Advocacy or Intimidation?
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The Teamsters Union issued a news release yesterday… multiple times by e-mail, in fact, announcing a protest to be held outside the home of Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix in Shell Rock this Saturday.

They say it’s to protest what they call Dix’s attack on what they call working families in the last session of the legislature.

The woman who won a lawsuit against the Senate Republican caucus is also scheduled to speak at the event. And area Democrats will also hold a chili luncheon around the same time.

As planned, the protest is legal. But some on the political left have suggested that it’s going too far, to schedule a protest at the private home of an elected official, the place where his minor children live…that it crosses the line from advocacy to intimidation. In response, the person calling for restraint was flamed on Facebook yesterday.

Those organizing the event have obviously publicized Senator Dix’s home address, so followers know where to go. It’s not hard to find such information with the internet these days, but perhaps a better idea would have been to gather at a public place and then move to the site, rather than using the address in news releases. And as more than one of you have pointed out, that address was used in a news story about the event on this radio station. That was wrong, and contrary to our standards. Let me assure you we’ve discussed that in the building and apologize to you, and to the senator for it.

Free speech and the ability to gather in peaceful protest is a hallmark of our representative democracy. I’m all for it. But how we conduct it in order to productively gain support also needs to be considered.

Oh, and a memo to the Democrats running the campaign of Dix’s female challenger. What optics does it send to have the woman who won the sexual harassment suit at an event…and have your materials indicate that your female candidate will be serving coffee and hot chocolate at the luncheon?

And that's the Iowa Politics report for Thursday, January 11, on twitter and instagram at iowapolitics. Listen to today's segment here:

  • @iowapolitics
    Jeff Stein is a national award-winning broadcaster, with 35 years of experience in Iowa radio and television. He has covered every Iowa presidential caucus since 1980, and has been a featured political analyst on the Fox News Channel, PBS News Hour, and various television and radio stations in Iowa. He also produces and hosts the syndicated "Iowa Almanac" daily feature, and the weekly public affairs program, "The IowaWatch Connection".

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