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A letter to welcome Rep. Bachmann

Price is a junior LPS and politics double major and can be contacted at ryan.price@drake.edu

Hello, and welcome to Drake University Representative Bachmann! Thanks for stopping by. I am a fellow Minnesotan from Apple Valley, Minn., I was also born and raised in Iowa, and additionally, I am a proud student at Drake University, and I’m excited you’ve decided to visit.

In the spirit of fostering civic debate, I thought I’d write this column to ask you a few questions primarily focused on your social policies. I intend to keep the tone respectful, and I want you to know I admire your respect toward those whom oftentimes disrespect you.

I must warn you before you make your remarks today that this is not Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. That isn’t to say we’re the antithesis of Liberty University though. See, we Drake Bulldogs, like many Midwesterners, pride ourselves on open-mindedness and respect. We pride ourselves on being engaged citizens who attempt to understand multiple points of view. We pride ourselves on respecting many different voices, and listening and engaging with other’s worldviews and questions.

So, naturally, I try to engage with your worldviews and perspectives through the television when I see bits and pieces of your campaign like your remarks at Liberty University a month ago.

I saw then that Christianity is a central piece of your life and your platform for public office. It has, at times, been a central piece of my life as well.

One thing I can’t seem to reconcile is the divide between the compassion evangelicals like you espouse, and the vitriolic homophobia you also embrace.

Seeing public servants like you on television referring to gay youth’s confusing state as “part of Satan” does nothing to help them. Going to a psychologist who tells gays to “pray it away” (quite like your husband’s clinic does) often drives gay youth to immense depression and isolation at a terribly young age.

You should know your black-and-white disdain and abhorrence of homosexuality in the name of Christianity turns off quite a bit of our generation, even here in “God’s country.”

Furthermore, your love of your own religion makes me wonder where your contempt for Islam comes from.

See, most of us know better than to let the hateful words of some Christian fundamentalists paint the whole Christian picture, and most of us think the same applies to the overwhelmingly peaceful religion of Islam.

And even despite religion, I simply can’t wrap my mind around your proposal that Iraq should pay us back for the war we started there.

How much fog of war must fill our memory for us to think we invaded Iraq in March of 2003 to liberate them? Maybe if we found a couple WMDs we could ask them to pay their liberty rent checks, but the last time I checked (or the UN, US or IAEA for that matter) we found a resounding zero WMDs in Iraq.

I sometimes wonder if you spend so much time talking about how you want to prohibit gay marriage, Sharia law and abortion that you forget about the staggering unemployment rate posing a real threat to American families.

I sometimes wonder if you genuinely believe black children were better under slavery as you affirmed when you signed onto Bob VanderPlaat’s “family leader” pledge earlier this year.

This all brings many voters to a frightening, and reflexive question.

Does your worldview actually dictate the entire world must look like you and your family?

I guess we need some more Vikings fans.

But then again, I thought our country was founded on diversity of opinion, thought and people. Maybe there were some Christian beliefs there, but theology sure scared the hell out of our Founding Fathers, and your beliefs, at times, seem awfully close to it.

So I doubt we’ll change each other’s worldviews much, but I just thought I’d let you know many Americans appreciate leaders who will lead all of We the People — single mothers, whites, blacks, Muslims, the middle class, gays, Christians, straights, the poor, — and I think it would be encouraging to see your social beliefs include a few more people besides just yourself.

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10 Comments

  1. Lori November 17, 2011

    Your letter was amazing. You managed to be respectful and yet address all the things that I find offensive about Michele Bachmann and her kind. Unfortunately, she is not alone in her beliefs.
    I already have a son at Drake University who I am very proud of. And I hope your parents realize what a wonderful young man you are, and what a promising future awaits you.
    Thank you.

  2. Matteo November 17, 2011

    Hey Ryan,

    Great letter, and good message. I would encourage you and the rest of the Times Delphic staff to continue to produce these throughout the caucus and election seasons.

    I’m wondering if you could tap into the large community of science students and faculty on campus to produce a similar letter introducing dialogue about the facts on global warming, homosexuality and the brain, and various other topics in the political arena. I’ve often observed Michele Bachmann and other politicians oversimplify incredibly complex phenomena and vast amounts of unknown and little understood areas on multiple issues. Much like someone trying to oversimplify tax code to Michele Bachmann.

    Have a great semester.

  3. Norah Carroll November 17, 2011

    This is great, Ryan. Eloquent, engaging and poignant. Nice work.

  4. Tasha November 17, 2011

    Ryan, great article! Not only was it very well written, but the topics you chose to discuss were very relevant and thought-provoking. Thanks for taking the time to try to enlighten Michele and others who are so shockingly single minded.

  5. Shelly November 17, 2011

    This is an extremely well-written piece. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Madi November 17, 2011

    Well put, Ryan. I have such a hard time with seeing the way some of these issues are treated, especially some of the people who support such candidates, saying things like “America was founded on Christianity, so we need to vote for whoever will uphold Christian rights.” I have heard that more than once, and can’t even begin to describe how wrong it is.

    Thanks for your insight, and I hope Bachmann read it.

  7. Matt November 18, 2011

    Very well-written, Ryan. Your columns continue to impress us alumni.

  8. Dan November 18, 2011

    Ryan, this was a great article. While other articles (the Des Moines Register) made the story sound as though the students of Drake were attacking Bachmann, you reminded us that we are an open-minded campus of unique views and beliefs. I sincerely hope that Rep. Bachmann can read this.

  9. Haley November 18, 2011

    Well written, Ryan.

  10. Perry November 19, 2011

    Great job as always Ryan! Keep up the great work at Drake.

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