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Sunday, April 9, 2023

"we look like stupid and cruel hicks"

Greg Brown, a well known folk-singer who works out of Iowa City, rented a theater and put on a retirement show in February. He told the press that he would no longer perform except for some benefit events.  He wrote much material that celebrated life in Iowa, but he said he can't celebrate it anymore.  One line from "The Iowa Waltz," which he wrote is "‘We take care of our old/We take care of our young."  He says that's not true anymore.  And he said he'd move out of Iowa if he wasn't so old.

He told the Cedar Rapids Gazette:  “Iowa has turned into a toxic mess due to the Republican administration.  The water is some of the worst in the country.   Our schools used to be respectable, including the college (University of Iowa) but those schools now are in the middle of the pack or are lower. People still say that Iowa feeds the country. Well, I hope the nation loves high fructose corn syrup and ethanol because that’s what we’re making here.”

In commenting on Brown's assessment of Iowa, the Storm Lake Times Pilot  editor said of Iowans, "we look like stupid and cruel hicks." But, of course, Iowa is not the only place experiencing a deterioration of its state ethos.  What happened to Iowa  happened to the nation.  When Trump was elected president, the democracy fell flat on its face into the muck of degeneration.  The character of Trump is an expression of the values that possess half of America.  That half does not merely "look like stupid and cruel hicks;"  they are stupid and cruel hicks.  They share Trump's perfidy (he's on record for telling more than 30,000 lies during the course of his presidency); his malice and vindictiveness; his greed; his predatory morality; and his willful ignorance. When Trump became president those Americans who resent other people having liberty, equality, and justice assumed it permitted them to unleash their own tendencies.  They emulated Trump in their behavior.

This degenerate behavior showed up in the Tennessee legislature.  After a mass school shooting in Nashville in which three staff members and three children were killed, people flocked to the state capitol building to demonstrate in favor of gun laws which address the slaughter of children in school.  Three legislators added their voices to the demand to do something to stop the killing of children.   The GOP members

The Tennessee Three adding their voices to the demand to stop the shooting of school kids.

were so enraged by this attempt to get legislative attention and action that they called for the expulsion of the three.  The one white woman of the three was one vote shy of being expelled.  The two young black representatives were expelled.  In its vote to expel the members, the GOP caucus effectively expressed its approval for more mass shootings and more dead children on classroom floors.

For those in the nation who want to understand how America became the only nation in the world in which mass shootings are common and frequent occurrences, the Tennessee legislature provided a strong indication of who creates the conditions that make it so.  The nation is dealing with an irony that jeopardizes its survival.  Despite the fact that a Gallup poll shows that more than two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with abortion laws with many considering it a constitutional right that should be left to individuals and their doctors to decide, a large faction of the GOP is expending maximum efforts to ban abortions even as a life-saving measure for the mother.  These same people refuse to address the mounting deaths by gun violence and the killing of children in schools.  They are not people with whom intelligent discussion and compromise are even possible.  The talk of unity with them is absurd.  What person of conscience and good purpose wants to associate with them?  Reconciliation with malevolent idiots is like trying to compromise with rattle snakes.  Facts and reasoning cannot penetrate the reptilian cortex which is where they do all their thinking.  If you can call it that.

In recent years, a number of books have been written about how democracy is put in peril and lost.  We are at a point of loss.  Mass shootings in America are a disease that ravages Americans:  more than 600 were killed and 2,700 wounded last year alone. In Tennessee, a peaceful call to take action on the scourge was met with an act of destructive ill will.  One of the young men, a divinity student,  who was expelled said that the legislature was “holding up a mirror to a state that is going back to some dark, dark roots.”  Tennessee is where the Ku Klux Klan was founded.  The legislature showed the rest of the nation how a bunch of stupid and cruel hicks can take over.

God bless America.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States