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Stop complaining, start campaigning

BY BENJAMIN EVANS | OCTOBER 26, 2011 7:20 AM

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Maybe some of you have heard, but Swati Dandekar, the former state senator from District 18, accepted a position on Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's Utilities Board. Obviously, this opens up her Senate seat, and a special election will be held on Nov. 8 to fill it. Pretty normal stuff.

Here's the catch: Dandekar is a Democrat. In the state Senate, the Democrats hold∂ a slim majority of 26-24, but with Dandekar out, the head count may look a little different come Nov. 9.

Bravo. Seriously, I applaud the political move on Branstad's part: I always love a good, sneaky maneuver to put your party in control. He got political. It's his job.

Stop complaining about it, and start campaigning for the Democratic nominee in the 18th district.

You want to know why this is a big deal? Because Branstad and the polarized Republicans in the Iowa Legislature want to pass legislation against issues that have already been decided on, such as same-sex marriage, which will stall the assembly. They want the heads of our Iowa Supreme Court justices on a silver platter.

You want to know how I know this? Because the National Organization for Marriage, sent out a soft-money mailer, a leaflet, that condemns the Democratic candidate, Liz Mathis, for supporting freedom of privacy and choice on the issue of gay marriage.

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said in a press release, "A proposed Constitutional amendment on defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman enjoys broad-based, bipartisan legislative and voter support, but is being prevented from coming to the floor of the Senate by Majority Leader Mike Gronstol. If Ms. [Cindy Golding] is successful in her election, we are hopeful that senators will finally have the opportunity to vote on the marriage amendment, and we expect it to pass handily."

The issue is on the table again. I have no idea where government divines its power to say who is right for a person to be attracted to. I really don't know where this got thrown in. Marriage is a religious term, and let me check … Yeah, looks like the establishment clause is still in the Constitution. Civil unions are to marriage as birth is to baptism. It's religious. We have a secular government; let's act like one. Let's allow people to live peaceful lifestyles.

And why do I not see national interest groups coming to campaign for Mathis? Why are liberals so afraid to use a reasonable argument to combat ignorance? Why do liberals not campaign well?

I'm tired of political candidates who make me think I should be embarrassed to believe the things I believe. I'm tired of liberals cowering in the corner at church, at family gatherings, on the Senate floor. But mostly I'm tired of the idea that "liberal" means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and people shouldn't have to go to work if they don't want to, so rich people should pay all the taxes.

And instead of people coming out fighting, yelling, "you reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, anti-feminist, corporate bigots," they sit in the corner and whine about not being heard.

The 18th District campaign is a chance for real issues to be discussed and debated in open forum. It is a chance to make history in Iowa. If you don't live there, you can't vote, but you can volunteer. You can make calls. You can put out signs. You can write guest editorials and letters to the editor.

Just do something.


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