Recalling Greene County’s political & elections history, when we meet in Scranton Nov. 2

SCRANTON, Iowa, Oct. 25, 2018 — Brothers Rick and Tom Morain will be discussing “Greene County Politics Thru The Years: The Pendulum Always Swings” when the Greene County Historical Society meets on Friday, Nov. 2, at the United Methodist Church in Scranton.

Rick Morain, who lives in Jefferson, is the retired editor & publisher of the Jefferson Bee & Herald, now writing a weekly “Greenery” column for the Jefferson Herald.

Rick Morain

Tom Morain lives in Lamoni in south central Iowa and is a community outreach representative for Graceland University there. He formerly directed Living History Farms, then was administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa. He is recognized as one of Iowa’s leading historians, and in 2009, the state historical society honored him with its highest designation, the Harlan/Petersen Award for Lifetime Service to Iowa History.

The Morain brothers say their love of local history – including government and politics – traces to boyhood when they’d often open bound volumes of the Bee & Herald newspapers on the ping-pong table of their Jefferson home and read for hours.

After graduating from JHS, Rick in 1959 and Tom in 1965, they went to Graceland when it was a 2-year college, then completed their undergraduate degrees at the University of Iowa. Both went on to earn doctorates, Rick at Yale University and Tom at the U of I, both in American studies.

Three years ago, they co-taught an online Iowa history course for Graceland, and had students enrolled from private colleges across the state.

Rick said both brothers are “probably center-left” on the political spectrum today. In the 1960s and ’70s, Rick was an active Republican “in the Bob Ray wing of the party,” and even served as county Republican chairperson and a member of the state GOP Central Committee. Tom said he hasn’t been as directly involved in politics, although he did some volunteer work for Common Cause, the non-partisan, pro-democracy advocacy group.

“As far as our knowledge of politics and elections in the county, Tom learned it in a much more scholarly way, with oral histories and extensive research,” Rick said. “I’ve kind of lived Greene County political history, with all my time with the newspapers.”

Tom Morain

He added their Nov. 2 program “will be more anecdotal than scholarly.”

Would he give us a quick snapshot of the county’s electoral history?

“In general, Greene County has tended to vote with the winner over the years,” Rick said. “So it’s kind of a bellwether, but not as accurate as, say, Palo Alto County usually has been.” He said there is also a “balance” in the county, without any single dominating ethnic group or church denomination, so political leanings are more spread across the spectrum.

There’ll be an $8 lunch at the church in Scranton at 12 noon, with RSVPs for members due with their community contacts by midday Wednesday, Oct. 31. Members of the public who want to eat lunch for $10 should phone vice-president Nancy Hanaman at (515) 436-7684. The 1 p.m. program at the church is free and all are invited.
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We know from history and from life in recent days, that when it comes to hate and fear, we’ve “got to be carefully taught”

By DALE HANAMAN

RIPPEY, Iowa, Oct. 30, 2018 — In the Rodgers & Hammerstein movie “South Pacific,” there is the song “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.”  The words are haunting. The first verse goes:

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

We have to be carefully taught to hate and fear.

Ponder for a moment when you were taught to hate and fear. Who were you to hate and fear? Was it around issues of Protestants or Catholics, Christians or Muslims, people of color or those who are white, young or old, sighted or blind, or even other differences? Where did we learn to hate – at home, the schoolyard, in church, on television? Who were the models for hatred?

Think even further, why are we taught to hate? Are we afraid? Are we feeling insecure? Why do we teach to hate? How does this reflect our faith in God? And what does it say about each one of us? So, if we have been taught to hate, can we learn new ways of interacting with others? Is all hatred wrong? Is it good to hate some things?

I attended an event recently where race discrimination was the central topic. As part of the sharing, the leader provided a visual model of a six-leveled pyramid of hate. Each succeeding upward level reflected an increase and intensity of manifested hate. Think about where and when you have witnessed one or more of these levels.

–The broad base level, entitled “Acts of Subtle Bias,” included stereotyping, jokes, rumors, discussing feelings with like-minded others, accepting negative information and screening out positive information, and insensitive remarks.

–Level two, “Acts of Prejudice and Bigotry,” included scapegoating, slurs and name calling, ridicule, social avoidance, and de-humanizing.

–The third level, called “Acts of Discrimination,” included harassment, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, educational discrimination, and social exclusion.

–The next level, called “Acts of Violence,” included assault, terrorism, desecration, vandalism, and threats.

–The next level, “Acts of Extreme Violence to the Individual,” included murder, rape and arson.

–The final level, “Genocide,” covered the systematic extermination of an entire people.

In seeing these levels and descriptors, we can see how easy it is to share in hate, to actively participate, or to stand by and do nothing when hatred is experienced. In our world we have witnessed people at all levels of hate. Just this last week we witnessed pipe bombs sent to prominent Democratic Party leaders and killing of Jewish men and women in the Tree of Life, or L’Simcha, congregation in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead and six others wounded. In the “Me, Too” movement we have become all too aware of sexual and physical harassment of women.

We may have even offered hate in one form or another – or been the recipient.

It is sad to reflect on our recent national and international news to see such levels of hate expressed. We are aware of some of these expressions of hate in our state and national election rhetoric. When considering such issues as immigration, asylum seekers, war, starvation, prisoners, as well as international affairs, we have clearly become more aware of these levels of hatred.

It is easy to oppose forms of hatred like pipe bombs being mailed to maim or using weapons to kill faithful people in synagogues, mosques and churches. It is difficult to oppose ethnic jokes or slurs in conversation with others. It is even harder to oppose the racial slurs of friends and family, off-color jokes which demean others, or more subtle acts of hatred in our workplace and public space. We often overlook harassment, name-calling, and insensitive remarks.

Out of our faith journeys, we are convicted if we do not oppose hatred in its varied forms. We can no longer stand by and do nothing. I believe we are called to listen carefully to our own conversations and those around us. We must be ever vigilant to oppose all signs of hatred. And when we hear any level of hatred aimed at anyone – we must be willing to challenge hatred in every form.

The author, Dale Hanaman, is president of the Greene County Historical Society lives on a farm near Rippey. He is a retired pastor in the United Methodist Church. You can write him by email at dale.hanaman@gmail.com.

 

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    There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today.  Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society.  You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”

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