Anger management

BY ART CULLEN

A friend said we had taken an angry tone of late in this space. Well, yes, we are angry. We are angry (and scared) that Donald Trump is running in a dead heat with Hillary Clinton in Iowa. We are angry and ashamed that Republicans nominated such an offensive boor who insisted that President Obama was not born in the United States, and that Mexican teenagers living in Iowa are drug runners who deserve to be deported. Yes, Trump said that and so did the Republican standard bearer in Northwest Iowa, Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron. It makes us angry every time one of these ignoramuses who fancy themselves cultural historians defame our friends and neighbors right here in Storm Lake.

You’re darn right we’re angry.

We get that way because citizens are ginning up support to throw out three fully qualified and studied Iowa Supreme Court justices who issued an opinion saying that homosexuals are people with inalienable rights, too.

And because Sen. Chuck Grassley refuses to do his job and schedule hearings for President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. We are angry that the senator conspired with his boss, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to attempt to block anything — anything — the President sought. McConnell and Grassley said from Day One that their goal was to defeat the first black man to occupy the Oval Office. Their goal was not first to serve Kentuckians or Iowans. They have cheated the American public by denying them a functioning government — a hobbled Supreme Court, government shutdowns over arbitrary debt ceilings, strangled agricultural research wrought by idiotic budget sequestration that amounts to Congress failing to think or act with courage.

We’re angry about all of that. You bet we are.

And disappointed.

That Rep. Gary Worthan stood by while Gov. Branstad shut down secure mental health facilities that allowed the likes of William Cubbage to be sprung upon an unsuspecting public. That taxpayers, mental health consumers and providers are getting ripped off by privatizing Medicaid services. That Iowa public schools have not been funded at the bare minimum of the rate of inflation. That Iowa has the worst water quality in America.

It’s hard to contain.

It’s hard to say that “this too shall pass” or that Republicans should be excused for supporting a candidate who brags about grabbing women by the genitals.

Of course it is frustrating to have a compromised, flawed candidate in the person of Hillary Clinton as the alternative. The Clintons are hillbilly hungry, they will do anything to stay away from that mobile home in Hope, Ark. It dominates the way they think. It makes them craven. It is frustrating to see Clinton squander her opportunity to win Iowa by failing to address the anxieties of rural voters — the very voters who are driving the Trump campaign nationwide. But she would nominate responsible judges to the courts. She will provide for renewable energy and the array of fossil fuels. She will protect the corporate agriculture supply chain. Most important to us, she will champion comprehensive immigration reform. You would not be embarrassed to sit next to her at a state dinner in the White House. Sitting next to Trump, you had better keep one hand on the knife if you are Angela Merkel, just for protection.

It is equally disheartening to have Patty Judge as the “progressive” alternative to Chuck Grassley. Democrats have only themselves to blame for nominating her in the primary. But she has not misled us as Grassley has. She may respond to power lust as Grassley has, but we would like to think she could use it to get something for Iowa. Grassley has secured us nothing for his sniveling at McConnell’s knee.

And it can make us disconsolate to know that Kim Weaver of Sheldon is a real alternative to Steve King, but that she probably will lose like the forlorn before her because the Washington establishment refuses to support the grassroots.

Or that Sara Huddleston could be the new voice for Latinos in Iowa, for public education and for higher education (a graduate of Buena Vista University) if the state political infrastructure would lend her a hand.

Yet we have hope.

We have hope that you will vote for Hillary Clinton, for the Iowa Supreme Court justices, for Patty Judge, for Kim Weaver and for Sara Huddleston. We have hope that Iowa will not embarrass itself by voting for Trump. We have hope that the Iowa Legislature can keep a check on Gov. Branstad’s increasing autocracy. Democracy can be a great elixir to despondency.

One more thing that makes us angry: When blowhards like Trump and his followers claim the election is rigged. They don’t know Buena Vista County Auditor Sue Lloyd, honest as the day is long, who runs clean and efficient elections every time. They don’t know poll workers Roxie Fudge and Mary Estelle Cole who cheerfully and diligently help run the Storm Lake voting precinct at Chautauqua Park Shelterhouse. They probably are from different parties, but offer all of us an example in civility and collegiality. With folks like those around, you really don’t need any monitors. Nobody could get away with anything with these women hawking the vote. That’s why all these calls about rigging and ghost voters and undocumented immigrants voting are so much hogwash, the motives behind which are anti-democratic. Lloyd & Co. assures us all that elections in Iowa are clean and above-board. We are grateful to them. It makes us happy to know that your vote will be counted.