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Reynolds assures her place in Iowa history
William Harding once set the low bar for Iowa governors.
In May 1918, Harding signed his infamous “Babel Proclamation,” banning the use of foreign languages in public during World War I. It was a dark moment in Iowa’s history of protecting individual rights, a move wrapped in reckless politics and manufactured fear.
“Unfortunately, (Harding) has the reputation, among leading men of his own party, of being a politician for personal ends and his sweeping order gives decided color to the indictment,” The Gazette wrote in an editorial at the time.
Now comes Gov. Kim Reynolds, who last week signed legislation barring transgender kids from using school bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and prohibiting minors from receiving gender-affirming health care, even with their parents’ support. The governor’s “education” bill making it easier to remove books from school libraries, many by LGBTQ authors, barring any curriculum that mentions LGBTQ in elementary grades and forcing school staff to out transgender kids to their parents will come next.
These measures are also wrapped in reckless red state politics and manufactured fear. And worse than Harding’s proclamation, these pathetic punches at marginalized kids are the law of the land. Reynolds and most Legislative Republicans have curtailed the civil rights of their fellow Iowans, pushing them into the shadows and potentially threatening their lives.
But hey, they’ll love it on Fox News. Harding can now rest peacefully, given history will no longer conclude he was Iowa’s worst governor. At least he didn’t feign fake regret.
"My heart goes out to them. I'm a parent, I'm a grandmother. I know how difficult this is. This is an extremely uncomfortable position for me to be in and I don't like it," Reynolds said before signing the bills.
"But I have to do what I believe right now is in the best interest of the kids,” Reynolds said.
"The governor said she didn't like signing these bills, and frankly they made her sad. And you know what I call bulls...," said House Democratic leader Jennifer Konfrst when asked about the governor’s remarks.
Yeah, that sums it up well. If the governor’s heart goes out to you, better duck.
The governor spent an entire campaign assailing Iowa’s public schools as places with pornographic books on library shelves, drag shows and pronoun lessons. She and other Republicans railed against Linn-Mar schools, which provided policies to support transgender kids. She portrayed these kids as a dangerous threat simply for not conforming to her narrow notion of normal.
Forget the evidence and experts who warned these bills would harm transgender kids and put them in danger. Never mind how targeting them and isolating them would put them at risk. She proclaimed “parents’ rights” but ran over parents who want their kids to receive gender-affirming care and want schools to be safe and inclusive.
This was all in the “best interest of kids?” Or was it really in the best interest of her ambitions to make Iowa Florida north, without palm trees but with plenty of discrimination?
But her polls. The most recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll showed a majority of Iowans support banning gender-affirming care. And this is why it’s dangerous to put minority rights up to a majority vote.
"I'm proud of what we're doing. I just won reelection by nearly 20 points. We flipped two statewide offices,” Reynolds said on Fox News Friday, her regrets having melted away.
It’s all about the winning, no matter how many Iowa kids lose everything.
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