As Iowans enter the caucus season we will be hearing many opinions regarding US foreign policy.

At the head of the list of issues will undoubtedly be comments regarding what we should do about the Islamic State In Iraq better known as ISIS or ISIL.

The most important observation I can make is that the more a person, including the candidates, understands the 1,000 year history of the Middle East the better they will be at offering solutions. The second most important issue is to understand the various religions in their historical context.

While most white Americans believe America is a great country founded on democratic principles, has a culture whereby citizens can move up in society, and where most people are free to go about their daily lives, the African American or black community has a different picture of the situation.

When a black person thinks about their heritage, in many cases it goes back four or five generations to relatives who were slaves. After the generation that escaped slavery the history of the average black family usually turned toward tenant farming or some kind of menial labor. If lucky, in their families history is the first doctor, lawyer, small businessman or preacher.

In almost all cases, from the Civil War until the 60s,the average black family was discriminated against on a daily basis. Although that period was much better then the years of slavery, times were still very tough. Where you lived, where you went to school, who employed you, where you shopped, and in general how you were treated in society was very much controlled by the larger and sometimes racist white community. That is a legacy difficult to get past.

As I watch the current presidential campaign unfold, and I listen to candidates and also some of the pundits, it seems many are very cynical, irritated, and just plain nasty.

The biggest angry attitude is toward immigration, and its many components. In Iowa we have gone from a welcoming state from the Governor Bob Ray years all the way down to where at least one pundit has suggested reverting to enslavement as a solution. My what a fall we have witnessed.

1) Kinder Politics. If all politicians would tone down their rhetoric and have empathy for others who disagree with them the country would be better off and we would get more things done. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every candidate on one side of the isle said just one thing nice about a candidate on the other side?

2) Respect Science. Whether it is global warming, childhood vaccinations, Nuclear Agreements or anything else, if a majority of the scientific community says a certain thing is a certain way, it probably is.

3) Quit Bashing Bureaucrats. They are Americans as well most do a good job. In my personal experience this past year, I have found the folks at the Social Security office, the doctors at the VA and the people behind the counter at the motor vehicle office all helpful.