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Letter to the editor: Democracy or autocracy — vote your values


Sen. Chuck Grassley accepts Trump’s endorsement, saying he “wouldn’t be too smart” to refuse it. Iowa State Fairgrounds, Oct. 9, 2021. — Jason Smith/Little Village

By Carol Mertens, North Liberty

It was November of 1956 and Eisenhower was running against Stevenson for his second presidential term. As a young farmer’s daughter, I vividly remember going to the local telephone office in the tiny hamlet of Chillicothe, Iowa so my parents could vote for Dwight D. Eisenhower. My father had served under Eisenhower in WWII and the “I LIKE IKE!” buttons were his preference.

Two years later, during the 1958 midterms, Chuck Grassley was elected to the Iowa state legislature where he served until 1974 when he took his politics to Washington (U.S. House). In 1980, Grassley was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he is now running for re-election as the oldest Republican senator at age 89.

If re-elected, Mr. Grassley will be 95 at the end of the next term. What’s up with that?? Why would anyone in their right mind want to work until they are nearly one hundred years old? Spoiler alert: It’s all about political power!

During a recent interview regarding his decision to run for re-election, Grassley explained, “Seniority means an awful lot in the United States Senate … If Republicans are in the majority [post-midterms] … I will be the dean of the United States Senate.” This would not be good for a true democracy. A self-proclaimed pro-lifer, Grassley welcomed the SCOTUS Roe v. Wade decision and even touted the substantial role he played in helping to overturn it.

Grassley works — and is still working for Donald Trump! While Mr. Grassley vehemently chastised Trump immediately after the insurrection, a few months later he made a complete U-turn to earn the ex-president’s endorsement of his Senate campaign. Both Grassley and Trump were buddy-buddy during the endorsement press conference as if Jan. 6 never even happened!

Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it, too. Didn’t Chuck’s mama ever teach him that talking out of both sides of your mouth is the same as lying? Moreover, that those who enable liars are typically considered liars as well because of their covert duplicity? You simply can’t trust liars and the webs of destruction they weave.

Unfortunately, Mr. Grassley has gone right down Trump’s rabbit hole and is now ensnared in Trump’s outrageous web of unethical and criminal behavior. Even if the 14th Amendment prohibits Trump from running for president again, to save our democracy we must still root out the “big liars,” overt or covert, including Mr. Grassley.

Quite simply, the trust I once placed in Grassley when I was a young adult has long since perished as I’ve witnessed our democracy being assaulted by autocratic fundamentalists and pro-lifers, beginning with the likes of Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, and intensifying during the dictatorial tactics of Trump and the GOP culture wars of today.

Tragically, today’s GOP party scarcely resembles the Grand Old Party of the Eisenhower era: “Today, the Republican Party that I spent so many years with has really let the country down…we need to have a political party that operates in a way that both parties can participate,” said former Iowa Representative Jim Leach.

Jim Leach honorably represented Iowa for 30 years in Washington and has had enough of today’s GOP. He changed his political affiliation to the Democratic party ahead the June 7 primary. He stands for integrity and is a vocal supporter of both Michael Franken (Senate) and Christina Bohannon (House). That transformation speaks volumes and reaffirms my long-held respect for Mr. Leach!

If you stand on the side of democracy, I hope you will consider supporting retired U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Franken for election to the Senate seat now held by Grassley. Franken does not take any money from corporate PACs so grassroots roots donors are extremely important. Please visit the Admiral’s website for more information and a comprehensive agenda of his priorities.


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