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New wisdom should be on display at the Iowa Statehouse
Actually, there is some wisdom under the Golden Dome of Wisdom.
In the Capitol rotunda outside the House and Senate chambers there are quotes, painted in gold on the walls above the area where lobbyists congregate and citizens seek out lawmakers.
There’s American patriot Patrick Henry: “No free government or the blessings of Liberty can be preserved to any people but a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
There’s American author C.W. Curtis: “Courageous confidence in the intelligence of the community is the sure sign of leadership and success.”
Greek philosopher Solon also is quoted: “The ideal state — that in which an injury done to the least of its citizens is an injury done to all.”
And, of course, a line from Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address bends around the rotunda outside the House chamber: "This nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
But these dusty thoughts hardly seem to capture the spirit of how Iowa is being governed now. Maybe we could pick some more recent quotes that better reflect our state’s current leadership philosophy.
“It has become increasingly evident that we live in a world in which many, including our media, wish to confuse, misguide, and deceive us, calling good evil and evil good. One doesn’t have to look far to see the sinister agenda occurring right before our eyes,” said Senate President Jake Chapman, R-Adel, on the 2022 session’s first day. “The attack on our children is no longer hidden. Those who wish to normalize sexually deviant behavior against our children, including pedophilia and incest, are pushing this movement more than ever before. Our children should be safe and free from this atrocious assault.”
Yeah, we’re going to need a lot of gold paint.
A top Senate leader accusing evil journalists and teachers pursuing a sinister agenda against kids is certainly worth a permanent Statehouse display. Chapman wants to ban “obscene” books from school libraries and aim criminal penalties at educators who make them available. The criminal penalties idea appears to be dead, or is it just sleeping until the final hours of the session?
Next to Chapman’s quote, we can also note contention raised by House Judiciary Chairman Steve Holt, R-Denison, that public schools are teaching “Marxist ideology … (and) hatred of our country.”
We could also commemorate Iowa’s civil rights progress.
“That’s what I see as the problem,” said Rep. Jeff Shipley, R-Fairfield. “We have a lot of really young children out there and they have a sacred womb-space and they’re confused and think they have a wand of light.”
Shipley was explaining how “confused” transgender kids are mentally ill, comparing it to cancer. It was during debate over a bill that bans transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports. It’s now law.
Surely the trials, tribulations and tragedies of the pandemic rate a mention.
“We need to put to rest that COVID-19 is an effective and safe vaccine,” Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said during a recent Judiciary Committee meeting. “They keep trying to do things (vaccine shots and booster shots). It doesn’t work. These things are not effective.”
Vaccines that have saved millions of people from severe illness or death don’t really work? Let’s put that up on the Capitol wall, so we never forget.
Sure, the Gettysburg Address is swell, but our leaders of today need to spice things up.
“When it comes to these gun-grabbing, freedom-hating, over-regulating, civil liberty-violating tyrants,” Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, said during a rally in the rotunda, “Here’s my message … (Holds up both middle fingers.) thank you.”
Surely the double-bird must be memorialized. Perhaps a statue in front of the Capitol, with a bird feeder? “In this grand Statehouse in 2022, the libs were owned!”
Or we could just edit those old quotes.
Strike moderation and temperance from Henry, and maybe frugality once tax cuts hit the budget. Add an explanation that “virtue” now means targeting a marginalized minority for spiteful discrimination as a way of turning fear into votes. And “fundamental principles?” Just note they’re whatever Steve Holt says they are.
Curtis’ “Confidence in the intelligence of the community” has got to go. Just ask school district leaders and local government officials now ruled by edicts from the gilded dome. Replace it with “Confidence in half-baked conspiracy theories.”
Solon’s “the least of its citizens” gets the ax. Who cares about those hammock slackers? Cut their unemployment benefits instead. “The ideal state injures the least of its citizens, with help from conservative think tanks.”
As for Lincoln, just replace “people” with “large donors.”
Schoolkids on Capitol tours in the future should learn about our state’s sharp turn from sanity. Unless, by then, it’s illegal to teach it.
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