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Reflections of Iowa

For those who do not know, I am from Iowa.  Specifically, I'm from Storm Lake, Iowa.  Now I may not have lived in Iowa since I was 2 years old, but the events of the last week are a reminder that I am from a state with a unique heritage, one that should be celebrated within this country instead of scorned as many have done.

Earlier in the week the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to be married, just as any other couple.  This is inherent in the first section of the Iowa Constitution, which states "All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights--among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness. "  This one statement, simple and concise, strikes to the very core of the reason why the Supreme Court ruled in the way it has.  And in no other state is this one statement taken with such seriousness and intensity as in Iowa.

As has been noted elsewhere, Iowa was the first state to ban interracial marriage (in 1851!), ban segregation (schools in 1868, public accommodation in 1873), as well as open it's doors to women in the state university system (1870's).  It also is home to the Amana colonies (a religious group that immigrated from Germany and is more famous for the fact that they built some of the first microwave ovens), a sizable Asian-American population (many churches and towns took in Vietnamese refugees after the end of the Vietnam War), and a more pragmatic view of life in general.  Oh, and they have the annual bicycle ride across the state, where people from around the world get to see Iowa up close and personal.

So why are people so surprised that Iowans would do this?  They've done more radical actions over the years in clear opposition to the 'prevailing thought' in this country... this is no different.  Oh, and did I mention they voted for a black candidate for president... in 1988??  That candidate's name?  Jesse Jackson.

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tal_greywolf
Tal Greywolf

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