After reading the paper and listening to the local news regarding the end of Bill Dix’s political career, I am reminded of a quote by John Dalberg-Acton, who wrote a letter to an Anglican Bishop. In it he said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
As we move closer to the 2018 elections, I would urge Democrats to be humble and keep that in mind.
For those of you old enough to remember, the Democrats in the mid ‘80s had to live down a similar (and probably worse incident) which made the front page of the Des Moines Register. It was a juicy article on a party in Mingo, Iowa where a group of legislators got together at a party with strippers and a Democratic legislator from Sioux City was caught on stage engaging in a certain act (don’t think it was filmed back in the day) which caused a real up-roar.
Over this last election cycle, we have watched the Republicans, in power at both the state and national levels, totally ignore any semblance of bipartisanship and pass or attempt to pass (sometimes internal feuding got in their way) any and all legislation they wished without considering either what Democrats or even non-party moderates wanted.
The bipartisanship of the ‘80s is long gone and we have created a situation where Americans are polarized and distrust almost, if not all, politicians. The Democrats, if they win power, as they are likely to do in the fall elections, should work to bring back some semblance of bipartisanship governance and good ethics. If they do, we might be able to get the public to increase their respect for politicians and for this democracy.
In Iowa politics, it looks like Bill Dix on film cavorting with a lobbyist in a bar on video, may well be the capstone of change to get Iowa politics back on a more reasonable course. I think if you are a moderate or progressive Democrat, a moderate Republican, or an independent and you think back over this legislative session and the one before it, you are shaking your head. To me it’s been a cross between really bad stuff to just plain silly stuff happening. I do believe my more moderate Republican friends are mumbling, “where is Bob Ray when you need him”.
It seems in the game of politics something really stupid or bad must happen to change direction. At the national level that is at least a once a week occurrence and occasionally a daily happening. At the Statehouse, probably because Iowans are a bit saner then the folks in D.C., we only have an issue every week or two, but when we do it’s usually a doozy. Luckily we have folks like my friend Pat Rynard and citizens with cameras performing press duties to keep us informed.
I would really hope that the Dem’s get back in power, but along with power comes responsibility, high ethical standards, trying to bring civility back to the process and treating the folks on the other side of the aisle like you want to be treated. If those issues are implemented maybe, just maybe, we can get back to governance that works.
by Dick Goodson