Listening at Lost Nation

Shouting comes easily. Listening does not. Especially in February 2017.

Today’s Washington Post offers an exercise in listening to the real-life, on-the-ground voices of Iowans who voted for Donald Trump – who they are, why they did, and how they view him one month after his inauguration.

Click HERE for the story as told by Jenna Johnson who listened to ordinary folks in beer halls, barber shops, meat-processing plants, and places like the Pub Club in Lost Nation.

Does the piece have a bias? Of course it does, but it asks the questions and reports answers we otherwise might not hear. It begins:

“Tom Godat, a union electrician who has always voted for Democrats, cast his ballot for Donald Trump last year as ‘the lesser of two evils’ compared to Hillary Clinton.

“He’s already a little embarrassed about it.”

The point of view is biased. but it’s not fake. For those of us who are deeply troubled and unable to understand the results of the 2016 election, this reporter’s reporting of the real-life views of real-life people offers insight not available in the silo within which we live most of the time.

“On the other end of Clinton County is the tiny town of Lost Nation, where the president received 66 percent of the vote. On Wednesday night, a couple dozen local farmers and union guys gathered to play pool at the Pub Club, situated amid downtown storefronts that once contained a funeral home. (Beer is chilled where bodies were once stored.)”

Only by listening will people such as I begin to understand what happened last November and gather wisdom from beyond our silos to sustain us through this cold winter when soul food sometimes seems so far away.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 27, 2017.


3 thoughts on “Listening at Lost Nation

  1. More I recognize why I returned to Minnesota after my parents deaths and my completing my BCS degree at Minot state. It had more to do with the fact that i had learned to appreciate a wide diversity of people and ideas I found in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area, as did my children who had all been born here.

    It was the futile business of being unable to counter the parochial assumptions that were so pervasive, and often still are, though the population has fallen in the more rural parts of the state and a great percentage of the small towns and villages have become ghost towns. But there are some, FB friends from that area, who have become much closer… And the older generation I knew are pretty much all gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karin, there’s no shame in coming from North Dakota. This was in IA. It could be MN, WI, WV, PA, NE, SD – almost anywhere. There’s also a great wisdom among the farmers and the union guys/gals at the bar. They may, in the end, be the ones to bail us out of this.


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