Today I want to encourage all the people of Sioux Center to cast their vote on November 6 for J.D.
Scholten. Perhaps that is difficult for some to think about in light of the fact that Mr. Scholten is a
Democrat, but I want to offer a different perspective for you. Politics is not a team sport–if a
Republican candidate doesn't live up to what you expect of your leaders it is not a betrayal of your party
to cast your vote for a Democrat–the same is true for Democrats. Sometimes a particular candidate
stands out as a person of integrity and class and I would not be encouraging you to step out of your
comfort zone and vote a different party in this election if I didn't believe Mr. Scholten to be that kind of
candidate. This could be a once in a lifetime event for you–to cast your vote for a Democrat– but it is a
time that is crucial. J.D. Scholten's Republican opponent is Rep. Steve King and it is time for us to make
clear to Mr. King in no uncertain terms that we are finished with his style of politics. Rep. King has not
earned your loyalty.
Mr. Steve King has represented us in Congress since 2003. Mr. King's character is easy to see in the
words that he uses–a quick search of his quotes provides a lot of evidence of how he views anyone
different from him and a quick glance at his Facebook profile provides evidence of how he treats people.
Please look up his Facebook page and ask yourself if this is who you want to represent you. His juvenile
use of gifs and memes to attack people or respond to people who challenge him in any way smacks of
middle school–whether Mr. King actually runs his page or not, he is allowing, and even celebrating this
public image of himself. Of course there are people who speak horribly to him on his page as well, but
as a public figure is he not called to take the higher road in these circumstances? Is that not what we ask
of our politicians and leaders–to be the mature one? Perhaps you believe Mr. Steve King is "standing
up" to liberals by mocking them or purposefully antagonizing them. I ask you to consider the people in
history who actually stood up for something–Ghandi, MLK, Jesus Christ–how did they "stand up?" With
mockery? With dehumanizing their opposition? I was struck by a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that
I read in Phillip Yancy's book Soul Survivor and which he credits to Dr. King's The Call of Service.
According to Yancy, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave this speech to the volunteers in the civil rights
movement who were growing tired of standing up for what was right and were feeling tempted to use
on their opponents the same tactics those opponents used. Dr. King said:
"A big danger for us is the temptation to follow the people we are opposing. They call us names, so we call
them names. Our names may not be "redneck" or "cracker"; they may be names that have a sociological or
psychological veneer to them, a gloss; but they are names, nonetheless–"ignorant," or "brainwashed," or
"duped" or "hysterical" or "poor white" or "consumed by hate." I know you will all give me plenty of evidence in
support of those categories. But I urge you to think of them as that–as categories; and I remind you that in
many people, in many people called segregationists, there are other things going on in their lives: this person
or that person, standing here or there may also be other things–kind to neighbors and family, helpful and good-
spirited at work.
You all know, I think, what I am trying to say–that we must try not to end up with stereotypes of those we
oppose, even as they slip all of us into their stereotypes. And who are we? Let us not do to ourselves as others
(as our opponents) do to us; try to put ourselves into one all inclusive category–the virtuous ones as against
the evil ones, or the decent ones as against the malicious, prejudiced ones, or the well-educated as against the
ignorant. You can see that I can go on and on–and there is the danger; the "us" or "them" mentality takes
hold, and we do, actually begin to run the risk of joining ranks with the very people we are opposing."
I, too, long to be wise like Martin Luther King, Jr and I hope for a candidate that refuses to categorize
people, a candidate who sees the value of all human beings whether they agree with him or not. And I
will avoid categorizing our current representative–Steve King has skills to use, but it is time for him to
use those skills again as a local businessman and not as a representative of our area. So even if you are
a Republican, it is time to look for more in a candidate. I ask you to spend a little time on Mr. Scholten's
website, scholten4iowa.com, as his character is readily apparent in the way he communicates his
policies. In his own words from the website, Mr. Scholten is "an Iowan, a community member and
teammate with a strong work ethic and integrity." His goals in "standing tall for all" include but are not
limited to: putting our local communities and farmers ahead of special interest groups, improving
mental health care in the state of Iowa, "support of the 2nd Amendment and the rights of law-abiding
Iowans to bear arms", and reducing abortions by "fighting for solutions that include: ensuring women
have access to contraception and health care, teaching age-appropriate sex education in schools, and
insisting on paid family leave, expanding adoption and foster care and better child care policies to make it
easier for new parents to care for newborns." That is just a short list of how Mr. Scholten hopes to
represent Iowans in Congress. It is time to vote across party lines to elect a representative who better
represents the kind of people we are and the values we have–respecting others, caring about our
communities, working hard, and loving our neighbors. So please vote for J.D. Scholten on November 6.