BY BOB BEARDEN
Iowa Republican lawmakers just passed a bill and their GOP governor signed it into law taking away minimum wage raises for more than 85,000 low-wage Iowa workers. In a move to appease the greedy Iowa business community, the state Legislature, now totally controlled by the Republican Party, voted along party lines to nullify the minimum wage increases enacted by several Iowa cities and towns in recent months. They passed a bill that no city, county nor municipality in Iowa could pass a minimum wage law. And then went further to roll back all the minimum wage increases passed over the past several months by several counties and cities in Iowa.
This is an act that is blatantly un-feeling, un-caring and un-compassionate, further ensuring that many of their fellow Iowans and their families will continue to slide further into abject poverty. What a shameful act by the party of Abraham Lincoln.
Rachel Maddow got it right when she said on her program, “The divide in this nation isn’t between Democrat and Republican, it’s between those who care and those who do not care!” Obviously, the greedy business interests coupled with the unfeeling, uncaring Republicans now in control of the state government of Iowa fit the category she described perfectly: they do not care!
Republicans control 25 state governments totally or partially across the nation. In those states where they control the government completely we are seeing the most onerous un-feeling, un-caring laws being enacted against their fellow citizens. The Republican Party from the top down is fast becoming known as the party that has no traditional link with that of Lincoln’s party.
[Editor’s Note: The Oklahoma Legislature’s super-majority has taken steps to limit local control, as well, not only blocking municipalities from imposing a minimum wage and other worker protections, but also from thwarting oil and gas drilling within their corporate limits.]
When you take out your greed and avarice upon the least of our nation, you are going against the teachings of the man whom most of these jackanapeses have pledged allegiance to, but do not in any way follow – that Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth Jesus Christ, who said, “What you do unto the least of mine you also do unto me!”
The Republicans in Iowa are doing unto Jesus, whom they pledged to follow, what they are doing unto the least of the workers in Iowa.
They should be ashamed of themselves and should at the very least refrain from calling themselves Christians, because what they did has absolutely no Christian charity at all. FDR said, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
Neither the Iowa governor nor its Republican-controlled Legislature has real compassion for the people they were elected to serve. Their passions lie with providing more for the greedy of Iowa by taking from the poor and disadvantaged and giving to those on the high end of the economic scale.
The Republican Party is branding itself as a party that will not move forward. It only advocates for things that take our nation backwards and, as FDR said about that, “A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.” The Republican party of Iowa has taken an abject step backwards and should no longer claim to be followers of that Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth.
They have no relationship with his teachings which advocated, peace, tolerance, love, caring, sharing, kindness and compassion. Today’s Republican Party of Iowa proved it does not have one small modicum of any of those things within their bones. It is more akin to the Pax Romana that Jesus spoke out against than The Way founded in his name and grounded in his teachings.
Iowa Republicans have placed the love of greed and avarice ahead of love, caring and compassion. May that be to their everlasting shame!
– Bob Bearden is a trustee of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC in Oklahoma City