By Marina Jaimes
Iowa Action, according to its Twitter, is an “independent political organization run by UI students & community members.” The members have been very vocal in their dislike for the UI Athletics Department. A few other topics they touch on are minimum wage, gender discrimination, campus sexual assaults, and investigating uses of university funds. Needless to say, their voice matches those on the left end of the political spectrum.
In a recently deleted tweet, Iowa Action showed that it would go to any length to spread its message, even if it meant ignoring the lives of innocent children. The tweet stated, “Make sure you wave to the undergrad student workers, too, all of them make under $10.10 an hour” in response to the new Hawkeye practice of waving to the patients at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
When Iowa Action heard the news about Athletics Director Gary Barta’s diagnosis of prostate cancer, its response was, “Now Barta will get public sympathy after discriminating against his coworkers (women) & losing a $6 million case. This case goes unheard.”
Maybe it is the members’ disdain for the UI or their belief that morals lie in voting for free health care instead of showing sympathy for those whose health is in jeopardy, but Iowa Action has fully embodied the nastiness involved in the modern political atmosphere. Its agenda trumps demonstrating compassion toward others suffering unimaginable conditions.
What Iowa Action members forgot to consider before they tweeted was the act of choice. The UI students in the crowd who make minimum wage have a choice to work a minimum-wage job. Not to mention, they had a choice to buy tickets to the game and spend a Saturday night surrounded by friends and Hawkeye spirit. The children in the hospital, watching through a thick glass window, have no say in what grows in their body or what stops them from living a normal childhood. What they know is that they have a stadium full of supporters who can’t wait to see them recover and live their lives to their fullest potential. The new practice is one of the last things on the UI campus that should be exploited to fit a political agenda.
Iowa Action also failed to understand the difference in separating personal life from professional mistakes. There is a time and place to discuss Barta’s character, and it is not after an announcement of a leave of absence due to cancer.
Mistaking an issue as large as exploiting cancer patients is understandable. Making the same mistake twice is intentional and unnerving to others who do not run to politics as the first line of defense when faced with tragedy. As a member of the UI community that is just as invested in politics as Iowa Action members are, I hope to see them recover from their mistakes. There is a place for their voice in Iowa politics, but they will not be taken seriously by politicizing victims of cancer.