Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa

Land Where the Tall Corn Grows. For most non-Iowans, the Hawkeye State is either Idaho, chock full of pigs and farmers or is known for its butter cow at the Iowa State Fair. Of course, like any other state in the Union, it is a bit more than that.

With just under 3 million inhabitants, most are of German, Irish or English descent. (Contrast that with Atlanta who has 4 million folks and growing). Iowa has a 90% high school graduation rate. Besides some excellent farm ground (in the middle of the state at least) Iowa is also surprisingly metropolitan. Des Moines is a delightful town with sky walks, a Triple A baseball team, an opera, ballet... all the goodies you find in the "Big City" minus the grueling commute. I used to joke that Des Moines had a "rush minute". I've been gone a decade now and I know the commute is probably worse, but not that much.

Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, is an amalgam of old buildings and the dubious effects of urban renewal (which took out a lot of the head shops in the 1970's.) Bright-eyed young students swarm all over the campus and, depending on my mood, can make me feel VERY old.

Most Iowans are pretty solid folks. Yes, we have our crazies. Every state does. Still, there's something about Iowans that say "No pretense here. Take us or leave us, it's your choice." That's rather refreshing in our faux world.

I do admit (with shame) that I never participated in the Caucuses when I lived there. I wasn't a political animal at that point in my life. Now I am and Georgia doesn't offer the same opportunity. So I wish my fellow Iowans a good night of caucusing and hope a lot more than usual turn out for the events. Grass roots participation. We need more of that. Gee, maybe we need more Iowans....

3 comments:

Pam Wyant said...

We will take you back.

Jana Oliver said...

Maybe someday, as long as I have the option to winter somewhere where the sun shines once every few days. Of course, I'll fly back for the Caucuses. Can't miss those.

steve said...

Jana,

Maybe you knew some head shops I didn't. the only real head shop I remember in downtown Iowa City was the Roost, which was above the Astro Theater. A lot of bar aficionados were upset at urban renewal taking Donnelly's.

I participated in the 1972 and 1976cauauses (for Muskie and Udall, respectively). I think I did the 1980 caucus, but I was working for Iowa City Transit that year and may have missed it.

Most of the crazies are over on the Republican side. Case in point: Huckabee won.