Last week, I wrote about Red Flag Laws and how they are not effective but, instead they are a knee-jerk reaction to do something. I was reminded by several responses that in Iowa we are often shielded from some of the worst because of our “Midwestern values”. I started thinking about Midwest values and thought that would be a great follow-up to my past article.
First, I must define Midwest values because we always talk about them. What exactly are they? Midwest values include: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, hard work, honesty, modesty, lack of pretension, your word is your bond, always lend a helping hand, never stand by and tolerate injustice or suffering, your name/reputation/character is your most prized possession. Aversion to shiny objects and flashy ways (consumerism, political spin, fast talkers, etc.). Gratitude for the simple things, good food, health, the love of family, shelter, friends and community. Pulling together when needed yet giving each other space to live independently.
The above items came up in a web-search, but I would also add god-fearing, church-going and more important living in a way that demonstrates the values taught in almost every church in the world: The Ultimate Commandment of love thy neighbor as thyself, and any of the other Commandments.
Why are Midwest values important anyway? I believe with all my being that these values are the foundation to the greatness of our State and our Country, and we should be proud of them. These values have served us well in making Iowans sought after by many businesses and organizations because we are hard-working and honest, yet don’t need to have someone look over our shoulder because we can do our own thing as well.
More importantly, and a partial point I was making my newsletter from last week regarding Red Flag laws is that, here in Iowa, family, friends, and community are important and we pride ourselves in those values.
I worry that we aren’t placing as much importance on those values as we used to. A few days ago, I watched a bus load of people, with standing room only, and was shocked that none of the youngsters (teenagers) offered their seat to any of the older women who were standing on the bus. That really offended my Midwest values and got me to thinking that many of our social issues that we deal with could be fixed if we simply returned to our “good ol’ Midwest values”.
Not only should we strengthen and enhance our Midwest values, but we should promote and spread those values throughout the entire country. If you remember in last week’s newsletter, I talked about 4 issues that all mass shooters seem to share. Those issues include: 1) coming from a single-family home, 2) suffering a major trauma in their young life, 3) no friends or support system, 4) a sense of hopelessness.
I look at those values above and think they could help with 3 of the 4 issues that mass shooters, and I dare to say almost every person in the world who is suffering through their issue.
I was criticized in my newsletter last week by two or three individuals because I brought God into the issue of mass shootings. The criticisms suggested that religion couldn’t help with mass shootings and that we need more gun control because that is the only thing that will solve this problem.
I am fully willing and able to say that Midwest values, of which God is a part, can do a lot more than help with mass shootings, mental health, and all kinds of other problems but is something we should be proud and tout to the rest of the country as the right thing! Imagine the many problems that could be solved if the Midwest values were the values of our whole country.