Visit the Iowa Republican Party's homepage and you'll see an announcement about Donald Trump as the main event at the organization's Lincoln Day Dinner, next June 10. Well, why shouldn't they make a big deal out of it? The man's a bona fide celebrity, crossing all kinds of exciting lines -- real estate developer, reality television star, author of get-rich books, husband of attractive wives.
Americans care about these things, enough so that the bold, creative billionaire has long stood on fame's ultimate cusp: being so well known, all people have to say is your first name and everyone gets it. Think: "Diana," "Madonna," "Hillary"... and "the Donald," as his first wife once called him and some tabloids still do. Rumors abound that Trump may actually seek the Republican presidential nomination... which brings us back to Iowa.
Politically, it's unique, site of the first real action in our quadrennial presidential races, always in frigid January. Since 2009, Iowa has had another distinction, too, as the Western-most state among the handful that allows gay couples to get married. The state's high court so ruled that spring. Since then pairs of men and women have been joined in settings civic and religious (depends on the denomination).
Not surprisingly, given the controversy that attends this particular freedom, some Iowans remain unimpressed with the judicial decision. Indeed, enough of them voted to unseat three of the state Supreme Court judges when the latter came up for election last November. And there were also enough opponents to write the following statement into the Iowa Republican Party's platform: "We support an amendment to both the U. S. and Iowa constitutions that states that all marriages should be traditional, one natural male and one natural female, omitting transgendered."
That's in the platform's Section Six, titled, "Family Values," which identifies the family as society's cornerstone. One could so argue. Of course, people do differ on how one might define "family."
Which brings me back to Trump, whose web biographies list three marriages; the first two ended in divorce. If I'd ever given thought to his personal life -- and I really don't think I have -- I would have called that his own business.
But what happens when you are invited to speak to an organization that considers what people might do in their personal lives to be a public issue? Put another way, just what is it that really threatens or uplifts "family values?"