Screens Work Both Ways

My mother didn’t believe in preschool.  So, instead of participating in graham crackers and milk—followed by naptime, my days at age three to four were spent sitting in on adult meetings.  I started out quietly reciting my ABC’s at the massive wooden conference table, but when this skill was mastered, I turned to observing the behavior of those in the adult world.  Discussions included bringing sex education into the school curriculum, busing poor children into wealthier neighborhoods among other 1960s controversial topics.  Looking at what motivates people into action became an inadvertent long-time hobby for me that is at times fascinating, and many times confusing.

An interesting behavior up at the Iowa Capitol this past session began at the beginning of the session, shortly after Governor Branstad took office.  He issued the executive order that screens out ex-felons (a demographic ripe with minorities) from voting.  He did this just minutes after taking the oath of office.  The Iowa House supported this screening policy by introducing a bill that would also screen out rural voters, senior citizens and the poor by requiring a government-issued ID be presented before casting a ballot.  This directive was made to the Iowa House from the current Iowa Secretary of State (SOS).  The good news is that the Iowa Legislature has the ability to discuss, amend or kill bad ideas.  Unfortunately the executive branch, including our current SOS, lacks this crucial sounding board.

The confusing part of current behavior is that the Republicans won the election in a sweep, not only in Iowa, but also across the country.  So why would they desperately act to screen out the voters that voted them into office?  The number one campaign promise from the SOS was to create jobs and support small businesses.  So what could be the motivation for screening out voters, instead of immediately working on viable (not symbolic) job creation policies?  Is it possible that there was never any intention of creating jobs for these hopeful voters?  Or was this simply a typical example of human nature—focus on something concrete or attainable—even if it is a really bad idea?

For the past ten years at least, there has been a nationwide campaign to get people out to vote.  Now that we have successfully inspired people to get involved in the election process, Iowa House Republican legislators and the Iowa Republican SOS want to install a screen door.  Since I personally have worked hard to get people to vote, their behavior is breaking my heart.  And as a life-long moderate Republican, who is a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant that carries a government-issued ID and has never been charged or convicted of a felony and religiously votes absentee, please note. I don’t vote a straight party ticket.  I pay attention to those who fulfill their campaign promises and also to those that do not. My voting behavior is very similar to other moderate voters.

A screen door works both ways.  My unasked for advice?  Start working on those jobs.

© Copyright 2011.  Fawkes-Lee & Ryan.  All rights reserved.

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