On Sunday, I penned an open letter to Senator Tom Harkin. I wanted to explain why I chose to write that letter. I also want to point out that despite headlines, I never “condemned” Mr. Harkin personally, just the job he performs in representing us.
It’s pretty simple. I’m fed up.
I watched with amazement as Americans from all walks of life engaged their elected representatives in Congress during the August recess. They attended town hall meetings, met with their Congressman or Senator, wrote letters, sent emails and made phone calls. Many of them had trembling hands, their voices cracking with emotion. But they conjured the strength to voice their opinions in the hope that their elected officials would listen.
While the debate over health care dominated the headlines, there were many driving forces that made people engage.
Iowans, and Americans, are frustrated. This frustration stems from monumental federal “bailouts”, including those that poured hundreds of millions of dollars into bonuses for Wall Street executives and that helped foreign automakers more than US automakers. It stems from an almost trillion dollar “stimulus” plan that Americans feel spent too much and has produced too little. It stems from continued support for the “public option” in health care reform, which would explode the cost of real reform. And it stems from the continued push by Senator Harkin and others to deny a secret ballot in union elections for Iowa workers, including me and everyone in my workplace.
In short, our frustration stems from a government that has grown out of touch. It is out of touch because of career politicians like Senator Harkin who have worked in government virtually their entire adult lives.
Like so many of his colleagues, Senator Harkin has never managed a business in the private sector. He’s never had to worry about turning a profit so he could offer his employees better pay, benefits or health care. And he’s never once had to make a living under the crushing burden of the rules and regulations he’s passed on the rest of us.
What has made us great is the strength and determination of our people, not the size of government. We prosper when we work together, like our pioneer ancestors did, rather than relying on handouts and government programs.
Like other Iowans and Americans, I may be fed up, but I will never give up. Rather, I will stand up and respectfully argue for the principles and values that have made America and Iowa great.
I served with many great men and women as a B-38 combat pilot in Germany and Austria during WWII. Many of them gave their lives for the sake of our country. I can think of no higher calling, and no better way to honor their sacrifice, than to challenge a government none of them would even recognize.
Written by Jim Tyler of Atlantic, Iowa.
Below is the the full page ad that Tyler took out in Sunday’s Des Moines Register.
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