I believe that the majority of Americans, including North Iowans, agree on core values such as the truth. Yet, I see issues framed in order to support a unique viewpoint, disavowing a common factual starting point. Take for example these three current issues:
- The 2020 election - it was one of this country’s most secure elections. (Brennan Center for Justice - https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/its-official-election-was-secure)
- January 6, 2021 - it was a violent insurrection. (Widely reported across media - BBC, NPR, USA Today, New York Times, etc.)
- The U.S. history - it is racist. (The Smithsonian Magazine - https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/158-resources-understanding-systemic-racism-america-180975029/)
Coming to understand controversial issues is hard enough, but almost impossible if we don’t start from the same understanding of fact. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we should expect debates to start with and lead from the truth.
Complicating the dynamic I’m describing is the growing influence of QAnon (Source: Chicago Tribune, 5.28.21), a group who promotes the false conspiracy theory that “the levers of power are controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles.” The outlandish assertion of the group is said to be growing and informing current and potential policy makers at the national, state, and local level. (Washington Week in Review - May 28, 2021 - 4:00-6:00, https://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/episode/george-floyd%E2%80%99s-death-one-year-later)
In addition to the truth, I believe North Iowans value compassion and mutual support. We see this demonstrated repeatedly across our communities. Not all legislation just completed at the Iowa statehouse reflects these core values nor is rooted in a common understanding of fact. If ours is a story of decency, we need to start from a place of truth, and name that which violates our cores values.
Jan Libbey, Kanawha