I grew up in an Iowa where common sense ruled more often than not. Iowans back in the day would tell those who put party before the good of the whole to take a hike. We would tend to elect Republicans, but those Republicans understood that human rights and civil rights for all was a base line requirement. Those who espoused hate, those who were little but party hacks were sent packing after a short stay.
We would switch to Democrats from time to time to help Iowa make some leaps to catch up to the rest of the country. Leaps such as Harold Hughes and John Culver and Dick Clark. But in general, Iowa was somewhat insulated from the rest of the country by its rural way of life and its common sense approach to problems.
And Iowans were always the most welcoming people. When new folks moved in, they were welcome. But there was also an unspoken message that the newcomers were expected to keep their property neat and pay their way. Sure we would help folks get on their feet when it was needed because we were also a generous folk that knew that someday you yourself or one of your kin might need a hand up.
But Iowa is no longer insular. Best I can gauge it started with meat packers bringing in foreign workers to keep unions at bay. The meat packers could pay lower wages and benefits. Other concepts began to creep in to the once insular Iowa. We slowly became simply another piece in the puzzle that America was becoming. Our welcoming nature and generosity slowly receded.
Today, Iowa seems to be looking for an identity among the states. There are those that want us to become the next Mississippi, intolerant and overly religious. Like so many other states headed in that direction some are leaving their tolerance behind and are attacking those who are considered “others” in this state. Gays continue to meet some nasty pockets of hate led by the likes of Bob Vander Plaats.
But what is particularly distressing is to see Secretary of State Matt Schultz using his post to do a job for the tea party section of the political right. That is to purge anyone from the voting roles based mostly on their ethnicity. The logic behind this is that those of certain ethnicities if not possibly undocumented, will at least vote for Democrats. Schultz will also get a pat on the back by the Iowa press which is now almost all owned by out of state interests. Oops, did I say Clear Channel or Cumulus or Sinclair Broadcasting? All these entities have a vested interest in having Republicans elected.
So Schultz failed in quest #1 which was to have Iowa join the photo ID to vote mania sponsored by ALEC. He has instead come up with a way to purge the voter rolls on his own. I will turn to BradBlog to explain further:
In an echo of Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his incredibly partisan Sec. of State Ken Detzner’s disastrous recent attempt to purge ”potential non-citizens” from Sunshine State voting rolls, Iowa’s incredibly partisan Sec. of State Matt Schultz issued “emergency rules” at the end of July to help kick off his own “non-citizen” voter purge in the Hawkeye State.
That effort was met by a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on Wednesday, charging that Schultz’ rules were issued improperly in an abuse of his office.
According to AP, the new rules call for suspected non-citizens to be identified through an unknown process created by Schultz without oversight or explanation which, his office says, would be “contrary to the public interest.”
If, through this magical, unoverseeable process (note: including anonymous tips via phone or email), created with no public input, voters are believed to be ineligible to vote as non-citizens, “Schultz’s office will send notice telling them they may be illegally registered, a class D felony, and should cancel their registrations immediately. They would be given 14 days to dispute the notice; if they fail to do so, Schultz’s office would take steps to remove them from the list.” http://www.bradblog.com/?p=9466
My take: Matt Schultz is using his office strictly for party purposes. This is hardly anything new. He has done this from day one. His political career is tied totally to the fortunes of the tea party. He is their servant, not the servant of Iowans.
I take this personally. We live in a town which has a high Hispanic population. We work in a small charity that helps kids with school. Many of those we work with will be affected by Schultz’s vendetta. We have watched many folks assimilate, celebrated when they became citizens and become close friends. Yes it is personal.
Matt Schultz, like his tea party buddies, is a throw back to the Whigs and know nothings of the 1840s. Both are extinct. Here’s to Schultz and his party facing the same fate. And here’s to Iowa restoring its common sanity and its innate goodness.
And thanks to the ACLU and LULAC:
ACLU of Iowa, Latino Group File Request to Halt Secretary of State’s Voter Suppression Rules
The ACLU of Iowa and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa today (August 8) filed a request for an injunction to halt the improper implementation of two voter suppression rules by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.
The first voter suppression rule allows Schultz to purge Iowa’s voter registration list by comparing with it unspecified federal and state agency lists. Schultz has not specified which lists he is using. “The public has no way to be sure he’s using accurate, up-to-date information to remove voters from Iowa’s voter lists,” said ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Ben Stone. “The potential for erroneous information is huge.”
The second voter suppression rule would create a new, unreliable way for people to make voter fraud complaints to the Secretary of State’s office. The new method would skirt Iowa law by removing a requirement that the person swear to the truth of their allegation, with criminal penalties for false reports.
The ACLU and LULAC also assert that under Iowa law, Schultz doesn’t have the legal authority to implement these rules and by doing so, is in violation of the law.