# Democracy

Surprising myself, I favor keeping the Iowa caucuses

Marcia Rogers divides her time between Cedar Rapids and Hyde Park in Chicago. A version of this column was first published in the Carroll Times Herald.

This wasn’t the planned first article of a three-part series I was intending to write. 

After all, what would a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize journalist from the Philippines, or a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and The Atlantic contributor on Ukraine and Russia, along with a former U.S. president — or finally my supremely qualified seatmate — say that would completely upend my opinion going into today about something so very Iowan as the caucuses.

Why would anything these four shared in their remarks during Day 1 of “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy” conference at the University of Chicago turn my world of thought on this topic upside down?

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Republicans curtailing press freedom

Steve Corbin is emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and freelance writer who receives no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, nonprofit organization, political action committee, or political party.

Most citizens don’t know that Republican leaders in Iowa, Utah, Kansas, and Florida are limiting journalists’ access to open-to-the-public legislature and gubernatorial sessions. Their actions raise the question: “What issues and policies are GOP elected officials trying to hide?”

Furthermore, what is there about the First Amendment to the Constitution – specifically freedom of the press – Republicans don’t understand? Maybe GOP’ers are demonstrating their anti-democracy intentions, giving favor to control the media as witnessed by fascists countries such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Venezuela.

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Needed at Purim: another act of courage

Ira Lacher: Jews have not, can not, and must not support people whose mission is to undermine everything that has made the United States of America a haven for Jews.

The following is a copy of an email I sent to someone I know at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). This organization, which calls itself a “bipartisan American organization that advocates for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” recently has become anything but.

“AIPAC slammed for endorsing Republicans who refused to certify Biden’s election,” reported The Times of Israel.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency headlined: “AIPAC’s PAC endorses dozens of Republicans who refused to certify Joe Biden as president.”

And the fiercely pro-Israel Jerusalem Post, owned by the right-wing Murdoch clan that owns Fox News, noted: “AIPAC’s PAC endorses dozens of Republicans who refused to certify Joe Biden as president.” The article, which reported that the group endorsed 59 Democrats and 61 Republicans, included “Jim Jordan of Ohio, was prominent in the events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection.”

I know a young man who has a prominent position in AIPAC. I was honored to be present at his bar mitzvah, I remain good friends with his family, and, as such, I had to write him personally about this. What follows is the text of my email to him. I have deleted his name and position because I know that, in this stupid age, people mistakenly believe they have the right to harass someone they disagree with.

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Racism isn't the problem

Sondra Feldstein is a farmer and business owner in Polk County.

It’s easy to call the Republican Party racist and homophobic when all the books they want to ban happen to deal with people of color, members of a minority religion, or LGBTQ issues; when a predominantly Black demonstration is a “riot” and a predominantly white one “legitimate political protest;” when legislation to curb non-existent voter fraud targets voting methods more often used by people of color. 

But white nationalist ideology in its current iteration in the United States is not simply racist. The definition of racism as “belief that another race is inherently inferior” does not begin to explain 21st century white nationalism. It is much more complicated than that.

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"Legitimate political discourse"

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 have a longstanding appreciation for words and their power, probably not surprising coming from someone who scratches out a weekly column. I recall when we were parents of young children, we often urged our kids to “use your words” in an ongoing effort to determine what they were thinking and feeling. Generally, the parental alternative was guessing… and I’m not an especially good guesser.

Starting in high school, and on into college, I was involved in a student-led organization that used words to create resolutions, outlining what we wanted to see happen, beginning with a series of “whereas” statements and culminating in “therefore, be it resolved…” (followed by several sentences stating the desired outcome). It was using our words to reveal our thinking and to outline an organizational direction. Of course, the action/doing part was always a bit more difficult.    

Last week, the governing body of the Republican Party met and passed a “whereas/therefore” resolution. By voice vote, they censured two Republican members of the U.S. House, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who serve on the House select committee investigating January 6 events and related activities. This committee is charged with determining steps that should be taken to prevent future attacks on the Capitol.

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