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Amber Gustafson @AmberForIowa
, 9 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Over the weekend @desmoinesdem published my article about reaching #rural voters and it spurred some outstanding discussions. One thing I hear a lot from people who did not grow up in #Iowa is their discomfort with Iowans’ emphasis on how long their families have lived in Iowa.
They often see this as Iowans setting narrow parameters on who is a “real Iowan” and who is not. This is not the case at all and glosses over a fundamental misunderstanding of why my family’s Iowa longevity matters.
In the last 100 years rural America lost over 50% of its population. During the Great Depression, 1/3 of all farmers lost their farms. Most families never returned.
And again in the 1980’s. Another 1/3 of farms lost, many began to be swallowed up by corporate ag as farming became more efficient and productive.
At the same time, in the 80’s kids began to grow up, go off to college and never return to their small towns. the start up costs for beginning farmers make it nearly impossible to start a new farm. And small towns offer few job opportunities for people with college degrees.
When I ask Iowa Boomers about their kids/grandkids I hear: Minneapolis, Kansas City, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis. Some in the DSM metro. Rarely do I hear Carroll, Ottumwa, Waverly, Cherokee.
There is no shame in seeking careers and lives in bigger cities. But staying is special too. Sticking it out. Choosing this life over greater amenities or bigger opportunities matters too. It speaks of our grit, I think. And Iowans admire grit.
So when we speak of generations, it’s not because we believe we belong to a special class. It’s because that longevity speaks to what our families have survived. What we’ve seen. What we’ve lost. And what we hold on to. And we’re a little bit amazed YOU chose to come here.
And we think that makes YOU special too.
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