What do we have to hide? Why would we object to letting international election observers watch our voting process? It doesn’t matter whether they are trying to learn what they can to take home to help in their own elections, or watching for fraud. We support sending these kinds of groups to other countries. We should freely allow them in the U.S. and in Iowa. I understand that there must be limits on the number of observers and where they are allowed to be in the polling places so that voters are not hindered or intimidated by the observers. It is possible that “observers” might have actually intend to disrupt the voting process, so there is a need for laws to stop any such disruptions if they occur. Iowa law does allow for specified observers, but does not allow for general observers. It should. We need to change Iowa law to allow at least a few general observers in our polling places.
President Obama should be commended for opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba. It is clear that the 50 year old policy of embargo and isolation has not worked to end the communist dictatorship. Yes, Raul Castro will try to use this change in U.S. policy to his advantage. If only for practical reasons, the embargo should end and relations should be normalized. As President Obama paraphrased, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We need to do something different.
There are also important philosophical reasons why relations with Cuba should be normalized: people who act honestly and peacefully should not be prevented in their actions by the force of government. Voluntary free trade, including tourism, is the best way to foster good will and build better friendships. Allowing Cubans to interact more and more with U.S. citizens will ultimately change the opinions of the masses of Cubans. Hopefully, it will lead to a peaceful overthrow of the dictatorial regime similar to that of the U.S.S.R. and of East Germany.