Why we're supporting Sheila Knoploh-Odole

Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts endorsing progressive candidates in local elections. Kathy Byrnes and Ed Fallon are climate activists with Bold Iowa in Des Moines. -promoted by Laura Belin

Even with the relentless focus on the presidential campaign, it’s important that we now turn our attention to local elections. There’s one race in particular that we want to weigh in on: the at-large seat for the Des Moines City Council.

A whole lot of fine candidates have thrown their hats into the ring. But one candidate stands out: Sheila Knoploh-Odole. (Yes, Sheila’s last name is a mouthful — try saying it “ka-NO-plo oh-DOH-lay. Come on. If we can learn how to pronounce “Buttigieg,” we’ve got this. And for reference, you’ll see Sheila’s nickname — SKO, or Sheila KO — on yard signs and literature across Des Moines.)

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In defense of survival

Ed Fallon: We need an all-out assault against climate chaos. We need bold action, not timid half-measures. We need a cascade of people rising. -promoted by Laura Belin

Earlier this month, while testifying about climate change before the British Parliament, renowned naturalist David Attenborough said, “We cannot be radical enough in dealing with the issues that face us at the moment.”

Indeed, as people wake up to the utter urgency of our situation, it’s easy to understand how desperation might set in. I witnessed that five years ago on the Great March for Climate Action, when marchers proposed actions that, to me, seemed crazy:

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An error of judgment

Apologizing for this poorly-conceived protest was the right decision. Many people who attended events in Ankeny and Cedar Rapids were upset by the symbolism. -promoted by Laura Belin

This past weekend, Bold Iowa held an action intended to dramatize the severity of the climate crisis. Our inspiration came from students in Germany, who stood on melting blocks of ice in a gallows with nooses around their necks.

Our message — As the Arctic melts, the climate noose tightens — was well received by many. Yet we inadvertently hurt some individuals whom we had hoped to inspire, either because the image of the noose raised the specter of lynchings or because it kindled sadness over a loved one who died of suicide by hanging.

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A candid assessment of seven presidential candidates

Ed Fallon is a former Democratic state lawmaker and “agitator in chief” at Bold Iowa. He backed Bernie Sanders shortly before the 2016 Iowa caucuses but has not endorsed a 2020 presidential candidate. -promoted by Laura Belin

Remember how the Republican field shifted in the 2012 and 2016 Iowa caucuses? The lead changed so many times that emergency rooms across Iowa saw a drastic increase in whiplash cases.

Ok, I made that last part up. But seriously, remember one-time 2012 front runner Herman Cain? I didn’t think so. How about 2016 flash-in-the-pack leader Ben Carson? Or shoe-in-for-the-nomination Scott Walker? And oh, how I miss Michele Bachmann.

The horde of Democrats running for president this year may or may not experience the same level of volatility, but we’ve already witnessed some surprises. A year ago, how many of us had even heard of …

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