On August 11 and 12, 2017, white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and Klu Klux Klan members took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. It was a well-organized rally to, in their words, Unite the Right. This rally was advertised well in advance and people flew in from all over the country to attend and cheer on their messages of hate and disdain for Americans who do not look, think, or worship as they do.

They marched down the streets of Charlottesville chanting hateful racist slogans that harken back to the 30s and 40s of Germany, and the darker days of slavery in this, our United States of America. They marched with torches reminiscent of villagers chasing monsters, Nazis in the streets of Germany, and KKK members on their way to burn crosses or lynch African Americans. They marched carrying shields and weapons as if in a legitimate militia or police force. Had they marched peaceably on either day, without spewing the venom of hate, this mess could have been avoided. We would not be suffering the loss of Heather Heyer and two Virginia State Troopers. Their families would not be burying their loved ones and bearing an unimaginable burden of grief.

During times of trouble, people seek out their representatives in government. They seek guidance and wisdom to light the nights. We expect words like those of Senators Joni Ernst, Charles Grassley, John McCain, and Marco Rubio. We expect words of like those of Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Al Franken, and Cory Booker. We expect words like those of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.

We will not accept words like those expressed by President Donald J. Trump. We will not accept words like those offered by Representative Dawn Pettengill who seemed to be more concerned about the freedom of the white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and KKK to spew their venom of hate. Representative Pettengill posted on facebook:

“I am proud of our Republican leaders for standing against what is unacceptable. You didn’t see that after St. Louis or Baltimore and the black lives matter riots.

But I am concerned when ANY group is not allowed to protest peacefully, which is what this group attempted to do. They had a permit and their protest was crashed by opposing forces which caused violence. What did anyone expect from that?

I’ve sworn to uphold the Constitution twelve times and am really struggling with the way this has went down. Freedom of speech is for people who hate too. Believe me, I’ve had to tell myself that 1000 times just this year.

In a respectful way, without any arguments, I would appreciate hearing what you think. It will help me sort it out.”

Representative Pettengill, we expect you to unequivocally denounce the ideology of White Supremacy, Neo-Nazism, and the KKK. We expect you to unequivocally denounce violence as a form of terrorism and identify these groups as domestic terrorist organizations. We deserve better representation in this county, district, state, and country.

During the Civil War, over 2 million soldiers served in the United States Armed Forces (Union) to put an end to slavery and the legitimization of white supremacy. Iowa troops marched on the side of the Union sending 76,000 Iowans off to war. Of the 642,427 soldiers who gave all, 13,000 of them were Iowans.

Over 16 million Americans served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II, with 405,399 Americans killed in action and 671,278 wounded to eradicate Nazism from the planet. With all due respect, for you to hide behind the Constitution to avoid the consequence of calling out white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and KKK, is cowardly and reprehensible. We deserve better representation of our ideals and goals in this District. My name is Paula Denison and I am running for Iowa House of Representatives District 75 in 2018 to ensure that we have it.

Paula Denison

7170 21st Avenue

Van Horne, IA 52346