COLUMN: Gun control has racist roots, gun ownership now a need for activists

puryear rally

The January 6, 2021 insurrection at our nation’s Capitol showcases the increasing boldness and violence of right-wing extremists. It also showed those extremists that they can engage in violent insurrection and some of the police officers present will do nothing more than take selfies with them.  The fact that Trump ultimately departed the White House doesn’t undo the emboldening of those insurrectionists or the millions of people who watched (and sympathized) from home.  The danger is surely higher now than it was a few months ago. Sadly, many people in…

Read More

Iowa, Florida still seized by Trumpism, Republican culture wars (COLUMN)

iowa florida cover

Iowa and Florida both went strongly Trump in the 2020 election. Both are led by governors who mimicked many Trump policies. Both have state Houses and Senates in Republican control. Both resisted mask mandates and have led the country in COVID-19 transmission rates. Both have a history of legislative bills targeting transgender people. In both Iowa and Florida, the battle against Trumpism remains in full swing. Read Sharon Hughes Kunkel’s pointed call to action. SARASOTA, FL. — In a thrilling turn of events, we won the White House and Senate,…

Read More

“I am not special:” a healthy 20-something Iowan’s tale of fighting COVID-19 (COLUMN)

kate crane cover with

ANKENY, IA — I am not special. Actually, I’m like a lot of people today: a healthy 20- to 30-something with no significant past medical history — who will now be fighting this virus for a long time. In a world that doesn’t want to hear or believe that, it needs to be said. So, I’m sharing my story. A lot of the conversation out there will tell you that most people my age “recover” from COVID. You might hear that it’s “just like a cold” and you “shouldn’t worry.”…

Read More

Reynolds, Iowa agencies failing seniors in COVID protection

seniors COVID

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa officials lied to you this past week. They told you during a press conference that they were doing “everything we can” to fight the virus and obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) for Iowa’s besieged health care workers, especially those at long-term care spaces. But this simply isn’t true. Much like how Donald Trump tried to rewrite his inadequate response to COVID-19, so is Reynolds trying to rewrite hers. Here’s the truth she’s not telling you: In March of 2020, eight months ago, all Pottawattamie County…

Read More

Since 1998: Love, hate during Coralville resident’s Matthew Shepard pilgrimage

shepardgallery1

The bar where Matthew Shepard’s murderers lured him to his death was called The Fireside Bar & Lounge. By the time I visited it during a spontaneous roadtrip to Laramie, Wyo., in 2012, the bar had been closed and empty for many years. I could see through one glass panel and was surprised by how small it was.  Compared to images I had conjured of Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney lurking in the shadowy background as they planned their attack on Matthew, this was absurd. I realized Matthew’s attackers couldn’t…

Read More

Our ‘box full of darkness’ reminds us that after destruction comes rebirth

In the summer of 2018, I trained as a death midwife/doula and home funeral guide. In July 2019, a few months after my cat Henry died and I accompanied him through the process, I began working at a crematory for pets. I never would have thought of this profession for myself. But it has become clear, this is the career I am perhaps most suited for. Death can be sad and devastating, but it has taught me many things. Death can involve pain, suffering, violence and sorrow so profound it…

Read More

Electoral College must go, but what should take its place?

electoral college cover 2

Soon, we’ll be seeing a lot of posts and articles about getting rid of the Electoral College. We’ll hear a lot about the idea of “one (hu)man, one vote,”  and proposals to use the national popular vote to determine the president.  We’ll hear people point to examples when the Electoral College result differed from the national vote (Trump/Clinton 2016), or to Wyoming’s three electoral votes, as justification for dismantling the Electoral College. The “one human, one vote” solution is popular, but it has many problems. The first is an assumption…

Read More

Return to COVID-shaped school year swells the “mental load” of parents, caretakers

mental load 2 scaled

Around the dark cloud of this pandemic has been this big silver lining: my “mental load” got a break. To moms, the phrase “mental load” is familiar: it’s the “mental work, the organizing, list-making and planning, that you do to manage your life, and that of those dependent on you,” writes Leah Ruppaner for ABC News. She also describes the mental load as “like a phantom — felt by many, but, without the language to describe it, very difficult to discuss.” For months, I didn’t have to think about my…

Read More

For non-Black people: how to stop perpetuating whiteness and its damage

goddess workshop scaled

Well-meaning, humbled, “ready to serve” white people. They are so newly visible since the May 26 murder of George Floyd, says Goddess Carroll, a specialist in massage and energy healing. And that visibility is imperative, says Carroll. But for Black people like Carroll, well-meaning whites asking “how can I help?” can be exhausting, trigger trauma repeatedly, and perpetuate a generations-old cycle of expecting Black people to do the hard labor. For illustration, Carroll offers the analogy of an abused child. “Say, you were abused from age 1 to age 18,…

Read More