This part rang out as absolutely true to me:
I continue to ask myself: What do I want from a hometown?
I want to support public schools without compromising my son's education (which, at least until the current governor wins his war, was a safe assumption). I want to regularly see good live music and movies and art exhibits without wrestling with crowds or competing for tickets. I want at any given time not to be the only lefty in the room; otherwise, life is stressful, especially in this time of no common ground. I want evenings and weekends to be devoted to family time. I want to not worry about money, fashion, or what kind of car I drive. I want to comfortably afford to travel and own a nice home and not feel at all times like we need more space. I want to my son to grow up spending time—not just holidays—with his aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.
Of course there are people in coastal cities who have all of this—tons of them—but it's just easier here.
The greatest advantage of the Midwest, one that truly makes me wonder why it isn't a bigger draw, is that you don't have to choose between functional public schools and cheap real estate. That isn't true in most of the country.