Monday, October 20, 2008

Thank you, Iowa

My former Islamic studies professor at the University of Iowa was born in Tehran. He was a California transplant in Iowa City after getting admitted into the Writers' Workshop. Based on what he learned in school in California, the "flyover states" - like Iowa - were nothing but fields, livestock, and hicks. When the tragic events of 9/11 happened he was worried about backlash. He had heard negative stories from some of his friends and former classmates now teaching across the United States. He was proud of the reaction here in Iowa; in short, we didn't lash out against the local Muslim community. He later told me that he shouldn't have been surprised that Iowans reacted so maturely, for we are the home of the "Mother Mosque of America" - the oldest mosque in the United States (Cedar Rapids is also home to the first, exclusively, Muslim cemetery in the United States, the National Muslim Cemetery).

As the campaigns come to a close and the bigots stream from the sewers like rats, scared that a minority with a non-Anglo name may become their Commander in Chief, I would like to thank my fellow Iowans for not aping our Midwestern brethren and embarrassing America. For every Steve King linked to Iowa, there are the tens of thousands of Iowans that promote tolerance and goodwill just because it's the right thing to do. I would like to take a moment to say thank you to Iowans of the past that welcomed change in the form of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants; I would also like to thank the Iowans of the present for showing America that we may be a flyover state filled with fields, livestock, and hicks, but we still believe in tolerance and aren't afraid of change.

Chris posted this showing that I was too early in my praise. Stay classy, Des Moines.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For a great diary about Steve King read this