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Living in Society

Reaching For Status Quo

Voter turnout was high during the recent school board election. The result wasn’t what many had hoped. The election was revealing, just in case we weren’t paying attention during the 2020 general election: conservative voters are rising.

In our school district there were no claims of fraud in the election and almost everyone appears to have accepted the results. One candidate decided to pursue removal of their child from the district after seeing what the electorate had wrought. The simple truth is we live in Iowa and this election result mirrors the state more generally. People have created a life around what they know and don’t want to change. They prefer the status quo.

Change is coming, like it or not because what society is experiencing with extreme weather, agriculture, and work life is not sustainable. The impact for the electorate will be for the majority to further entrench themselves in conservative values. It goes beyond the school board to include religion, women’s rights, agriculture, shopping, coping with this and other infectious disease outbreaks, greenhouse gas emissions, extreme weather, work life, LGBTQ+ rights, the whole shebang. Iowa is in for tough times ahead.

Conservatives I know are good people. The disconnect comes in avoidance of politics in everyday discourse. It is not surprising conservatives feel the litmus test for a candidate is whether or not they approve of abortion. What is surprising is how well this belief is kept hidden and how little people talk about their politics in society. We shouldn’t be surprised when these attitudes show up at the polls.

There is not much to do except go on living. For me that means talking more to neighbors and engaging in community activities as a first priority. I used to work to influence people statewide yet I’m not sure I would do it again.

When I was on the county board of health we addressed the challenges to health of coal-fired power plants with board of health members statewide. I sent a letter to many of them. One chiropractic orthopedist wrote back, “While I can appreciate your immediacy to the proposed power plant, I take exception to the global warming spreading paranoia over an unfounded politically contrived ’emergency.’ We as humans do not control the warming or cooling of the earth. The research is bogus that claims such… In my opinion the global warming paranoia is a Democratic manufactured ploy to simply increase government control of its people.” At least I got him to say what he really means.

I don’t know what “status quo” is other than a good headline. It is malleable, yet people have their limits. There is a lot to do in modern lives and many don’t want to reach much beyond their comfort zone.

To make progress as society, we must.

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