Guest op-ed from State Sen. Eric Giddens of Cedar Falls.
Our nation’s guiding principle is enshrined in our founding document: the government derives its power from the people, and the people direct the operations of their government.
That’s what the Declaration of Independence says, and it’s the optimistic view of government that I grew up with.
As a kid, I remember my grandparents’ stories of living through the Great Depression and answering Uncle Sam’s call to fight in World War II. They talked about coming home after the war to join and build a prosperous middle class, where government played a key role is expanding opportunity for all.
But for many Americans, that trust in government — and that sense that the government works on their behalf — just doesn’t exist anymore.
Year after year, the wealthiest individuals and most powerful corporations have captured more and more power in our political system, stacking the deck to benefit themselves while undermining access to opportunity for everyone else. Incomes have stagnated while the cost of traditional middle class securities — education, homeownership, stable health care — have skyrocketed.
In the eight months since I was elected to the state Senate, I’ve seen exactly how the corrupting influence of the rich and powerful works. Take an issue that I’m deeply passionate about: climate change.
In my day job at UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education, we work to empower communities to take localized actions to minimize their carbon footprint. But localities can only do so much. We need partners at the state and federal levels to support our work.
Unfortunately, politicians in Des Moines and Washington backed by powerful special interests have ignored scientists’ warnings about the threats posed by climate change for decades. Now, Iowa is dealing with the consequences — increasingly frequent, devastating floods along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and an uncertain future for our lands and the agriculture economy they support.
Instead of taking action, too many elected leaders have been corrupted by the influence of campaign contributions and willfully misled by the junk science of a fossil fuel industry protecting its narrow self interests.
Breaking down this corruption and restoring a government of, for and by the people requires two things: a mass movement demanding the big, structural change we need and leaders willing to fight for that change.
That’s why I’m supporting Elizabeth Warren to be our next president.
Elizabeth has the vision and the plans to end the corruption that has eroded opportunity for everyday Iowans and endangered our precious environment. And she understands that she can’t do it alone — that we must build a grassroots movement to achieve the change we need.
Elizabeth will be a president who has the courage to break the stranglehold of government corruption and put political and economic power back where it belongs: in the hands of the people.
I know Elizabeth can get this done because she’s done it before. She spent her career investigating why families go broke and why it’s so hard to make it in the middle class. She fought the big banks and lenders that ripped off consumers. She created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency that has returned over $13 billion to consumers wronged by predatory financial firms.
It’s only when we free the system of corruption that we can we take on the big issues we as a nation must address — climate change, healthcare, education, and so much more. Elizabeth has the plans, the leadership skills and the tenacity to do exactly that. That’s why we need her in the White House.
Elizabeth will return to Waterloo for a town hall event at 12:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 at George Washington Carver Academy. I hope you’ll join me there, and then join me in caucusing for Elizabeth on February 3, 2020.
by Sen. Eric Giddens