Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Feeling Minnesota

Greetings from Minnesota, where my brother is now married, small pellets of ice are hitting the streets along the university, and the Internet cafe where I have checked my e-mail on Minneapolis trips since the dawn of the millennium has sometime in the past year become a Vietnamese restaurant. Parking's a pain, too -- I almost went into The Minnesota Daily parking lot to see if I could get a spot there. Do you think they'd be impressed that I was a columnist in 1998?

Brother's wedding went off yesterday nearly gaffe-free. And the gaffe was a "we'll-laugh-at-this-later" gaffe -- everyone showed up at the reception an hour earlier than anticipated, and the supper club was locked, leaving us all sitting in our cars with the heaters on as 10-degree windchills whipped the plain. Today's been devoted to rekindling friendships. Judging from yard signs in my friends' neighborhoods, Kerry's going to take Minnesota easily -- of course, my friends tend to live in neighborhoods that tend to do things like pass resolutions opposing the Iraq war. A bit skewed. My father, who is much more conservative and lives in the rural northern part of the state, notes that he hasn't seen many yard signs at all, and when they do, they tend to be Bush signs. Tonight I plan to stay in my hotel room and watch political ads, switching to another channel as soon as a program begins so I can find more ads.

It will be one of my life's more pathetic evenings. But it's truly what I want to do. And I'm not as sick of them. I don't live in a swing state.

That's the mixed blessing of Minnesota this year -- lots and lots and lots of attention from all the Washington people, trying to shape minds. But that's something I like about America. Most countries, folks who live in the capital city just sort of dictate what happens, and if the people everywhere else don't like it, the capital sends in the tanks to quell 'em down. In Ameirca, if the people everywhere else don't like what comes from the capital, they can change who's running it -- and the cap city people are painfully aware of that, and they come to the hinterlands, checks for ad buys in hand.

Yes, the system isn't perfect -- my description only applies to about 20 states this year, and the ways of the Beltway have a heavy-handedness to them that's painfully apparent when you turn on a Minnesota TV set. But I'll trust the Minnesotans. They're paying attention, they'll add their votes, and whatever comes out in the end, the people who should hold the power will have spoken. I'll keep that in mind when I'm back at work on Tuesday.