A man holding a recorder was loudly booed in Indianola Saturday evening after he asked Senator Cory Booker when he planned to apologize to Brett Kavanaugh for his “performance” during senate hearings earlier this year.
“First of all, you call it a performance. I served every single day and was outraged by those hearings,” Booker replied before the man interrupted and asked whether he thought Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley conducted an unfair hearing.
The crowd of more than 100 answered all answered “yes,” before Booker told the man he wasn’t going to argue with him. Booker, who’s hoping to be the Democratic presidential nominee, is in Iowa campaigning this weekend.
“I believe in the old saying you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to,” Booker said.
Indianola city councilman Bob Kling quickly jumped into the conversation and said there are many overriding issues to worry about.
“There’s one that encompasses everything and it really worries me because I never thought I’d ever see it in this country,” Kling said. “How do we fight the lies? How do we get the truth out, and how do we make America sane again?”
Booker blamed the media for some of the divisiveness.
“We have media right now trying to make us hate each other,” Booker said. “It so distorts truth and facts or just tells plain old lies that it’s creating a divide between each other.
“What is happening in our country where the media is profiteering off trying to make us hate each other?” Booker asked. “…What is happening in politics that seems to reward those who distort the truth and attack individuals very character?”
While Booker pondered those questions, he spent much of his hour-long stop in Indianola talking about unity and Iowa’s long history fighting for equity and justice.
Iowa was ahead of the curve on LGBTQ issues, on giving women the right to vote and was hosting sit-ins to integrate long before the “first sit-ins” in Greensboro, North Carolina happened.
Iowans marched here, and the underground railroad ran through the state, Booker said.
“And so who are we as a nation today to let people divide us, to pit us against each other, to try to weaken us and tell us there are things we can’t do when America’s history is a perpetual testimony to the achievement of the impossible?” Booker said. “I have to tell you, we’ve done great individual accomplishments here. But, rugged individualism and self-reliance – I’m sorry, but that didn’t get us to the moon. That didn’t beat the Nazis. That didn’t beat Jim Crow.
“Those are things we did together by having a more courageous empathy for one another,” Booker said. “By having a sense of civic grace. I’m calling right now for us to create a more beloved community.”
Booker also said tolerance is not an aspiration.
“I tolerated a cold last week,” Booker said. “Love says I see you. You are not alone.”
Politics is pitting everyone against each other on racial lines and geographic lines, Booker said, before he asked what this election is going to be about.
“Is it going to be about one person in one office?” he asked. “I refuse to campaign that way.”
Booker said real problems include inadequate education, expensive healthcare and the fact that more children in America can find unleaded gasoline than unleaded water.
“The fact, as my friend says, you have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent … That is not a beloved community,” Booker said.
He then listed a number of reasons he’s running to be the next President of the United States:
“I'm running for president because we need to put more indivisible back into this one nation under God. I'm running for president because I believe in us. I’m running for president because I believe our problems aren't bigger than we are. I'm runing for president because I know all our children can have great schools, all of our families can have great healthcare. Everyone can retire with dignity. I am running for president because I know if we stand together, if we work together, if we struggle together, our tomorrows will be bigger than our yesterdays. We will be a nation that as a Minister said, ‘justice rolls down like water, righteousness like a mighty stream.’ I believe that if we are willing to do the work this nation will rise.”