Cedar Rapids women discuss why they’ll march

Cedar Rapids women discuss why they’ll march

Gazette Column
Trio will be among thousands participating in Women's March on Washington Calling these three Cedar Rapids women who will be part of the Women’s March on Washington “precious snowflakes” is a waste of time. The “snowflake” moniker, derived from the 1996 novel “Fight Club” and typically used to describe college students perceived as over-protected and too easily offended, was widely co-opted by supporters of President-elect Donald Trump to describe and dismiss those who showed somber emotions or actively demonstrated in the wake of the presidential election. It’s been so frequently used on social media in connection to the women marching on Jan. 21 that it’s effectively shorthand for demonstration participants. But when I asked Marilyn Davenport, Denise Mineck and Velga Easker what they would say to those that attempt to…
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In 2016, rural areas roared

In 2016, rural areas roared

Gazette Column
While it’s possible to look back on 2016 as a single year, doing so doesn’t provide clarity. The past year was a culmination of a decades-long and ever widening urban-rural chasm. To hear the national media tell it, the big news was the presidential election. But November was merely the coup de grace, a death blow to end ongoing suffering. I began my career in journalism in the late 1980s. Those were perhaps the final heydays of community journalism — local papers, run by local families. The next decade was marked by large news corporations gobbling up smaller dailies and weeklies. Each incarnation brought more cost-effective management by new parent companies, and fewer local jobs. Local presses stood still. Circulation and ad sales were centralized. Newsrooms emptied. Vertical integration of…
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Still a lot of work to do

Still a lot of work to do

Gazette Column
Throughout the community one question seems to dominate personal interaction: “How are you feeling?” I’ve been asked by people I see each day and those I only have occasional opportunity to speak with. Convenience store clerks, local members of the clergy, co-workers, neighbors, transit riders and drivers and community activists of all stripes are curious, some perhaps morbidly so, on my and their other neighbors’ state of mind. So, how are you feeling in these first post-election days? I am, of course, disappointed that the nation has not finally elected a woman to its highest office. I’m especially concerned by the years of misinformation and sexism that led to undeserved backlash against Hillary Clinton, and a campaign with an overall anti-women tone. More than shock at Donald Trump’s public disrespect…
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Break free from personality politics

Break free from personality politics

Gazette Column
When I made the first trips south to visit family and friends after moving to Iowa, diminishment of my homespun accent drew the most curiosity and confusion. “What did you say?” one of my sisters, a Texas resident, asked, repeating the word “garden” with an exaggerated and distinctly East Coast soft “A” (gah-din) to mimic what she heard. “Y’all sound like damn Yankees.” [caption id="attachment_164" align="alignright" width="300"] Demonstrators are seen in silhouette, marching through Times Square in New York November 25, 2014. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)[/caption] Although said in jest, the assessment was not a compliment. It was the first acknowledgment that I was changing, becoming more “other” than “same,” and a precursor to subsequent political discussions. One brother, in particular, is especially vocal about his right-leaning political view. After returning home…
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Can’t blame Donald Trump for ‘Repeal 19th’

Can’t blame Donald Trump for ‘Repeal 19th’

Gazette Column
Given the trajectory of this campaign cycle it’s easy to imagine Donald Trump pushing to disenfranchise half of America. But the #RepealThe19th hashtag predates his campaign. News stories surfaced this week linking Twitter hashtag #RepealThe19th to Trump supporters. According to those reports, Trump supporters hatched the plan after viewing projections by FiveThirtyEight pollster Nate Silver of what the election would look like if only one gender voted. The United States of Women vs. The United States of Menhttps://t.co/F455bP3D8I pic.twitter.com/qjr6zLh640 — 538 politics (@538politics) October 12, 2016 In a male-only world, Silver predicts Trump would receive 350 electoral votes and move into the White House. A companion map, showing only female voters, had Hillary Clinton earning 458, and Trump with just 80. After the maps were published, some Trump supporters posted…
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Mike Pence did what he had to do

Mike Pence did what he had to do

Gazette Column
Do not blame Mike Pence. In this week’s vice presidential debate Pence did the only thing he could. Wisconsin radio personality Charlie Sykes said it best when he described the logical outcome of years of attacks on the news media to Oliver Darcy, politics editor at Business Insider. “We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers,” he said, adding that now when Donald Trump says something outrageous and patently false, he’s expected to fall in line or be labeled a sellout. This is a “monster” created by conservatives, who are now “reaping the whirlwind.” “At a certain point, you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there,” Sykes said. And, no, Sykes hasn’t gone full tilt. His statements weren’t intended to…
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Iowa families need more than platitudes, campaign rhetoric

Iowa families need more than platitudes, campaign rhetoric

Gazette Column
Some Iowa lawmakers and elected officials gathered on the steps of the Capital this week to be disingenuous. [caption id="attachment_156" align="alignright" width="640"] The State Capitol Building in Des Moines. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)[/caption] It’s difficult to find good news in this election cycle, but this past week offered an exception. Both Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have rolled out their proposals for paid family medical leave. I’ll leave it to readers to research the ins-and-outs of the proposals by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The big news is the conversation about family medical leave is in the headlines again, and that’s due in large part to the number of women who have advocated on behalf of this issue. It’s good that we are talking, because this is an issue that’s been…
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On the road to Philly: Pasquale Luz

On the road to Philly: Pasquale Luz

Gazette Column
One man proudly representing generations of immigrants Family photos tell the story of just how many of Pasquale Luz’s 24 years have been spent in politics as well as how important it has been for his family, descendants of immigrants, to let their voices be heard. Currently a resident of Dubuque, Luz grew up in Chicago where his mother, grandmothers and aunt were very involved with the National Organization for Women. “As far as I can remember, I’ve always been involved and attending political rallies,” Luz said. “My mom has a picture of us marching on Washington, D.C. before I could actually march. I was carried along the route.” When he was older, Luz worked on political campaigns and for the local Democratic Party going door-to-door and making phone calls.…
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The circus comes to Cleveland

The circus comes to Cleveland

Gazette Column
Perhaps Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter said it best: “Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.” Members of the Republican Party are on their way to Cleveland, where they will — despite movements to the contrary — choose Donald Trump as their nominee. Let that sink in. The Republican Party will choose a man who, as recently as March 2012, wasn’t registered as a Republican. There is plenty more than can and has been written about Trump — from talk of small hands to racial and gender slurs to, worst of all, far too few policy positions. But his rejoining the GOP, ending more than a decade of party hopping, is significant. Don’t get me wrong: I understand his vexation. After all, I am a…
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Grassley’s gamble isn’t paying off

Grassley’s gamble isn’t paying off

Gazette Column
Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator is holding firm on his promise to not vet any Supreme Court nominee offered by the White House, but the gambit isn’t producing political returns. News on Thursday that the U.S. Supreme Court split on a critical immigration case wasn’t welcomed by the Obama administration. The tie effectively continues a lower court’s decision to halt President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA), which, in the interest of preserving families, prohibited deportation of the undocumented parents of legal resident children. It was a legal defeat, although a much lesser one than was expected before the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. And, it is quite possible that it wouldn’t have been a defeat at all if Obama’s replacement choice, Merrick…
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