Enough is enough

EDITORIAL

BY ART CULLEN

Steve King inhabits the netherworld of the “alt-right,” makes racist remarks about brown people, Tweets support for a white supremacist in Toronto, and meets with a leader of Austria’s nationalist movement. Voters of the Fourth District are obliged to stand up and vote him out. It is high time for us to quit pleading ignorance to his openly racist and fascist behavior, or that he consorts with neo-Nazi extremists. That we didn’t know what he said about Latino teens being a bunch of drug runners, that we didn’t know about King supporting white nationalist Geert Wilders in Holland. That he is just being Steve.

What claptrap.

We embarrass and degrade ourselves when we listen to him, agree with him and vote for him. Many of us who don’t think are deluded that King is a man not afraid to say what he thinks, and what he says is the truth — none of us really believes that one kind of baby is less worthy than another kind of baby, but that is precisely what King talks about. It rains down from the Tower of Babel, his gibberish, and confuses otherwise good people into voting for someone who spews hateful propaganda.

There is nothing pro-life about separating families and keeping children in cages.

There is nothing patriotic in defiling the values that drove our fathers into service in World War II.

There is nothing honest or forthright in calling Storm Lake’s youth so much as criminal chattel.

It is one thing to demand law and order. To call for a wall. To demand fair treatment for American workers. To go after employers who lure undocumented immigrants to Iowa. We can understand all that and empathize.

What we cannot endure, as proud Iowans, is someone so callous to our traditions of tolerance and promotion of human rights as a people. King flouts that history and those values.

If he were chairman of the appropriations committee maybe he would be worth your vote. He is forever a nobody in the Republican caucus; his only power is to delay and deny. If he could tell us that he will get a farm bill that will provide a safety net for producers, and that he will force Trump to make trade-damaged sectors whole, then maybe you can justify that vote. Maybe. But King can’t. He can only stand by and ape Trump while our standing in world markets is in tatters. But the Brazilian ag economy is on rocket fuel right now, thanks to that sort of American boastfulness and blunderbuss.

King couldn’t even get Hwy. 20 lined up. Former Rep. Tom Latham and former Sen. Tom Harkin took care of that a long time ago on a bipartisan basis.

All he and Trump have to sell is fear. Fear that the Hondurans will reach Lohrville. Fear that they will hook us on meth or opioids or Busch Light when we did it to ourselves. Fear that they will take something away that we never had.

What we did have was our self-respect. And now, with King as our congressman, it’s getting hard to claim that. What he is talking about does not represent Northwest Iowa. Most people here understand that Sioux County dairy barns need Latino labor, and that a border wall isn’t going to get that hoghouse cleaned out or bridge built when nobody else will do it. Just last January, as we were caging up poor children at the border, The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll reported that 69% of those polled in the Fourth District favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Steve King is out of touch with this district that welcomed refugees from the Prussian wars to the Vietnam war. This is a place of mercy and justice, not fear and prejudice.

Maybe King’s was a voice that was clearer 16 years ago when he said things nobody else said. Now he is saying things that are outside the bounds of the American narrative of opportunity, freedom and one for all. He is positioning himself with foreigners who seek to undermine the very foundations of our understanding of liberty. He is beyond the pale.

Fortunately, we still have a choice if we can reject all the noise and confusion sown by the discord King seeks to create. JD Scholten of Sioux City, a Democrat, is friendly and honest, a common person who did uncommon things on the baseball field as a pitcher and now as a brave young man putting himself out there on a bigger field. He doesn’t harbor that invective. He has no desire to move the nation’s culture in any direction other than one that protects everybody, including the unborn and the frail elderly. Mainly, he wants to be a fair broker of constituent concerns in the nation’s capital. King doesn’t even know what our concerns are because he never asks. Scholten is asking.

We can change history on election day. Vote for JD Scholten. Enough of this race-baiting. Enough embarrassment and shame. Enough of us sticking our heads in the sand thinking this doesn’t reflect on each of us. White supremacy and fascist nationalism is not an American ideal, and it deserves no seat in Congress. JD Scholten is the answer.