OTHER VOICES

Iowa’s seriousness of purpose

Posted Jan. 06, 2012, at 6:03 p.m.

Iowa receives a lot of national attention during presidential caucuses. It also receives a lot of criticism. This year was no exception.

The state isn’t representative of the country, some say. It isn’t diverse enough to be the place political parties begin selecting their nominees.

When the Rev. Jesse Jackson visited The Des Moines Register recently, he said holding the first caucuses in Iowa was akin to looking at candidates through a keyhole. “There are almost no blacks in that keyhole” and important issues like poverty aren’t addressed, he complained.

The implication of such criticism: Iowa is one, large culturally challenged cornfield.

It isn’t.

Yes, agriculture is a dominant industry in Iowa. Rather than making us provincial, however, that means we do business with the entire world. This state has both wealth and poverty. We have a higher percentage of older residents, but that is a demographic reality the rest of the country is aging toward. Iowa represents both rural and urban interests. Our businesses range from very small t o Fortune 500 large. Our Latino population is growing.

What Iowa may lack in cultural or racial diversity, it makes up for in diverse political viewpoints. Iowans have sent to Congress some of the most conservative members (think Rep. Steve King) to the most liberal (think Sen. Tom Harkin) to represent us.

Again this year, Iowa approached its first-in-the-nation caucuses with a seriousness of purpose. That is something to be proud of. It is something the entire country should appreciate. We look forward to doing it again in four years.

The Des Moines (Iowa) Register (Jan. 5)

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