People in the Midwest shy away from talking about politics in public because it’s considered, well, classless. You discuss politics in hushed voices around trusted friends, always mindful of not offending anyone. The rules are clear: never speak of money, religion or politics in “polite company.”
But lately I’ve been pondering if this rule of social etiquette is causing more harm than good. Are impolite voices getting attention because they’re louder—not because they have better ideas? Are those impolite voices discouraging good folks from participating in democracy?
Political issues are complicated. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t need government leaders to find solutions. Someone would have solved the problem already. Yet, we expect to boil these complicated issues down to a catch phrase. I don’t know about you—but I’m exhausted by the horse race coverage of politics which I feel pits Americans against each other in teams of winners and losers. I don’t think that sort of mentality helps us solve the big problems in front of us.
The idea for this site has been brewing in my mind since I left my job as an investigative reporter at KSHB-TV in Kansas City in 2015. I kept hearing from my friends that they desperately wanted a place that provided non-sensationalized political news coverage.
Now I’m a Midwesterner living in Washington, DC. After a year and a half working with an open government nonprofit, I’m now taking some time off to write my capstone for my master’s at American University. I have a little free time and have pondered what I could do to bridge the gap between the Midwest and Washington. With the support of friends and family, I’m finally courageous enough to start this site.
My hope is to write about some of the issues Midwesterners might care about, explain which lawmakers are working on those issues, and provide context to understand the process. My hope is by offering this information, you can have your own thoughtful political discussions and figure out where you are called to participate in our democracy.
It may be a little Pollyanna-ish—but I believe it is the dedicated, polite company who will make a difference in this world.
May we always remember the famous quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
My dream for this site will be realized if you find the information you need to act to make this world a better place.
Let the conversation between polite company begin.