The racist threats made against Rep. Wilburn have no place in our state, and must be addressed seriously. In order to fully address the threats made, we have to examine the culture in which they occurred, and the politicians who use bigoted, dog whistle politics to further their partisan agenda.
Unfortunately, the statements made by Republican chair Jeff Kaufmann and Governor Kim Reynolds are too little, too late. Instead of condemning Donald Trump’s culture of hate, they have embraced it. Instead of building a community where we can come together around race, they have passed laws that would attempt to prevent educators from teaching honestly about our history.
Iowa leaders need to not only call out racist behavior, but take action to ensure our state combats racism. The kind of political performance given by Kaufmann, Reynolds, and other Republicans today doesn’t cut it.
If Iowa Republicans want to prove they stand against bigotry and hatred, they have the power to do so. The threats against Rep. Wilburn were hateful, disturbing, and unfortunately a pattern from their side of the aisle. It’s time Iowa leaders recognize that this racist behavior, and systemic racism, exists in Iowa and is something that people of color face far too often. To make a real impact, our elected officials must go beyond speaking on the most extreme acts of racism, but must put in the work to stop racist behavior.
At a minimum, Chair Kaufmann and Governor Reynolds should condemn the hateful rhetoric so often used by former President Trump and acknowledge their role in contributing to this harmful culture.