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Dené Lundberg for Iowa House district 58

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

Hang in there, it won’t last much longer. This election cycle is winding down, although a new season will begin even before we fully understand what took place this go-‘round. With politics top of mind, I drove to Charles City last week to meet with someone about whom I’d heard positive reports.

This someone is Dené Lundberg, her first name rhyming with “Renee.” Dené seeks to represent House District 58 in the Iowa legislature.

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Monarchs merit royal care

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

Who doesn’t love butterflies, especially monarch butterflies?

Let me share several verbal bouquets I encountered in reading articles about monarchs. “Showy looks.” “Extraordinary migration.” “One of the natural world’s wonders,” and, “one of the continent’s most beloved insects.” Unfortunately, I also came across some very troubling terms, like “endangered,” “vulnerable populations,” “declining precipitously” and “teeter(ing) on the edge of collapse.” Suffice to say, it all captured my attention.

Monarchs have been in the news a great deal lately. Appropriately so.

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