Hello, fellow Republicans! OK, full disclaimer time: I must say that “fellow” may not perfectly capture the true essence of my perceived relationship with you and yours, but nevertheless, welcome, welcome, welcome.
I have no doubt your party planners have you on a strict schedule of events right up until your nappy time at 4 a.m., when some of your conference rooms will be forced to shut down. But if you do have a moment, I’d love to show you around our fair metropolis. All aboard!
I call this first part the Bridges Tour — if you’ve ever been to London (or maybe you, too, take pride in never setting foot outside of our own nation — well done!), you may have taken the beautiful Bridges Walking Tour. We have a slightly smaller version, but here are the highlights: the site of the collapsed I-35W bridge, and the site of the I-35E bridge which, one day last month, attempted to collapse (amusing aside: St. Paul always does things on a smaller scale than Minneapolis). The more curious of you might ask how this happened. It’s at this point that I must do a little do-si-do and attempt to answer as tactfully as I can. Let’s see, how best to put this … Well, there are certain, ahem, segments of our political world that, uh, feel it’s better to not invest in infrastructure upkeep and that, well, government should actually be cut back to the point of being drowned in a bathtub, or river, if you prefer. That may have had something to do with it. No further questions, moving on!
Some of you may have heard that the Twin Cities takes pride in its support of the arts. Let me assure those of you who might be slightly suspect of high cul-tyoor, that we also have bow-koo folks who wouldn’t think of entering a theatre or museum lest they be too pooped for their hunting, ATV riding, or proselytizing. Feel better? Good! On your right is the spectacular new Guthrie Theatre. We’re extremely proud of this beautiful building. Whoda thunk an arts organization could revive a part of town that, for decades, had been dedicated to surface lots and a big yellow liquor store? Also of note is that it was designed by the French archi —, I mean, an architect who comes from Fran—, uh, it was designed by a man who, presumably, believes in the importance of Freedom! Yee-haw!
Next up, let me take you to a part of town that I know is not on any other organized tour you might be taking. We call it North Minneapolis. The capital “N” in North indicates that it’s more than a directional adjective; it’s a reference to a way of life. And right now, it’s a way of life with a disproportionately high foreclosure rate. Notice the boarded up windows and doors. Anybody counting? If you’ve lost track in several hundreds, that’s correct. It’s a doubling of where we were at this time last year. Now there are some in our midst — not me! — who would suggest it might be time to re-introduce the concept of stricter governmental regulation. Once you’re done laughing and have collected yourselves, let’s move on.
Final stop (no pun intended) — Lakewood Cemetery. Here is where two famous Minnesotans, Hubert Humphrey and Paul Wellstone, are buried. They were great Americans who advocated not for the richest 1 percent of our population, but for the poorest and underserved. Both men fought long and hard for what they felt was morally right, not just politically expedient. Greater public servants could not be found in our midst.
No, wait! That was a slip! Get back on the bus … I promise I’ll take you to Mall of America … Come back!
Glenn Miller and his wife Jocey Hale live in the Fulton Neighborhood. They love showing off their city to out-of-town visitors.