Opinion: Politics needs to be more than just talk online

Iowa City hosts countless political events, and it’s important that community members show up.


Katie Goodale

Signs sit outside the Polk County Steak Fry in Des Moines on Saturday Sept. 21, 2019. 17 democratic candidates gave speeches and grilled steaks.

Taylor Newby, Columnist

Presidential hopefuls have made their way to Iowa City in recent months, hosting events and rallies for those near the Iowa City area. Within their speeches, they invite attendees to be beacons of change within their own communities by voting and showing up to events.

With each event, there is an undeniable opportunity for students and community members to partner words with action, mobilizing each person’s beliefs. There is an opportunity to show up for what matters and do something about what direction we want to move our country in.

It’s easy to flit through social media and news publications, absorbing information and exploring stories from the campaign trail and the stances that presidential hopefuls take on major issues such as health care and education.

It seems harmless to hone our own political views, beliefs, and opinions and to share our beliefs about the state of our country in conversations within our communities and on social-media platforms.

But talking and tweeting about ideas does little more than stir further conversations. There needs to be action, mobilization, and intentionality behind our ideas and conversation. Our beliefs need to be backed by our actions.

There is an urgent need for people to do more than merely tweet out their opinions or post essays on Facebook walls about the gaps in political conversation. While it’s convenient to settle in the sphere of listening and typing, there’s momentum and power in showing up.

There needs to be action, mobilization, and intentionality behind our ideas and conversation. Our beliefs need to be backed by our actions.

With Iowa’s first-in-the-nations caucuses in February 2020, there are countless events placed in calendars more than a year before elections take place. Each of these events are opportunities we have to show up to. They’re often free and close to campus, if not on campus — meaning they’re convenient to access.

All we need is a desire to see unity take shape in our country and meaningful change take place in our communities and demonstrate a willingness to listen to the candidates taking the stage before us.

Just last week, three presidential hopefuls came to the University of Iowa campus to host lectures and rallies.

Author Marianne Williamson and Sens. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders all came to Iowa City last week — where many community members showed up to hear what each person had to say about the state of our country and the hope that exists within our community.

High-school students participated in a walkout for environmental change across the country, and earlier this month, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg came to Iowa City to talk about environmental change. There are political gatherings all around us — for causes such as climate change, the education system, and the accessibility of quality health care across the country.

And while we can develop our own opinions and political voice in secret or in the safety of our friend groups and families, it’s important to do more than just talk about it at the dinner table and in our social-media feeds. We need to do something about it, and with countless opportunities on the UI campus, we can.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.