Quick, let’s play a game of “Jeopardy!”.
Under the category States with Really Bad Ideas, here’s the clue:
This Midwest state proudly supported public education until radical Republicans began defunding it so they could justify a really bad idea code-named “school choice.”
Dear Iowa contestant: If you answered correctly, add $200 to your score. If not, subtract $200 and report immediately to the principal’s office.
It seems like Iowa deserves a lot of questions under the States with Really Bad Ideas category these days. Enough that the Republican playbook of increasingly extreme ideas has many Iowans muttering, “What’s the matter with this place? I don’t even recognize it anymore!”
A friend of mine (perfectly normal, I swear) has been cogitating on this very question. One day last week he suddenly slapped palm to forehead, chastising himself for being so slow to recognize the obvious:
Evil aliens from a distant planet have invaded the minds of Iowa’s majority voters, transforming logical thoughts into zombie-like collusion with the unthinkable.
Well, duh! Why hadn’t I thought of this?
A perfectly logical theory that neatly unravels one of the great mysteries of our time, the “Fermi Paradox” (Great Silence). A century ago, physicist Enrico Fermi asked why, given the vast scope of our universe, we Earthlings haven’t encountered extraterrestrial life. Now we know!
Even the Pentagon’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office knows, but they’re not telling (despite a proliferation of UFO sightings).
Could any connection stare us any more directly in the face?
This must be exactly why the majority of Iowa voters — decent, hard-working folks who want only the best for themselves and their children — seem so blissfully OK with governance by middle finger!
It’s explains why the color purple now bleeds blood red.
My friend believes the key to GOP dominance is all-out culture war.
True, there’s no shortage of fuel when it comes to feeding this radical wildfire. Fear, chaos, conspiracy theories, demonization of the “other,” subtle racism — it’s all there, like the brush pile built for Joan of Arc.
Just needs a match.
In astonishing numbers, Iowa voters have empowered radical Republicans to light whatever fire they wish. In turn, radical Republicans have been burning up “Iowa Nice” in order to ignite “Iowa Nasty”.
The good voters of Iowa certainly have been consistent, enthusiastically blessing an authoritarian wannabe and his lackeys in 2016, re-supporting the same very stable genius four years later.
You had to wonder if the evil alien was still hanging around last year. Sure enough, Iowa voters missed the memo heeded by many mid-term voters elsewhere — please reject “Big Lie” candidates endorsed by the MAGA Messiah and his insurrectionist pals.
With their votes, Iowa’s majoritarians punished just about anyone and everything outside their inner circle of trust (white, evangelical, conservative) while handing Gov. Kim “Cruella de Vil” Reynolds her every wish.
Naturally, Reynolds and GOP lawmakers are now using their virtually unchecked trifecta of power to propose ever more radical ideas.
It’s like, “Hey, we’ve gotten away with knee-capping women’s rights, blessing lethal weapons, ignoring polluted waterways, demonizing the LBGTQ community, attacking teachers, defunding public schools.
“Who’s gonna stop us?”
There was a time when radically bad ideas had to work really, really hard to find a place in the Hawkeye State.
Then along came those evil aliens …
Michael Sondergard is a documented Earthling, a long-ago editor at the Press-Citizen and a retiree from the University of Iowa.
This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Opinion: Blame the aliens for radical ideas taking hold in Iowa