Iowa … It don’t mean a thing


I trust your hearts are palpitating and your breath is short. You no doubt are having trouble concentrating on the mundane stuff of life.

On Thursday Iowa holds its party caucuses. Pant, pant. Be still, my heart.

That evening, the jackasses – uh, that is, the reporters and “commentators” for the once-were newspapers and network and cable nooz — will give us the identities of the 2008 presidential candidates for the Republican and Democratic branches of the Corporate Party.

Subject to change if results are different in New Hampshire, of course.

The candidates and the people who fancy themselves journalists have been crawling all over Iowa for months now, delivering and listening to the same inane speeches over and over and endlessly over. The silly journalists have gobbled and spit out poll after poll, they’ve spent hours with small town big shots and clergymen and farmers whom, in their normal mode, they hold in deepest contempt, and they have regurgitated what they’ve heard as though it was pronounced from a burning bush.

That is because Iowa is, of course, the very heart of America, and typifies the entire country. It is where we get our national leaders. It is Iowa that decides what music we will hear, what fashions we will wear, how we will decorate our homes, what books we will read, what new social formulations we will take seriously, what our health care policy and foreign policies will be, and where global warming first drew serious attention.

Oh. It’s not?

Iowa isn’t where national economic policy is born, or where great scientific discoveries are most often made or where fine art is at the foundation of local society? (Iowa has thus far produced two notable painters. Grant Wood was one, and I can’t remember the other. The neighbors didn’t much like either one of them.)

The flat truth that we’re supposed to ignore is that Iowa is a rather thinly populated, overwhelmingly white-face farm state where almost everyone goes to a mainstream church (not synagogue or mosque) and where originality or questioning of the local norms on any issue is regarded with deep suspicion if not outright hostility – not unlike certain portions of my home state, Iowa’s northern neighbor, Minnesota.

It is a state from which we occasionally get serious innovation in agriculture – and, no, I’m not knocking that – but where progress in social issues and understanding of geo-political reality generally is at least a decade behind the majority of the nation.

So, you may ask, as others often have, why does anyone give a tinker’s damn about the Iowa caucuses?

Because “the press” is too stupid, too ill-trained and too cowardly to devote its time and efforts to going after the real stories that lie within reach but untouched, too lazy and too fearful to write seriously about the life and death issues facing this deteriorating remnant of the United States of America.

When you haven’t the guts to deal honestly with social and political deterioration, the deliberate undermining of the U.S. Constitution, the greed-driven destruction of the physical environment, you write about the Iowa caucuses as though they are significant.

When you’re afraid to tell the truth about candidates who put their own careers way ahead of the survival of the planet, when you’re too dimwitted to see what the huge and growing divide between the very rich and everyone else bodes for the future of the nation, when you dare not tell plain and demonstrable truths about crack-brained religious nuts running for the country’s highest office, you divert the public’s attention by writing nonsense about a meaningless political horse race in a backwater state.

Play the game and your colleagues approve, your right-wing super-rich boss approves, and you get to stay on the bus, pretending that what you do is important.

Don’t fall for it, people, I beg you. Do not believe that candidates favored by the few of Iowa are the ones we must accept and vote for. Especially, do not let the jackasses of television and once-were newspapers think that you believe their fictions. Write at least one letter to an editor or a television news outfit and tell them you’ve seen through their game of “hide the truth.”


Then it will be New Hampshire, another small state far out of what is today mainstream America. And again the reporters and columnists will be breathlessly asking silly questions and giving silly answers: Will New Hampshire voters change the direction set by Iowans? Will they confirm the Iowa caucuses and so set in stone the nominations? Will Britney marry a grocery carryout boy while having sex with him in the back of a limo?

Don’t be pulled into caring, or accepting the supposed results. Iowa is not America. New Hampshire is not America. Their voters do not represent you and me.