• Lance Roorda, LISW

I decided to put a sign in my window (and write a blog)

Updated: Mar 10


Greetings. It has been an idea to start a blog during my run for Iowa Senate since that idea even materialized. It’s hard to get thoughts across on Facebook posts or any type of social media, and if we’re being honest, Facebook Live is hard. I have a new respect for those online doing this everyday as a part of their career. Putting yourself out there is hard. That’s been a lesson I’ve just recently learned. It’s easy to pick apart everyone out there doing it, but when it’s you it can be terrifying. To those out there in public office, pastors of a church, marketing yourself online, no matter who or what you stand for, if you are putting yourself out there, you have my respect. Additionally, I feel like running for office in itself can be seen as self-serving or being that of an attention whore, or appearing to write content for “likes” none of which I care about.

As I often overthink everything to death, my expectations for this blog are not. I’m not putting a character expectation on posts or a timeline on when I will do them. I put enough pressure on myself and the last thing I need is another thing on my list. The purpose is to capture moments in which I think are worth sharing and putting my thoughts and emotions in writing.

Today’s blog captures an interpersonal battle I’ve had in my head the past two weeks.

Upon visiting more progressive towns such as Grinnell, Iowa City and parts of Des Moines (believe it or not even parts Pella) I’ve seen this sign:

Sorry about the poor quality picture. It says: “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you're our neighbor” surrounded by Spanish and Arabic font. For those who don’t know I have office space on the busiest corner in Oskaloosa, Ia.

Here’s how that conversation went in my head. Should I put this sign in my window? Would this be too much? Would conservative minded people label me as a far left Libtard? Will this put a target on my back? I don’t think this is type of attention that I want… Even so far as would this effect business? So on and so forth, you get the picture. One night yes, the next night what are you thinking? No... Furthermore after about a week of this I stumbled upon a post from a community member pleading with people in this community (Oskaloosa) to take action if you want change rather than being a keyboard warrior and posting short sighted memes. In the comments (recommendation: don’t read the comments, if you read the comments stop reading the comments) I read some of the most disheartening, racist, close-minded, judgmental stereotypes that I have read in a long time. All about and from people in this community. Pinning our town in an us vs them mentality. A line of thinking I reject but know is a reality in small town Iowa. In todays outrage culture it seems that everything is political or polarizing. I mean this shouldn't even be a thing right?

Here was my conclusion:

I’m doing it and doing it unapologetically. (Those weren’t my exact words but that is a more processional way of saying what I actually said) How self-serving is it that I’m even talking about this? How egocentric do I have to be to even think that I would even make this about me? Why would I consider political points or lack of political points as even a variable in this silly equation? I am putting this in my window as a business owner. That is a place of privilege. I have two college degrees, That is a place of privilege. I am running for state senate in Iowa - an extreme place of privilege. I am putting this in my window as a white male. Two areas of privilege. I know nothing about the struggles of being a marginalized person. I haven’t had to battle the hardships of poverty or racism. Maybe it will inspire someone else to put a sign in their window. Maybe someone feeling out of place or rejected will feel that this community isn’t at all against them. If that’s the case, then I am happy to be the butt of the jokes or source of the eye rolls. Don’t care… Caring too much what other people think has always been my downfall, a cognitive distortion (Blog on cognitive distortions coming) of mine and most of the clients I see. After all insecurities and fear driven thinking patterns are a reflection on what is within not what is on the outside.

“The world you see outside of you is a reflection of what you have inside of you. If all you see are problems, darkness and despair then that’s is all there ever is going to be. But if you open your eyes you see hope, you see opportunity, possibility, you see love or the face of God, they you can be someone who helps”

People influence culture not the other way around. Im taking a meaningless stand to potentially help someone taking a larger one. I'm doing my best to use privilege to help those who are not as fortunate. A pastor in a poor community once told me “It doesn’t take many people to change a community for the better” May that also be an inspiration to you. See you next time. Comments can be sent to my inbox. Best to you and yours in the upcoming weeks ahead. Stay safe and healthy.

Edit: Sorry for typos or wording issues. Im hitting post without vetting grammar. Cheers


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