(Editor’ note: The following is written by my buddy Noah Siela, an award-winning poet, a college professor, and a frequent public-vomiter. He wanted to give those of us nestled snugly inside a red state a peak as to what life is like in a wing-state. From what I can tell, it’s pretty ugh the same as being anywhere else except your vote matters and is possibly counted. Enjoy Noah’s stylings, but be warned, if you let your children study poetry, they might turn out like him and if you send your children to The University of Maryland, they might wind up being taught by him).–R.C.
Hello and fuck you, California. I live in a swing state. It’s beautiful this time of every fourth year in Iowa. If you take gravel roads to your place of work (ethanol refinery, school, meth lab, etc.), you can smell the diesel and hustle in the air as farmers, who hate brown(ish) welfare drug addicts who they’ve never met in person, augur bushels of government-subsidized grain into proud silos rising from the pastoral like Steve King’s (R-Iowa) supposedly-barbed and probably-hooved boner poking out of his Dockers at a dog fight. If you sit in the back of the coffee shop I go to every morning to construct the perfect 3-D Mao suit to put on page 1of my pop-up manifesto for Totskys, and you sit far enough away from the tall Swede that the very expensive private school across the street pays to loudly pray the gay out of conflicted, Pell-granted students, you can hear the young barista, grinding imported Venezuelan coffee, speak of Barack Obama being the Antichrist because her 1/8 Native American boyfriend had a dream-vision about the number 13 and there are 13 letters in the president’s name if spelled using Old Testament philology and Native Americans run the casinos in this state and if casinos have taught my mother and aunts anything it’s that math done by Indians is on our side so just trust the fucking Indian dream-math and build your Second-Coming shelter, Kit Carson!
Yes, we’re a sexy little beast this time of year so fuck you, New York. I lived in the town that is Iowa’s liberal epicenter for over a decade. The town not Ames and the one in which the gays float freely above streets paved with the furrowed brows of drunken undergrads contemplating which Women’s Studies course to take after their next abortion. The town that convinced me in 2004 that John Kerry’s impending victory would be more of a runaway than Mitt every time Ann wants to do “the doggy’s style.” The town where it’s a perfectly normal spectacle to see a tenure-track professor dressed as a robot chase a leading and insane GOP candidate into the Hamburg Inn while onlookers boo not because that leading GOP candidate is an insane idiot who recently mistook John Wayne for John Wayne Gacy (two of Iowa’s most prolific people, so it’s a reasonable mistake I guess), but dressing up as a robot and ruining a short stack and sausage links is just bad manners.
We are moderate and our even keel is important now so fuck you, most of The South. Really, fuck you, most of The South. But I love Iowa all the time. I love Iowa when we make same-sex marriage legal and I love Iowa when we remove State Supreme Court Justices for doing so and I love Iowa for realizing that was a knee-jerk reaction and we form awareness groups to make sure to “Vote Yes for Retention” to keep the judges who interpreted the state constitution on the bench, where they belong. I love Iowa when other states talk of moving up their caucuses so they can be first and the non-cacophony created by Iowa’s poise and stability when other states discuss that possibility is harmony enough to make the rest of the country realize that Iowa is, indeed, a pretty good place to launch the campaign season. I love moderate and reasonable Iowa when we raise children who are first-time voters and they stop to talk to their non-moderate professor after a lecture he’s given about avoiding ad hominem attacks to maintain academic tone and they say, “Mr. Siela, do you think Paul Ryan’s a good VP candidate?” “Not at all, first-time voter student,” I say. “But why, Mr. Siela?” first-time voter student says. “Well, first of all first-time voter student, he’s from Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Badgers’ college football coach is an ex-Hawkeye and that ex-Hawkeye has a Tigerhawk tattooed on his ankle which means that Paul Ryan is probably a secessionist. Also, Paul Ryan’s a midget coffin full of whale jizz, first-time voter student,” I say. “But Mr. Siela, that’s not a valid reason to not vote for somebody. Are you even sure that his policies aren’t something you can’t support?” says first-time voter student. “You’re exactly right, student, and I shouldn’t stoop so low with matters so important,” I say. “Good,” says student, “and you shouldn’t offend whale jizz like that anymore.”
George Orwell, famous cultural critic and creator of the mildly popular CBS reality show, “Big Brother”, once wrote: “Political chaos is connected with the decay of language.” What’s that dead limey pussy know about shit? Last Wednesday, on the campus of Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, I stood in line for 6 hours waiting to hear President Obama, hopefully, speak about clean energy and job creation the morning after the second presidential debate. As the time got closer to open the doors, cops from surrounding towns dribbled in over the course of the morning to assist with traffic and security. On 1st St., the main road that bisects the campus, the cops put up road blocks and folks who were attempting to drive through town were forced to stop, do a 3-point turn, and head back the other way. The driver of an out-of-state Hummer, which, by the way, is the perfect vehicle to transport 5-gallon drums of Axe Body Spray from the Affliction T-Shirt Warehouse to a domestic assault trial, rolled down his window and asked the line of Democrats the best way to get through town. A lesbian couple (I knew this because it was overcast and cloudy and they were wearing aviator shades and talking about making their own patio furniture) strayed out of line and compassionately articulated perfect directions to their lost and ostensibly civic opposite, creating the perfect metaphor that I’ve completely fabricated for the sake of this article. But it’s balanced Iowa, and it would happen. Every year. No matter what line you step out of.