The other day I saw a post on a wall from someone back home asking what Iowa values are. She further expressed that it appeared that if she didn't vote a certain way then she must not have those values.
I think it's a fair statement/question although it's a sad message on just how divided we are today as a country. I'm not going to try to define iowa values for everyone, but I will share what it means to me.
Iowa values mean being kind. Iowa values mean being nice. Iowa values mean helping others when they need it.
That's all. It's really simple to me. It's three of the things Andrea and I struggle with in our daily lives of raising an 8 year old. I want him to have the best of Iowa. And since we chose to raise him away from Iowa we are doing all we can to make sure he is those things plus the best of everything else. If he reaches those, I'll be satisfied.
But the negative part of the conversation is harder for me to swallow. Quite predictably her post turned political and not a positive political dialog but one "my belief is better than your belief".
It was at that point I started feeling bad for Matthew. I was faced with the reality that no matter what we tried every two to four years he will be exposed to lessons of hate just because he may have a belief that is different than others.
We will teach him to remain strong. March to his own drum (which he already tries to do) and continue to love others even when he doesn't get that back from others.
I understand that politics is decisive by nature. Even our independence caused strong feelings, and yes hate, while the people in Colonial America tried navigating the New World.
But the basic principal of what this nation was founded was one of having the right to believe what you feel is right. Certainly, I understand trying to persuade others to believe as you do. I think it's healthy to have discourse as a society but lately the far left and far right are taking it to far.
I promise that neither the average Republican or the average Democrat is trying to destroy America. They are just exercising their Constitutional rights to have an opinion.
I pray Matthew sees the best of that process and doesn't become disenfranchised because of the ugliness of politics.
I hope one day he walks into an election site and executes the basic fundamental right of voting. He will be proud that a peaceful transfer of power can take place here in the United States where in so many places around the world it doesn't happen that way.
And on his way to the polling station I hope he drives someone who can't drive, holds the door open for them, and he smiles as they welcome him to the polling station.
That's what real Iowa values are about.