Notes on the State of Iowa: A Letter to My Fellow Iowans

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Dear Fellow Iowans.  I write to you from afar.  Today you caucus.  Who you choose to represent you as president will have ramifications far beyond Iowa.  The winners of the Iowa caucuses will possess the political momentum to win the caucuses and primaries in other states and potentially the White House in November.  Because of a quirk in American electoral politics, your influence on the presidential race far exceeds your numbers.  So I urge you to vote with care, people all across the United States and around the world are watching you with trepidation.

I know you’re angry.  As a matter of fact, I don’t know of a single Iowan who is not fed up with the direction of the country.  Everyone recognizes the system is broken.  America’s institutions don’t work.  The federal government is run by and for the rich.  The economy is rigged to screw most of you and enrich the 1%.  You pay higher taxes as a percentage of your income than the wealthiest among you.  Wall Street banksters crashed the economy in 2008 and were rewarded with bonuses and a $16.8 trillion dollar bailout – paid for by you and millions of others in the middle class.  You live paycheck to paycheck.  You have no idea how you’ll ever save enough money for retirement.  Your kids attend crowded classes taught by underpaid and overworked teachers.  Those teachers have neither the time nor resources to give your children the attention they deserve.  I totally understand why you’re pissed off.  You have every right to be.

The question facing you is this: which candidate will bring about the fundamental change needed to address your problems?  Sadly, you don’t have many choices.  This lack of choice is deliberate.  The political and economic elite do not want you to have options.  Why? Because they’re afraid of you.  Real democracy scares the hell out of ’em.  In all honesty, the American elite don’t believe in democracy.  That’s why Trump admires Putin.  The people running the U.S. see democracy as a pain-in- the-ass and something to be manipulated and bent to their will.  Their manipulation is achieved through corporate media, the mind-numbing 30-second TV ad, and an occasional shocking tweet.  The absence of real choice amongst the candidates is also apparent in the similarity of their policies.

Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates who are not feeding from the corporate money trough.  Trump doesn’t need Wall Street’s money because he has his own.  Sanders refuses to take the Street’s cold cash because he recognizes that it rots everything it touches.  But look at Ted Cruz.  His campaign is literally being financed by four people, all of whom are super rich.  Take away the money of those four individuals and Ted Cruz vanishes from the limelight.  Then there is Hillary Clinton.  She has her own billionaire backers, including George Soros.  And does anyone doubt that her and Bill aren’t closely linked with Wall Street.  I think it is fair to ask how the Clintons went from having almost no net worth in 2001 when Bill left the White House to having $109 million by early 2008.

I must be blunt with you.  Thousands of you are directing your frustration at the wrong people.  You’re blaming immigrants, minorities, Muslims, and liberals for the disintegration of the country you love.  You are correct in feeling outraged over illegal immigration, violence in the inner cities, and Islamic terrorism.  You are also right in questioning the morality of certain liberal policies.  But you must ask yourselves who holds ultimate responsibility for the unraveling of American society and the decline of the middle class?  The answer to that question is right in front of you.

The outrageously rich and their political hacks in both the Democratic and Republican parties are in large part responsible for America’s mounting problems.  Just look at the historical record.  Under presidents Clinton and Bush, the number of illegal immigrants in the country went from about 4 million to 12 million.  Both men let the illegals into the country to bust unions, drive down wages, and enrich their corporate donors.  In late 2002, senators from both parties gave Bush authority to go into Iraq – a misbegotten intervention that fostered the rise of ISIS.  Since the Reagan era, the Dems and GOP have agreed to tax cuts for the rich, restrictions on labor unions, cuts to pension funds, and a low minimum wage that pauperized millions of hard-working, upstanding American citizens.  Both the Dems and GOP funded infrastructure projects that ghettoized minorities.  The Dems and the GOP have ignored the interests of the middle class for decades.  Now you want payback.  And you’re sorta gloating because you know that payback is a bitch.

I have another question for you.  How does Trump serve you?  He’s a billionaire who made his billions from the very economic system that treats you so unfairly.  He was winning while you were losing.  He is not one of you.  Do you really believe he’ll dismantle the institutions that have benefitted him, the same ones that harmed you?  Trump is one of Wall Street’s own.

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who will actually address your concerns.  Sanders is a true reformer.  Wall Street fears him, which says it all.  I hope you’ll vote tomorrow for Sanders rather than Trump.  If you do, you’ll be part of the solution to what ails America.

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