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January 17th, 2012

Iowa Conservatives Mourn Passing of Richard Auwerda

Iowa Republicans and conservatives are mourning the passing of another family member tonight. Longtime activist Richard Auwerda went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday. Auwerda lived in Kelley, Iowa and was active in the Story County GOP.

He grew up in Wheaton, Illinois and attended Iowa State University. He earned a degree from ISU as well as three other colleges, plus two graduate degrees. Auwerda retired in 2010 from the USDA, where he was an Animal Care Supervisor.

Richard Auwerda is survived by his wife, Peggy, and an extended family. The photo for this article is Richard driving a fire truck for the Story County GOP in a parade in 2010.

I did not know Richard very well, but know many people who thought very highly of him. I figured it would be best to let Richard tell his own story. So, below is Richard Auwerda’s own view of our political environment, written just over two weeks ago.

RIP, Richard and God Bless.

How I see Politics after several Years Involvement
by Richard Auwerda on Monday, January 2, 2012 at 10:55pm

I’m really tired tonight with political work and health stuff, yet I wanted to express some arguments I have with myself as I continue to be involved, and disgusted, by many of the things I see and hear. I’m to tired to have a formulated argument, just a vague disgust, let me bullet a few points on one theme and I’ll trust you to get point or argument (dialogue is much better). I’ll paint with broad strokes, to an admitted fault.

There’s no ideals and little philosphy in politics, other than the philosphy to get re-elected; the preservation of power, not to excercise it for a greater good but simply to weild it, to preserve it, ad infinitum. (This, by the way, is why most policies that do come about have to do with preserving the rich and power bases in either party. We, the regular people are suckered by the language they use to disguise it).

Media and money (the evil twins) totally buy into this. The media doesn’t report on idealogy, genuine political philosophy, or the socio/political implications of a given belief. They report all in terms of strategy; does this hurt or help so & so in the “game,” the “race,” the “contest.” I can’t tell the difference between talk radio and sports radio; between box scores and a party’s planks. Really. And money . . . Jesus said everything about that. All I’ll add is that money magnifies the sin, not the solutions.

This philosophy of re-election is essentially nihilistic. But instead of a funny little Seinfeld nihilism, money and media turn it into a real Nietschean, will-to-power, dangerous kind of nihilism (read, the end of Western culture).

Ideals, philosophy, policy, issues are essentially meaningless if they are secondary to keeping power.
Ethics are secondary.
Power no longer serves the ideal.
When second things become first things, all things fall apart.

The first and most important casualty is truth. This is always a problem but seems to be getting more and more acute (even within this primary) and without truth there is nothing to stop nihilism. This is why, as a brother in Christ, I am so disheartened and dismayed by the ease with which Palin, Bachman, Bush, et al, play footsie with the truth. It’s not hard to be provocative and get sound bites when you’re playing with matches in a room full of straw men. The Christians have to do this differently.

The other casuality is the people themselves. Have we ever seen a more cynical decade than the one that just ended? Can anyone appeal to the highest common denominator of the public rather than the lowest? Is there not a Lincoln out there who can appeal to the higher angels of our nature? Leaders who don’t lead, who simply fan the flames of what is worst in us and then lead the wind the flames create, are not leaders; They’re instigators. And down deep, the people are simply more hotels they can put on a square in monopoly. We’re widgets. We’re objects. We are not subjects whose lives are actually affected by this stuff. We exist for them. With any luck an aborted fetus could grow up to be a corporation and so be considered a person (that alone proves the point of how it’s all become evil – the destruction of the image of God in man by both parties and every branch of government).

When the philosphy is to win, compromise is not truly possible. Stopping the run is not quite the same as letting them pass in football. They are simply strategies to ultimately win. When one is idealistic, has a world view and a philosophy, one is strangely able to compromise because one is thinking in terms of greater goods, not victory or defeat. It’s the people who are being left out. No party speaks for me, fine, that’s part of the fun of deciding things. But now the philosophy itself doesn’t speak for me, nor does the process. I’m so disgusted – with both the left and the right. I’m almost to the point where fact telling (I don’t even hope for a concept of truth anymore) and a comportment of human dignity are the only criterea I have left to base a vote on. Even with that, who am I left with? Heaven help us all.

Finally, I think the Tea Party and the Occupy movement are two sides of the same coin and I am very sympathetic with both. The Tea Party folks believe in truth and desperately want to see the government govern in a way that is consistant with those truths. But they haven’t realized the nihilism underlying our politics which is why they go from new front runner to new front runner. They are, given our current system, heirarchical anarchists (a description I’ve given myself and wear proudly). They just don’t realize that the process and all the leaders within it are nihilists, that it and they are the enemies; not necessarily the liberals who tend to be straw men created by the Republican nihilists (I know, I’m often accused of being one by my right wing friends; and a facist by my left wing friends). If the Tea Party catches on, look out, there may be some change but they have to “get it” first.. The Occupy movement gets, I think, the nihilism underlying our politics. That’s why there’s this lack of leadership, of talking points, of demands. They might as well hold a placard saying “what?” They know the current categories are all wrong and won’t try to score touchdowns on a baseball field; that game is over. They’re saying we need new categories that speak for the rest of us, the 99%. They just don’t have those categories. The Tea Party could provide those categories – truth, justice, tradition, compromise. But it is in the interest of the powerful and the process mongers to keep these two apart.

The enemies are not simply liberals or conservatives. The enemies are those who believe in nothing, who sacrifice truth on the altar of power, who use people to weild it, and who defy God by trying to gain the world with no thought at all for their or anyone else’s soul.

Note: Richard Auwerda posted this on his Facebook page. So, that no one misunderstands his view of the Occupy movement, this was one of the comments he made in the follow-up.

“I’m not condoning OWS actions, I’m saying they know something is “broken”, yet because many of them are from the “entitlement generation(s)” they have their priorities askewed…and need leadership to see below the surface and realize how, with a government whose branches do their jobs, and we the people do ours, that they are looking for the answers the original “Tea Party” was trying to teach and bring back.”

About the Author

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor’s office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad’s 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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