I have more than a few acquaintances who are pessimistically viewing the upcoming election as a “dumpster fire” — no good choice, no decent alternative, no hopeful outcome.
I can understand their angst and anguish, but I have no doubt this Republic will survive.
I begin with the fact we still have a free press in America, reporters willing to ask tough questions and sort through complex documents.
They’ve been persistent, insistent and consistent in their coverage of this year’s election.
I have no doubt they’ll continue in their watchdog role, whether they work for websites, national newspapers, networks or alternative weeklies.
New voices, faces
This year the disaffected in America — white males feeling left behind in the economic recovery and college students feeling left out by party professionals — got their chance to be heard.
They didn’t whisper or whimper.
They hollered and whooped, for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
And all the political parties were forced to pay attention.
Just as the new voices were being heard, new faces are being seen around the country — immigrants, refugees, new citizens who add to the diversity, intensity, vitality and energy in America.
While I can understand fears about terrorists and troublemakers, the overwhelming effect of the newcomers is positive, no more so than in Minnesota.
They roof houses, gut turkeys, drive taxis, serve food and design software.
And now a few sit on city councils, school boards and in the Minnesota Legislature.
The evidence is obvious when I drive down University Avenue in St. Paul or Lake Street in Minneapolis — a Vietnamese restaurant, a Hmong market, a Somali grocery, a Cambodian dress shop and a Mexican mall.
The invigorated avenues are the result of new blood, brains and brawn.
For those old-timers who harbor prejudices against immigrants, I have a piece of advice: Get over it. In all likelihood, you’ll end up being lifted, assisted, fed and clothed by someone whose parents weren’t born in America.
Change marches on
I want to be accepting of most of the changes that confront us.
And I believe we’ve put a few divisive issues behind us: Hardly anyone under age 30 rejects equal rights for gays and lesbians.
Interracial couples are now as common as Pronto Pups and French fries at the Minnesota State Fair.
Minnesota companies, including Xcel and 3M, are leaders in promulgating alternative energy and sustainability, even if lawmakers are slower to react.
Perhaps even more encouraging is a recent survey of high school scholars that found young people are looking for employers committed to the environment, social causes, communities, teamwork and flexible schedules.
They appear committed to the kind of country I believe Michelle Obama described in her speech at the Democratic National Convention: “That is the story of this country, the story that brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the sting of segregation, but who kept striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house built by slaves.”
Yep, we’ll get past this election and we’ll move forward.
As a group, we do have good hearts, decent instincts and strong wills. They’re what make America great and always have — for generations now.