An Open Letter to the Good People of Iowa: Are You Crazy?
I used to think you were a pretty straight-ahead place, what with all that flat land and healthy vegetables and honest living. I mean, Iowans rejected slavery 20 years before the Civil War and they approved interracial marriage a century before the Supreme Court. Homosexuality was decriminalized almost 30 years before the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas decision did so nationwide. Today, control of the state’s legislature is split between Democrats and Republicans and, a few characters aside, it is not particularly known for political extremism. Like the corn it produces in such copious amounts, Iowa generally seemed a healthy and sensible place.
That idea of the state ended for me this morning, when I read the proposed platform released on Monday by the Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa.
Are you people totally insane?
The platform, as first pointed out by ThinkProgress, is absolutely thick with ideas from the extreme right, lunatic conspiracy theories, and barely concealed hatred for President Obama and anything that smacks of multiculturalism. It sneers at science, is down on poor people, and despises, really despises, the United Nations.
Here’s a sampling of the deep-thinking goals of the Iowa GOP:
- Require candidates for president to prove that they are “natural born citizens,” beginning with the 2012 election. After all, non-citizens serving as president have been a longstanding problem in American politics.
- Reject the “claims” of global warming, which are “based on fraudulent, inaccurate information” and pushed by people using “extremist scare tactics.” The Iowa GOP “recognizes” that policies and laws designed to combat global warming are really “a plan to take our freedoms and liberties away.”
- Oppose “the diabolical collusion of the United Nations” in promoting its Agenda 21, a non-binding global sustainability plan signed by President George H.W. Bush and the leaders of 177 other nations in 1992. Like the Republican National Committee, the Iowa GOP apparently believes Agenda 21 is part of an effort to impose global political control on the U.S.
- Allow Iowa to “nullify” any federal laws it doesn’t like. Nullification was a failed legal argument made by opponents of the civil rights movement.
- Eliminate the Federal Reserve Act and implement a “sound commodity-backed currency” with a gold or silver standard.
- Fight the North American Union, “which would do away with our borders and sovereignty, and … [battle] the Amero, which would do away with our currency.” Although there actually are no secret plans to merge Mexico, the United States and Canada into a single entity — and replace our dollars with “Ameros” — that hasn’t stopped the conspiracy theorists.
- In the same vein, “oppose so-called ‘World Government.’”
- Entirely eliminate the departments of Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Energy, Interior, Labor and Commerce, along with the Transportation Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- Likewise, abolish the Internal Revenue Service and repeal the 16th Amendment, which legalized the federal income tax.
- Require judges to instruct jurors that in addition to judging cases, they may pass on the law at issue. Commonly known as “jury nullification,” this is a highly controversial notion that is embraced by the radical right.
- Oppose federal anti-bullying legislation because, after all, “students have the right and responsibility to stand up for themselves.”
- Pass a “stand your ground” law, like the one that many believe led to the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. By a large margin, most prosecutors and police oppose such laws, which make prosecuting many killings difficult.
- Allow parents to refuse to have their children immunized.
- Reject the teaching of multiculturalism.
- Only teach evolution as a theory, along with creationism.
- Repeal compulsory school attendance laws.
- Outlaw pornography.
- Impose “more severe consequences” for convicted juvenile offenders.
- Eliminate the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees job safety.
- Repeal smoking bans because, as the platform statement asserts, “We believe this to be an issue of liberty.” Air quality in all businesses should be left up to owners’ “freedom to choose.”
- Repeal all hate crime laws.
- Oppose the imposition Shariah, or Islamic religious law, in the United States, along with any other foreign or “United Nations Law.”
- Build a fence along the entire U.S. border with Mexico.
- Eliminate no-fault divorce laws and require “good cause” to get a divorce.
- End minimum wage laws.
- Oppose abortion and reject the Supreme Court’s decision authorizing it. Encourage adoption and aid to unwed mothers — but only if every dollar of support comes from the private sector.
- End subsidies to agriculture.
There’s more, but I’m getting tuckered out, what with sorting through this grab-bag of ridiculous conspiracy theories and just plain mean-spiritedness — an ideology that the Iowa platform committee says is all about the party’s main goal, which is “nothing more or less than a world set free.”
Set free, that is, from any connection to reality, critical thinking, or common sense.
