Senator Grassley, over the eight months I spent in 2016 opposing you for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat, the refrain I heard most from your detractors as well as supporters was “He should do his job” as Senate Judicial Committee head and vet Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. More than any other issue, your party-line-towing intransigence enraged Iowans of all political stripes.
Now, we’re back to the future: Hawkeye State voters are again livid about your complacency, this time in the face of the fascism now taking over the U.S. government by Trumpian forces. Senator, when Jeff Sessions claimed he “had no contacts with the Russians” after you swore him into confirmation hearings, you implicitly sanctioned his statements made under oath. Now that it’s clear that he nakedly lied, why aren’t you holding him accountable? Why aren’t you calling to investigate not only his, but the Trump White House’s increasingly documented ties to killer-dictator Vladimir Putin? Where are you? Jeff Sessions has “recused” himself regarding President Trump’s Russian ties, but it’s not enough: Why aren’t you demanding that he resign having proven himself dishonest and untrustworthy?
Senator Grassley, early in the HIV/AIDS pandemic, activists coined the term “Silence = Death” meaning that by ignoring deeper truths behind the spreading devastation, rank-and-file gay people, doctors, scientists and politicians were facilitating the grim harvest of lives claimed by this then-untamed virus. In a similar vein, I’m accusing you of being an accomplice to the current shredding of the U.S. Constitution and the democratic republic it represents, vis-à-vis your (and your Republican colleagues’) “Silence = Collusion.”
Early in your 40-plus years on Capitol Hill, you made history exposing $285 screwdrivers and $7,622 coffee makers. Now, not only Iowans but all Americans desperately need you — rather than to simply play Pentagon bean counter — to honor your own oath as a member of Congress to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” For this, you must find the courage to depart from the GOP’s present see-no-evil selective blindness, its unwillingness to call out Trumpian officials’ treasonous pro-Russianism.
Come on, Senator: Break ranks with your party — for if you don’t, your performance will forever brand you as having colluded with America’s fascist takeover.
• An Iowa historian and recent independent candidate for the US Senate, Dr. Michael Luick-Thrams currently lives in Germany.