A Sesquicentennial in the Spring of Our Discontent

Older generations often talk wistfully of times past – an
era when candy was a nickel and hookers cost but sixpence. And with Minnesota’s sesquicentennial occurring this year, the temptation to romanticize is pushed even farther, with tales of subzero temperatures, white out conditions, and devouring small children to survive winter’s lean times bandied about like so many empowering after-school special style messages delivered by Hillary Duff.

But is it really a terrible thing that our civic and
nationalistic zeal is at an all-time low? It should certainly come as no surprise when our state legislature and governor have only in the last few days been able to stop offering a combination of absurd budget proposals and Yo’ Momma jokes and actually sit down to hammer out a compromise that may prevent nearly 10 percent tuition hikes at the U, the loss of $450 million in Federal money, and the rising use of ninjas in foreclosure cases. Plus, with disapproval of the president at an all-time high of 67 percent, the country hemorrhaging money and global goodwill in Iraq
faster than Delta’s top execs , and the American dollar nearly equal to the vile Canadian Loon, it would seem to many that we have precious little to be proud of in
these troubled times.

So, with the state legislature bickering over property tax caps and whether Minneapolis police officers will soon have the power to
pull over downtown revelers, hot chick and douchebag alike, who may be too tipsy to remember their seatbelts, not to mention turning on their headlights, turning off the windshield wipers, or perhaps even closing the door, Minnesota
Statehood Week could not possibly come at a better time. From May 11-May 18 we’ll have ample opportunity to think fondly of the days when Minnesota’s politicians were simply bald-faced land grabbers, rather than two-faced opportunists. Best of all, to celebrate Minnesota’s statehood, a Dunlap Broadside – one of the original 25 copies of the Declaration of Independence made on the evening of the Declaration’s signing – is on display until the 18th
at the Minnesota History Center.

This may seem like grasping at straws to the nihilists out there, but the ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence, in combination with our Constitution, are the foundation upon which our country’s eminence
rests. As such, having this document in the state, touched by the founding fathers and imbued with the words that justified the formation of our country as it is, is a rather momentous occasion. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt anyone
to reacquaint themselves with these words – especially those in our legislative and executive branches who don’t seem to understand that even well-intentioned political gamesmanship has, on occasions throughout history, been met with
something less than the accolades politicians hope for from their constituency.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have
connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they
should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such
form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath
shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same
Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.