But not quite yet. Among other things, people will start going on recess soon enough, and they're all celebrating Christmas, but I'm thinking that right around New Year's Day, I might be sending out these letters, and additionally, the emails of all of the rest of Iowa's state congressmen are publicly available on the the government website. Until then, I will be thinking through my case so I can build it into something compelling. Iowa has every reason to change its anthem. The main challenge to changing it (and I must admit, my real-world experience tells me that it will be significant) is that people really don't like to change things. Politicians, amirite? Stodgy people who don't take their constituents seriously if they're not petitioning for something that fits into a readily recognizable political narrative. Pfaah!
Anyway, I'm pretty sure it should be self evident to y'all why Iowa's anthem needs changing. Here it is:
Wait, sorry, I had a technical error. This is Iowa's state anthem.
Ho. ly. Cow. I'm sorry if that gave you whiplash. And no, this isn't a joke. I'm not jigging your leg. That's actually Iowa's official anthem. There is literally onely one good thing about that song, and it's Maryland also rips off its tune from "O Christmas Tree", so we don't have to feel so bad. And Maryland has Michael Phelps, Savior of the Universe, King of the Impossible, Medals Be Upon Him, so by a very distant stretch, I guess I could say that Iowans have something in common with The Phelps that most other Americans don't.
But seriously? "O Christmas Tree"? Iowa already has a reputation for being bland and forgettable, and continuing to use this song that nobody cares about only contributes to that. Look at the Kansas theme: "Home on the Range". See? Isn't that much better? People actually know that one and like it! It gives Kansas a good reputation. Plus it's the home of Dorothy Gale and Clark Kent, so they're cultural legacy is set.
Here's an idea: ifi you're going to borrow music, at least borrow music that has something at least tangentially related to their state. West Virginia made "Take Me Home, Country Roads" their national anthem, because they were sensible and realized that people love John Denver and that it basically was the song that best represented their state. West Virginia would be cool if it used that song, so it did. Because why settle for something else when you already have something perfect wrapped and packaged for you? Oklahama is likewise wise, picking what else but the titular song from "Oklahoma!" to be their state standard. Do you see how easy that it?
It might be tempting to give Indiana a similar treatment by paying John Williams some royalties to use that one march of his as their anthem, but as it happens, Indiana already has a decent ballad from the 19th century.
Iowa, however, does not have a decent original ballad, so what are Iowans to do? What piece of music out there is indispensably associated with Iowa?
Ah, remember that Star Trek theme that I just shared? As every Iowan knows, the future Captain James Tyberius Kirk was born in Iowa. Ergo, Star Trek is a quintessential part of the Iowa's state mythology. This is what I personally would make Iowa's anthem. I just need Kim Reynolds to call Jerry Goldmith's estate, and Paramount Pictures, and basically whoever else she needs to sweet talk and pay off in order to get permission to use it when representing the state of Iowa. Aaaaaand BOOM! You have a great national melody. All you need to do from there is replace all of those nonsense "O Iowa! You're so pretty! Ain't we nice? Don't we all like our state? Iowa! O Iowa!" lyrics with something more sensible and imaginative so that you aren't singing about the exact same things as all of the other states. Create lyrics that actually describe what makes Iowa unique! Tell us about how Iowa was founded! Give people a sense of history and identity!
There you go. Except when I write my letters, I will probably have to drop all references to Star Trek if I want to be taken seriously by the politicians who may or may not bother reading them. Which is why I need to take some time to think through a serious proposal and maybe come up with a draft for a song myself, even though I'm not a musician. So by that, what I really mean is that I need to write up some poetry having to do with Iowa's history and then ask a friend who's a musician to compose a hopefully good proposition for a melody to go with it, and then my friend can be a co-signer in my petition. I'm thinking of a march, definitely in major. Hopefully Goldsmith or Williams-esque without overtly lifting anything from them.
And then I'm going to fail, but when I inevitably try again sometime down the road, I will be far more researched and have a serious game plan for changing Iowa's anthem. Because as small and as trivial as it seems, at least I will feel that I made a difference as one person, and I can confidently say that this would be something in history that wouldn't have inevitably happened without me.