Thursday, June 30, 2016

Is America Great?

I'm starting to kind of like Iowa.

When I first started coming here for work I would cringe at the long, boring drive from Kansas City to Ankeny.

"Nothing but barns, 'Jesus loves you' signs and corn. I'm begging for a cow."

But maybe it's the green, or passing an intersecting road and being able to see for 20 miles. Perhaps it's the laid-back attitude of the workers.

Or maybe it's the loose meat.

But the place has grown on me.

And I had a fleeting thought yesterday as I passed by a beautiful field with an old solid barn on the property.

"America is pretty great."

Like anything else, life is about perception and how you feel at any given moment. There was a terrorist attack in Turkey. I don't really understand Brexit. The clown show presidential election is in full swing...but life looks okay just outside the window...in Iowa!

One of the neat things about the area is that you can see the whole sky. The incoming storms are clearly defined as the dark clouds press down.

The rain seems to come harder out here, and while I haven't yet seen a bad wind event I can imagine it.

"We like watching the twisters roll in," one Midwesterner told me on one visit.

"Really? That's what you do for fun?" I asked.

But when you think about the simple things in the context of the more complex life we supposedly live elsewhere...

...a lot of it feels great.

There are immigrants here too.

Not sure if they're legal or illegal, but the one guy perched near a fall hazard couldn't speak English. I found that my voice got louder as I yelled at him in English.

"We gotta' get rid of these people," he said, "but there won't be anyone working then."

So the questions and problems stretch all across the land.

The answers don't.

"You enjoy living here?" I asked one of the guys I've become friendly with.

"It's a shithole," he said. "And it's getting worse."

We all see the warts, I guess.

I wonder what those who are in America for just a short time believe.

I can almost imagine their texts back home:

"America is great, but everyone here is so mad about nothing!"

That's what I'm thinking.

Maybe the corn fields are making me crazy.

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