As far as the 2018 midterms go, Minnesota voted for some bold steps into a brighter, more inclusive future.
We stood behind Ilhan Omar, who paves the way as the first refugee, first Somali-American, and first Muslim woman to be elected to Congress. We ousted a three-term incumbent to elect Dave Hutchinson, the Midwest’s first openly gay sheriff. We sent two women to the United States Senate – Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith -- which is impressive when you consider there are 19 states that never have. And we rejected Doug Wardlow, a would-be attorney general who spent a number of years legally combatting the gay and trans communities’ insistence on... well, existing, really.
If you subscribe to the philosophy that we deserve to have a government that looks and acts more like the broad spectrum of people that call Minnesota home, then there’s a lot to celebrate this year.
But by the numbers, a majority of Minnesotans think the country overall is going down the tubes. A new survey by the Associated Press found that two-thirds of Minnesotans said that “the country is headed in the wrong direction.” The remaining third thinks things are on the up-and-up.
There isn’t much detail in the survey as to why Minnesotans think America is in such depressing straits. It did keep track of the issues of greatest concern: health care, primarily, followed by immigration. More than six in every 10 respondents said President Donald Trump played a role in how they voted, whether it was in support of or in spite of him.
One thing we do know: Most of the nation agrees with us. Roughly half of the country’s 50 states think things are going downhill, including New York, Hawaii, Delaware, Utah, and our weird neighbor, Wisconsin.
Another dozen and a half or so are “divided” on the subject, including Texas, Arizona, and Nebraska.
Only a handful are optimistic; they include Alabama, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
No two states -- and indeed, no two people -- feel exactly the same way, and there are probably just as many reasons for all the gloom as there are individuals who feel it.
Which makes it all the more important to celebrate our victories, to fully experience fleeting moments of state and national pride. We never know when the next one is going to be.