For many of us, this is a day when we rejoice in our newfound freedom from political surveys, phone calls, and advertisements. It's also a day when we receive a disproportionate amount of praise and criticism as the unofficial launching pad of the 2012 Presidential Campaigns.
I love living in Iowa. I've had several opportunities to leave in recent years, but I can't imagine living anywhere else. (For two years I lived in Illinois, but my wife worked in Iowa and we spent most of our free time West of the Mississippi.) That isn't to say I don't occasionally dream of moving to places like Denver, Portland, or Chicago...but I don't think I could ever leave.
A group of filmmakers made a clever (albeit, crass) video extolling some of the great things about Iowa. For example:
- The first female lawyer in America came from Iowa in 1869
- 4 out of 5 Iowans live in the city
- 1 Iowa farmer feeds 155 people
- The average Iowa farm is larger than 300 football fields
- Iowa has the 6th lowest unemployment in the nation
- Des Moines was ranked the richest metro in the country, and the 2nd happiest
- The computer was invented at Iowa State University
The video, as well as dozens of other pro-Iowa articles, have likely been in response to an unfortunate piece written by Stephen Bloom in The Atlantic online a few weeks ago. An essay that had lots of helpful observations, but was mired in inaccuracies and unnecessary generalizations.
For my part as a resident of the Des Moines metro, I appreciate the quality education my children receive at public schools, reasonable cost of living, increased ethnic and religious diversity, and progressive business strategies that attract new companies in the area. We don't have to drive far to spend a day in the country; nor are we more than a few hours away from major cities. Yeah, the weather sucks at times and I wish we had a professional sports team. But our housing bubble didn't burst in the last few years, we can get anywhere we need to be in 15 minutes, and I can go to a Farmer's Market almost every day and talk directly to the people who grow the food I eat.
Iowa is a pretty sweet place to live. I'm proud to call it home, and I'm happy that (at least once every four years) millions of other people get to see how special it is to be an Iowan.