A large bonfire at dusk on flatland with a cornfield in the background.
Allegan County NYE bonfire. Photo by Jimmy K.

Out With The Old

By Kathleen Schenck
January 10, 2019

Holland Weekly is back after a restorative winter break. We hope you had some quality down time, too.

We continue to seek and share true stories told by real people. Too often we hear claims that all Midwesterners think, act, look, or vote a particular way. We hear this in the news but also in casual conversations with friends, family, or colleagues from other parts of the country.

Most recently, a piece from a Princeton history professor¬†stated,¬†“Though it is true that there are many Democrats in middle America who would never support Ocasio-Cortez’s basic agenda, Republicans and moderate Democrats should not underestimate what she brings to the table.” “Middle America,” usually capitalized, can refer culturally to the small town, white, middle class voter, or geographically to the Midwest. The two definitions are regularly conflated, and the term has become synonymous with conservatism.

But the demographics of small town USA have changed, as have perspectives.

Let’s remember that California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, to name a few of the so-called “liberal bastions” on the coasts, voted for Senator Clinton in the 2016 primary. Michigan voted for Bernie Sanders, as did Indiana and Wisconsin, to name a few of the states with a supposed monopoly on “moderate Democrats.”

I live in Holland, and I am excited to see what newcomers Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan’s own Rashida Tlaib bring to the table. They’ve already brought hope, which is huge.

One-dimensional claims fail to paint an accurate picture of who we are as Midwesterners, and the painters fail to recognize our inherent diversity. Holland Weekly aims to combat these stereotypes by publishing articles written by the people who are living and breathing the stories they tell.

Holland Weekly chose as the cover photo for our first issue of 2019 a picture of a friend’s bonfire, shown above, in Allegan County on New Year’s Eve. May we all ignite warmth and leave behind the gray ash of rotted wood. Here’s to the new year.

Holland Weekly welcomes your letters to the editor at hollandweekly@gmail.com.