An explosion of insane force shatters Beirut. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 nears 160,000 Americans. The American economy is in shambles. Climate change continues, albeit on the back burner because of more dramaticurgent concerns.
So what does powerful U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa tweet about?
Chocolate chip cookies.
In recent days, Grassley has tweeted about other “urgent” topics. Sweet corn. Field corn. Ice cream. University of Northern Iowa football.
I’m all for being positive when it’s possible. I like cookies, sweet corn, and ice cream. In fact, I had a bowl of ice cream just last night. And a couple of days ago, I had some chocolate cookies. You didn’t read about those momentous events, because I didn’t think they were worth blogging or tweeting about.
Chocolate Chip Chuck Grassley, though, took to Instagram to publicly talk about the cookies and coffee he enjoyed at the Hart Senate Office Building Tuesday.
Meanwhile, he has never yet discussed the alleged bounties Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly placed on the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan. He hasn’t said much of value about Americans struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic. In fairness, he DID mention the death of civil rights icon John Lewis and the anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. So yeah. There’s that.
Grassley, a Republican, is 86 years old, and he’s been in the U.S. Senate since 1981. He’s a “family farmer” from New Hartford, IA., who has received millions of dollars in farm subsidies. He has also consistently enabled Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy.
You can look all that stuff up. Right now, if you Google “Chuck Grassley,” the first thing you see is him babbling about chocolate chip cookies. Other days, you’d have seen poorly-punctuated swooning over sweet corn.
These tweets, I guess, are an attempt by Grassley to create a folksy brand. Maybe you’re never too old to do that. But I would argue that Grassley’s use of his bully pulpit tweet pablum this often in the face of catastropic American problems is almost malicious, considering that so many of his constituents are suffering so much.
Even if Grassley isn’t showing malice when he talks about topics like soybean blossoms, he is showing his tone-deafness and irrelevance. And that’s bad enough.