We will get by



From some slumber may I rise today startled by a dream that Steve King is heading home to Kiron, for good. But here we sit on election eve not knowing how all that hash will fry out. You could hope that things quiet down and that we could come together, but the 2020 Iowa Caucus cycle has already begun. No rest from the TV ads of doom.

Having just come through a nasty midterm election you could hope that we all just move forward. There is always hope. When you clear out all the Facebook memes you can’t get away from the fact that we’re all stuck here together in Buena Vista County. Democrat Tom Grau of Newell and Republican Jan Worthan of Storm Lake are related, after all, nothing they can do about that, and want to get along and like each other so they do.

One of my Trump-supporting friends who reads this paper religiously skips right past this column and on to the obituaries, and I ignore him when he talks smack about Democrats. We move on to Packer-Viking debates, and find common ground in the conversation that it’s tough for a small independent operator to make it in a conglomerate world.

The Storm Lake City Council is making steady, if not slow progress on streets and garbage collection. Everyone mourned the loss of Councilman Bruce Carlson to a heart attack. The council will appoint a replacement to fill out his term. Let’s hope members invite a woman back to the table. We miss Julie Egland and Sara Huddleston (who are from opposite political poles but worked side-by-side for years). Councilmen Dan Smith and Bruce Engelmann are two of the nicest people you will ever meet, different as they are.

Everyone in Alta and Aurelia knows that Rep. Dan Huseman is no Donald Trump. He is just a conservative farmer who knows how tough it is to earn a buck, so he squeezes every penny. And he wants to make sure that the Alta-Aurelia School is strong going forward. When it counts, he is always there for the local concerns. He is as much responsible for clean water in Storm Lake as anyone, and it isn’t even his district.

The Alta City Council will continue to work with poor mobile home residents to improve their lot. They have come to a new understanding and dialogue after being at the brink of eviction.

The Buena Vista Board of Supervisors will build bridges and resurface roads. They aren’t arguing over politics that much because they know that nobody in Sioux Rapids is interested. They just want to make sure the River Road is clear. The board has to listen to the aggrieved neighbors to a huge livestock confinement. It tends to temper you to seek middle ground, even when state rules won’t allow it.

The noise over immigration won’t go away. It won’t until the problem is solved, and it was not by Tuesday’s election. It won’t get solved until at least 2020 because the system does not want it to be solved for sundry crass reasons. But we the people do — King and Scholten voters each want an orderly system that respects ambition and our tradition of liberty. If we persist, the problem will get solved and the fear will get snuffed, for awhile, until it has to be stamped out again.

We will find an answer to Iowa’s water quality problems no matter the elections, because Nature will demand it. Farmers are interested in cover crops not because a state ag secretary told them to be. They’re sick of losing money and soil. Profit and loss statements will determine how we approach the land, and increasingly they suggest that the current structure is not financially or environmentally sustainable. Iowans are figuring that out day by day, season by season, with or without the legislature.

The Storm Lake School Board will find a way to serve a growing district with modern facilities. Storm Lake always has. Sometimes it takes a try or three. But we move forward, together. Rick Peterson was a stock broker, not a socialist, and he is the one leading a charge for a new early childhood education center. It’s hard for a critic to suggest that Peterson doesn’t care about nickels and dimes — he is a CPA. And he and a lot of people like him are proud that The City Beautiful always steps up.

So before we dive into the angst and despair mixed with hope and prayer of the 2020 cycle — multiply the intensity times five over the midterms — it is good to take a slight pause today and remember that things go along pretty well here, and this is where democracy is protected, at the local level. This is where the pothole gets fixed and the teacher aide budget gets set. This is a place where people row together, pretty much, despite our biennial kerfuffles that seem like blood feud in the middle of it. It’s why we live here, because this is where Tom Grau’s and Jan Worthan’s people are from.