Real Iowans
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Following government and politics closely comes with the job I have. Most often, it's interesting and important. But the divisiveness of today's political scene along with the tone of social media attacks can get to be a little much at times. So it was last Friday.

As a way to disconnect from all of it, we went to the community celebration in Denver, Iowa, in Bremer County that night...the town of nearly 1,800 near where we live. It was Breakaway Days, and it served as a great reminder about what's really going on in the country.

The area of the park near the ball fields had a carnival and small midway. A flatbed truck held a band with lights and backdrop. The tennis courts served as the foundation for picnic tables and folding chairs. The food tent was to the west, and the beer tent to the north, where a $3 token could be exchanged for a can of beer on ice in a plastic tub.

Citizens of all ages were there, from the youngest children dancing in front of the band, to those who were old enough to remember the first such event, however many years ago. High school class reunions met in clusters here and there, people marveled at how fast the summer had gone, and neighbors who are too busy actually had time to talk with one another.

And amazingly, very few people stared at their phones.

At dusk, the band took a break and a fireworks show lit up the clear night sky. I had not seen a fireworks display in person in at least 20 years, and while I know pyrotechnics have advanced in that time, it was easily one of the best shows I've ever seen, regardless of the size of the town. Appropriate music played over the speakers, including a Lee Greenwood classic.

The world's problems and political in-fighting didn't end for those few hours. But it sure seemed like it, as real people gathered to talk about what they were really interested in...getting by day to day, raising families, celebrating the end of another work week.

What a great reminder of what's truly going on in our state and country, to put all the rest into proper perspective. Let's hope those who continue the partisan battles and sniping have a similar community celebration to experience.

And that's the Iowa Politics report for Friday, August 25, on twitter and instagram at iowapolitics. Listen to today's segment here:

  • @iowapolitics
    Jeff Stein is a national award-winning broadcaster, with 35 years of experience in Iowa radio and television. He has covered every Iowa presidential caucus since 1980, and has been a featured political analyst on the Fox News Channel, PBS News Hour, and various television and radio stations in Iowa. He also produces and hosts the syndicated "Iowa Almanac" daily feature, and the weekly public affairs program, "The IowaWatch Connection".

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