In college I read George Orwell’s novel, “1984.” Never did I dream it would become Amazon’s best seller 50 years later and for a good reason.
1984 is about living suppressed under a totalitarian regime, similar to special interest groups controlling Iowa’s GOP-dominated legislature. Iowa’s 29 Republican senators and 59 Republican house representatives have taken on the role of Big Brother, the main character of George Orwell’s novel.
I’m sure Big Brother was mild-mannered while campaigning this past fall and espoused that “Smaller-Smarter” was his/her mantra. Once elected, however, s/he turned about-face and is letting us know, in no certain terms, state control supersedes local control and five special interest groups dictate their voting behavior.
Legislation proposed at Iowa’s Capitol are direct descendants of Charles and David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, Bob Vander Plaats’ The Family Leader, Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, Iowa Farm Bureau and American Legislative Exchange Council. Iowa’s GOP legislators have become, simply stated, special interest groups’ puppets.
Iowa’s 87th General Assembly can’t end soon enough. As expressed so succinctly by the Des Moines Register’s March 12 editorial, “The Iowa Legislature has inflicted more damage on this state than anyone would have previously thought possible.”
Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature has undermined collective bargaining for 183,000 Iowans, expanded gun access to toddlers and authorized shoot-first mentality, defunded Planned Parenthood despite 77 percent of Iowans support funding for non-abortion services and legalized fireworks over the objection of law enforcement, veterans and medical professionals.
Here’s more of what Big Brother is trying to rule over us plebeians:
Limit workers’ compensation benefits, despite testimony from John Burton, a Republican economist and workers’ compensation expert’s assertion there is no need to change Iowa’s current law.
Voter ID bill (HF 516) is unnecessary (10 improper votes out of 1.6 million cast; 0.00000625 percent), expensive (~$1 million) and discriminatory against minorities, elderly and disabled.
Local control is taboo as evidenced by Republicans barring cities and counties from enacting locally approved minimum wage increases.
HF 316 dissolves the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) despite 90 percent of voters wanting to keep DMWW as is. State control is in vogue; local control is extinct.
Repealing Iowa’s nickel deposit on beverage containers is prima facie evidence GOP legislators are dancing (i.e., voting) with the ones (i.e. grocery and convenience stores) who brought them (i.e., political contributions) to the ball.
A $240 million school choice voucher initiative, spearheaded by Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, would take money away from public schools and give it to non-public schools; a slap to the face of Iowa’s 35,000 public school educators.
Gov. Terry Branstad and Walt Rogers have touted “Smaller-Smarter” as the GOP philosophy. Republicans have not made Iowa “smaller” in government control, but larger. GOP legislation enacted and proposed since Jan. 9 blatantly goes against the will of the people. That’s not “smarter,” just dumber.
Iowa’s “Smaller-Smarter” Republican theme has become “Larger-Dumber.” We are witnessing the power special interest groups have over weak-willed politicians and the issue of state versus local control.
Kathie Obradovich’s March 5 Des Moines Register editorial is a good bromide for Iowans: “Ultimately, we must hold responsible our elected officials for the legislation they approve. If they’re representing someone other than the people in their district, voters should give them the opportunity to find work elsewhere.”
If you approve of your Big Brother legislators enacting lobbyist and PAC-written bills that espouse state control over local control and policies that discriminate, continue your support.
If Big Brother’s political actions are troubling, let them know you will only support representatives who put “We the people” before their party and special interest groups and where local control supersedes state control.
The pain being inflicted by Big Brother isn’t over. Hold on tight, as the last day for our elected officials to stop their disruptive antics isn’t scheduled until April 18.
Steve Corbin is Professor Emeritus of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa; and a 1966 graduate of Nevada High School.