“End subsidies to agriculture.”
Yes, by all means, end those federal subsidies, remove the tariffs against foreign subsidies (corn, wheat, to name a few), and see just where that will get you.
“Entirely eliminate the departments of Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Energy, Interior, Labor and Commerce, along with the Transportation Safety Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
Translation: Go back to washing clothes in a river with a handheld wash board; dismantle interstate and intrastate legislation of commerce, be it on buses crossing state lines, or public accommodations, such as gas stations, inns and hotels; continue to let cities across America rot and decay from lack of revitalization and restructuring; get rid of the regulation of the foods and drugs that are consumed, allowing Big Pharma to put on the market drugs whose efficacy is unknown; get rid of the regulation of refineries and other companies, allowing them to dump harmful pollutants and chemicals into rivers, lakes, estuaries and to bury highly radioactive contaminants anywhere they so desire; and most especially, get rid of grants and endowments made to up-and-coming artists. What the hell, who needs art and enrichment in their lives? Such a hassle.
“Pass a “stand your ground” law, like the one that many believe led to the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. By a large margin, most prosecutors and police oppose such laws, which make prosecuting many killings difficult.”
By all means, pass a “Stand Your Ground Law”. What’s a little thing like killing someone because you felt they were going to do you in before you did them in? Be prepared to see much bloodshed with the passage of such a vigilante type law.
“Allow parents to refuse to have their children immunized.”
Let’s hear it for more measles, mumps, and scarlet fever. Not to mention the return of rampant polio and the greatest scourge of all time–smallpox. Just because such diseases have been literally stamped out of America does not mean America should not go back to the Dark Ages of disease and suffering. Children: who cares about their health? Obviously not these ReThuglicans.
“Likewise, abolish the Internal Revenue Service and repeal the 16th Amendment, which legalized the federal income tax”.
Well, if you are going to get rid of the federal income tax, then you need to do away with the following as well: city, county, and state taxes. But, hold on now—if you get rid of taxes at the local level, be prepared to deal with no firemen (or fire women) responders, ambulance, city police, state police, paved streets, sewage and water drainage, water for your toilets or from your sink faucets, or any other entity that exists because of local taxes.
Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Iowa, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Either get rid of all taxes, or shut up and deal with all taxes.
“Eliminate the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees job safety.”
Whoo-oo! Injured on the job? Arm chewed off by malfunctioning machinery? So what. Take an aspirin and keep on working. The company you work for does not store hazardous chemicals properly, and looks the other way when you suffer from severe burns from improperly labeled bottles? Shut yer yap and slap a bandage on it. Companies that commit reckless disregard for their employees, well they do not have to worry about anymore $10,000-per-bottle fines when they flout and break every law that could have protected their employees.
“Build a fence along the entire U.S. border with Mexico.”
Just build it at the U.S.-Mexico border? Why leave Canada out of this grand gesture? Surely you do not want to hurt their feelings, do you now?
And just what type of fence should that be: chain link; wrought iron; or white picket? Six feet high? Fifteen feet high? Fifty feet high?
Let me guess: Great Wall of China Fence.
But I’m sure the Iowa GOP has forgotten how long it took to build that particular fence. What the heck, it was such a piece of cake to construct.
“Oppose abortion and reject the Supreme Court’s decision authorizing it. Encourage adoption and aid to unwed mothers — but only if every dollar of support comes from the private sector.”
Yes, a return of the “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child” mantra. America never has been that way towards all of her citizens, and the repealing of Roe v. Wade will most definitely show that up. “Every dollar of support comes from the private sector”. Well, those mommies-to-be had better be prepared to take care of themselves. Somehow, barefoot-and-pregnant will be the least of their worries….which brings me to my favourite platform initiative of them all:
“End minimum wage laws.”
No more wages that get a young person’s foot into the door. No more pay commensurate with one’s skill. Hey employers, you can pay whatever you want.
Sorta like when Black women had to work as domestics-maids-cooks-wet nurses during Jane Crow segregation all for a whopping $2.00-$4.00 a day. I’m sure many employees cannot wait to see this law enacted.
Well, let’s just say that if there is any question that America is slowly destroying herself from within, then this platform answers any questions on what the future holds for this nation.
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