Welcome to Sunday Morning Coffee and my thoughts about politics, religion and the the sad state of affairs in our nation...from a LIBERAL point of view. My name is Michael Libbie and yep...I'm a progressive which means I'm in favor of moving our country forward not back to 1954. If you are easily offended (and isn't everybody about everything) you have been warned that the Coffee is HOT!
The Politics of Fear
It would seem, by all the posturing, that the United States is a nation of cowards. Over half of the governors in this once great nation have turned their backs of people fleeing oppression. Even the sole Democratic Congressman from Iowa, Dave Loebsack, joined arm and arm with Rep. Steve King to oppose bringing Syrian Refugees...who are already vetted and it takes 18 months to get her...voted last week to slow the process even more. I have truly refrained from "name calling" because that is wrong. However the cowardly acts of our elected officials is deeply troubling and it has roots in bigotry. In 1938 American's were asked by Gallup if the United States should increase the number of Austrian, German and Eastern Europe Jews allowed to come to our shore. Two out of three said..."No!". And history tells us what happened to them and so many more. Shame on you...shame.
If you want some context to that story take a moment and read about the St. Louis...a tragic piece of reality about this nation. (Cartoon: Tim Lloyd)
The Jewish Governor
I've written before how, if Governor Terry Branstad (R-IA) were living in Nazi Germany he would, no doubt, have found himself at the gates of Auschwitz. No matter how desperate he would have denied being Jewish now a pious Catholic or Lutheran he would have been targeted because of his Jewish relatives. Pretty simple. I had always thought there was hope for Gov. Branstad and that he would turn away from his hateful ways (education, the poor, refugees, organized labor) but he digs himself deeper. He has made it clear that the words in the Torah are not his words and this week by slamming the door on Syrian Refugees he has shown his true colors. Goodbye Governor, or as they say, "you are dead to me". I would not walk across the room to say hello....but I will pray for your neshama.
Flavor of the Month
Prayers and Hate were on display in Sioux City this past Friday as Bob Vander Plaats convened the Family Leader Forum and the reports coming out of that event suggest that Dr. Ben Carson is done and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is the new "flavor of the month". Why? Well it seems that Christians are seeking a "Christian Warrior" to do battle against ISIS, LGBT folks, voting, taxes and they have found it in Sen. Cruz. It seems that, following the attack in Paris Dr. Carson, to them, is a bit too much like Jesus (kind/meek/thoughtful) and not enough like Pope Urban II (look it up). This should play well. Next...
ID Badges/Cards for Muslims
This sounds familiar. Where have I heard of a nation requiring people of a minority, that also happens to be brutalized, be required to carry/wear identification? Now, will the United States join that crowd. It seems that is the suggestion by Donald Trump. Mr. Trump was taken to task last week about the ID card controversy by former Marine Sargent Tayyab Rashid who tweeted, "Hey @realDonaldTrump, I'm an American Muslim and I already carry a special ID badge. Where's yours? #SemperFi #USMC." Mr. Trump never served in the military and did everything he could to avoid service now says he never said such a thing...trouble is he...did. Meanwhile, in an interview Sgt. Rashid said, "It doesn't matter who you are, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Sikh...we are all working together to carry this nation forward. We are all an important fabric of this nation." Sounds good to me.
Thinking of going to get a badge made that says "Islam" and start wearing it...just to see. But it would have to be in Arabic.
Governor Chet Culver
Speaking of Jesus there is talk of a resurrection in Polk County. People close to former Gov. Chet Culver say he is getting closer to announcing his candidacy for congress. It would seem logical. The current "establishment" candidate Jim Mowrer, best known for raising millions and getting trounced by Congressman Steve King and then moving to Des Moines to run for congress is...in a word...weak. If nominated by the party, no matter who is at the top of the ticket, will lose. He's not much different than Congressman David Young...bland. Desmund Adams, who was first to announce, has had difficulty raising money but is a favorite on the stump and would be a sharp contrast to Young...if he can get there. Yet to announce Mike Sherzan has got money but not much else that I know of. So that leaves us Chet Culver. Hmmmm...it would seem logical and I sense Democratic voters in the district are still looking.
Relax, We Could Be Alabama
Things are bad in Iowa but...it could be worse because if the Iowa GOP were to get their way we could become...gulp...Alabama! Last week a woman in the "enlightened State of Alabama" took her fight to see her children to the United States Supreme Court. The woman, who had with her same-sex partner, three children through a sperm donor which she was allowed by Georgia to legally adopt ain't a good mix in Alabama. You see in Alabama they don't "cotton" to them gay people so their high court struck down the woman's visitation rights and ruled the adoption invalid, saying the Georgia court was wrong under that state's adoption laws to grant it. The Alabama justices said "Georgia law makes no provision for a non-spouse to adopt a child without first terminating the parental rights of the current parents." Weary....and why in the hell would anybody actually MOVE to Alabama in the first place?
Last week the Windsor Heights Board of Adjustment made good on the suggestion that Windsor Heights in the "Snobbiest City in Iowa" by saying no to an Aldi Grocery Store to be built on land owned by Colby Interests. The Board was presented a petition with 90 signatures asking that the Board deny the effort. I found this interesting and troubling. I had been told that, "An Aldi Store would bring a class of people we may not want in Windsor Heights." and I did push back on that. So the conversation came back to "We don't need another grocery store." Call it what it is and perhaps another grocery store isn't a good idea but...when I suggested that that grocery store be a Trader Joe's the people who were against Aldi suddenly thought that was a good idea. Yes, troubling.
I was doing some cleaning last week and came across something my Mother z"l had kept since my Father z"l died in 1987...his wallet. I think, more than anything, a wallet, with all it's places to keep things of great importance, is a direct reflection of some of the values that person holds dear. Inside I found family photos, his drivers license, his VFW card, Social Security Card...the sort of stuff a person thinks is important.
There was also an interesting connection to his career and a sense of belonging. Tucked toward the back of the wallet was this Employee Recognition Card from The Ford Motor Company. It was issued in 1957...thirty years before my Father's death. He was recognized by his employer for contributing "an idea"...something of value to his company. Something, long ago lost to my memory, of a contribution and then a "thank you". He kept it for decades. I'm not sure why but like many of us who go to work each day we just hope that what we do is somehow appreciated. That says...volumes.
Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday!