The Problem with the Midwest

I am from Iowa (now a Californian), so I think I can write about this without being accused of cultural appropriation.

People in the Midwest are insulated from a lot of what is happening right now. It’s true that two meat-packing plants have had to close down due to the Covid-19 virus, but most people that I know in Iowa don’t have the virus or know anyone that does.

Why does that matter?  It is easier to drink the Kool-Aid of our president if the world events don’t directly affect the person. Midwesterners question everything – their government, the CDC, the World Health Organization, anyone trying to save us in this pandemic.

How do I know this? I was married to a Nebraskan who didn’t believe in car seats or seatbelts for our children. This is the same person who let our oldest with only a learner’s permit drive the whole family (except me) down the freeway for the first time in our Chevy Suburban.

The 1995 model didn’t have power anything, so it was literally like driving a truck. At 65 mph, with her younger siblings in the car.

But I digress.

Today, on Facebook, an Iowan I used to know posted a photo of a child adding two low numbers to reach a number in the thousands. The caption was something about the CDC exaggerating the number of peope with the virus. Clearly the woman doesn’t trust that government office.

I’ve heard this before from my worker woman who also doesn’t trust the numbers and says many people with “just the flu” got counted in the Covid-19 count.

Then there are the conspiracy theorists who say the whole thing is a sham. I asked one guy if that meant all the doctors and nurses, the ones pleading with us to stay home, are liars. His response was to send me one of his crack-pot videos that he watches ad nauseum.

Thus the ex in ex-boyfriend.

Okay, Midwesterners, maybe you don’t personally know anyone who has had this lung-eating virus, but I know four people who have recovered and one who probably won’t.  Their stories paint a much different picture than experiencing the typical seasonal flu.

Everyone is sick of discussing this, but it worries me that if a whole swath of states can go along believing this is a hoax or media hype or conspiracy, they are going to vote again for the guy who declares “fake news” as he creates fake news.

Both coasts are already blue. We coastal people know the reality of the lockdown. We are living it. We know people in the obituary pages. We’ve talked to people on Zoom who tell us what their symptoms Covid-19 were like.

We pray for friends’ parents who caught it in their nursing homes. We stay away from our own relatives in those facilities to keep them safe.

So even though you don’t believe in motorcycle helmets or viruses or taking a knee at a football game, you Midwesterners (my friends and relatives) need to walk around in my shoes for a day, and then you’ll see how real all of this is.

Just like the latest fashions, it might take a while, but it’s coming your way.



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