There is talk in Iowa about a new state slogan. We have this exercise every few years. And it never seems to go well.
It’s akin to the debate over whether someone should be permitted to show the confederate flag. Although the Iowa slogan seems to arouse more emotion because we take our label so personally.
One year hundreds of people were angered by the suggestion “Iowa: A State of Minds.”
It reminded some residents of the altered state of minds visitors sought after hearing that Iowa had the best wild marijuana in the nation.
Yep, there it was. Right next to the highway. Ready for the picking at your next pot stop.
There was a brief populist movement for “Iowa: More Pigs Than People.” It was difficult to decipher whether the goal was to attract or repel potential residents. It probably stemmed from a pipe dream induced after an aromatic moment along Iowa’s very high highways.
We had “The Corn State” emblazoned on vehicular license plates in the mid 1950s. True, but it inspired a “so what” reaction. The phrase was scrapped after two years.
We missed the opportunity to cash in on our quadrennial courtship with presidential hopefuls and national media when we failed to copyright “Iowa Nice.”
Instead our western neighbor Nebraska grabbed that slogan with her catchy “Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice.”
We could have retaliated with the corny “Iowa—Nicer,” but that sounds like sour grapes.
You can buy suggestive T-shirts and mugs boasting “We Do Amazing Things With Corn.” That’s perhaps better left to the imagination than affixed to state promotional paraphernalia.
When you think of Iowa you think of agriculture. But that’s misleading. More than half of Iowa workers are employed in service industry and manufacturing sectors.
And Des Moines is second only to Hartford, Connecticut as an insurance giant.
Despite the state’s diverse economy, those who draft the next Iowa slogan undoubtedly will try to perpetuate the brand of Iowa as rooted in agribusiness. A truth that ignores the larger reality.
I’d like to see a competition for a new slogan. Let every Iowan suggest a phrase and let’s recognize the winner.
I already have a few ideas.