Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Small Town Iowa - Know Your Enemy

Just a day or two removed from our trip to Iowa for the holidays. A good trip, cold, but family was nice. And I didn't get in any awkward conversations about religion or politics with the in-laws. I played nice. Wanted to get over to Chi-town to see some of gang, but unfortunately it was not to be. Weather, health and time conspired to prevent it.

I got quite a bit of reading done, Hitch 22 by Christoper Hitchens (review soon to come) and Zero History by William Gibson.

 I went walking around town just about every day. Osceola is not so different from where I grew up (Red Oak) or any other small Midwestern town. The small town checklist? Less than 5,000 people, little industry, a ridiculously large Wal-Mart, Indian gaming, decaying but interesting old buildings:

Largely white populations (Osceola 95.73%), a sinking economy with little hope for the future. Deprived of a longtime enemy,

they are forced to look for new ones. But, instead of looking at that Wal-Mart or casino on the edge of town ... those things that emasculate the community and render it generic and dependent ... they look elsewhere. Iowa, at once encouraging because of the law to allow gay marriages, at the next moment discouraging because of the drive to repeal the judges that made it happen.

And small town Iowan looks at immigrants. You don't have to go far to hear the phrase "damn Mexicans". (I didn't have to leave the house). It's too bad, but perhaps destined to happen. Osceola is named for the Seminole of the same name,

. Osceola was captured under a truce flag and died soon after,

To quote BSG, "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."

"From a certain point of view our real enemy, the true troublemaker, is inside." -- Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama quotes (Dalai Lama, b.1935)


wunelle said...

Ah, the conundrum of the American rural small town: every good thing has its counterweight. The parallels between the whites disgruntled by the influx of Hispanics and what must have been similar thoughts by the Native Americans when the Europeans arrived--too true.

Looking forward to the Hitch 22 review. I haven't bought it (waiting for the iPad, which is waiting for the next gen before buying) but it's on my list.

Laura said...

I really do wonder WHY people never look at the real things that cause their problems - corporations, corruption, walmarts, etc. Mexicans didn't "steal" the jobs that got outsourced to foreign countries. CEOs and politicians allowed that. The same CEOs and politicians that fund the party that fights against gay marriage... do people just not see this?

dbackdad said...

Wunelle -- I wasn't so much trying to compare modern whites with the Native Americans of our past ... that would be attaching a nobility to modern whites that is largely lacking. I meant to say that perhaps modern latinos are suffering under a similar "white flag" that Native Americans were and that they are being punished for trusting and wanting to assimilate into society.

Laura said, " ... WHY people never look at the real things that cause their problems ..." -- cognitive dissonance. They don't want to face the truth because it might expose their own shortcomings and prejudices.