Anyone who knows the Jacksons knows that we love Iowa. God sent us there (almost kicking-and-screaming) and then blessed us beyond measure. Iowa got in our blood! Yes, it's far from home. Yes, the winters are HARSH. Yes, it can be a challenge finding good Tex-Mex, but it became home to us. We loved our life there. We liked who we were there. There are still times when the regret of leaving is so strong it's hard to breath.
For the most part, Iowa stays low-key. Not much newsworthy happens there, with a few exceptions - like the McCaughey septuplets or the Butter Cow Lady at the State Fair! One might think that life there can be dull and uninteresting.
But, every few years all eyes are on the Hawkeye State - if only for a few days. All the political pundits and talking heads converge on Des Moines (and other cities) to analyze the bizarre ritual know as a caucus. Suddenly, what Iowans think is VERY IMPORTANT. These salt-of-the-earth, patriotic voters from the Heartland somehow represent what the majority of the nation thinks. I'm kinda proud of that. No, the caucus results seldom predict the parties' nominees. In fact, Bush lost the caucus, Kerry won his party's caucus. But it is the beginning of a very long, sometime boring, sometimes fascinating process that leads to electing our President. I might sound like the brother, but that gives me chills.
We only lived in Iowa during one presidential election. I was 8 months pregnant with D (right before the Straw Poll - over a year before the 2000 election) when a friend and I went to hear Elizabeth Dole speak at a hotel. We spent time chatting with her and shook her hand. It was a thrill. Not because of my feelings toward her necessarily. It felt like I was doing something so important, something that is a privilege and honor. I was listening to someone try to convince me why she should be the next President of the United States. I figured she would not receive the nomination, but that didn't matter. I had taken part in the political process and it was a thrill. Much the same way I feel each time I vote.
The point of this post isn't to get all patriotic and mushy. I really just want to say how cool I think it is that every major news channel has people sitting in restaurants all over Iowa, freezing their butts off, asking "Why Iowa?". I wish I still lived there so I could take part in a caucus tonight - and I would, just for the expericence. I just wish I had done it 8 years ago. Last night Hannity & Colmes did their show from the restaurant across the street from where I worked in downtown Des Moines. I've eaten there several times and remember it well.
I just think that's cool!
Maybe it just doesn't take much to impress me!