A couple things to reflect on on this 4th of July 2011. The history channel has been running a series called "How the States Got Their Shapes". The title is self-explanatory, but watching it, it occured to me how stable this country has been in the last 150 years or so. We've had the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and the War on Terrorism, yet we've stayed together, 50 (since 1959) states, all separate but still together. The borders have not changed in the 48 contiguous states since Arizona and New Mexico were added in 1912. Look at the borders of Africa...it doesn't pay to buy a globe because civil wars in that continent change the borders of different countries every year it seems. Even Europe has redrawn their borders many times since the start of the 20th Century. Yet America, with all it's strife and political turmoil, has stayed stable through it all.
I've lived in my neighborhood in Northwest Willmar since 1990...21 years. There's a blue house on a corner that, since I've lived here, has been very quiet, occupied by an elderly couple. This spring, they moved out and an hispanic family moved in. On Saturday they had a child's birthday party there that raised the roof...blasting music, from tejano to electronica, a pinata that looked like Woody from Toy Story, and literally hundreds of kids, both brown and white playing in the yard and street. While some in the neighborhood might have grumbled from the commotion, I just has to smile. In one day that 100 year old house likely had more people there than in it's entire previous history. I hope that child had a blast! Only in America.
I have to hand the governor an our legislators trophies for what they've accomplished. Of course, the trophy would resemble what horses have been leaving behind at today's 4th of July parades. Governor Dayton...bravo, for stirring up class warfare. His insistance that the rich aren't paying their "fair share" of taxes, even though what that small percentage pays literally funds most of our government, has succeeded in causing not only a partisan but also an economic divide in Minnesota. And great news, DFL...the public is blaming the Republicans for the government shutdown, according to the polls...it looks like you'll get your power back in the 2012 elections. It makes you wonder if that's what Dayton had in mind all along. It's heartwarming to hear the Twin Cities media talk to out-of-work state employees who say they don't care because if the GOP budget plan would have passed they would be even worse off. And GOP, congratulations yourselves...from what I hear, Dayton was going to drop his tax increase on the rich, but you also wanted to include social issues in a special session. You already got the definition of marriage amendment on the ballot for next year...why not wait on the other stuff until the 2012 session? Your greed may end up costing you in the 2012 elections. Minnesota has often been pointed to by other states and the federal government as a state that does things right. Now it's the laughing stock of the nation, a bellweather of what's wrong nationwide. A deep partisan divide with both sides thinking they have a mandate from the people, and an obligation not to give in, not to compromise. Quit catering to the extreme right and extreme left and take care of the majority of people in the middle.