Raised on a farm in Northern Minnesota, the annual cycles of nature and agriculture, from sterility, to the bright green of rebirth, to death and decay, are etched upon the core of who I am. The sweetly disgusting smell of fertilizer spread on crops is forever just a sensory memory away.
The organic analogy, naturally, has always come easily to me, whether in speaking or writing. The organic government, the organic business, the organic society. Nothing can grow in sterile soil, nothing can flourish without sunlight and water.
This may be an odd and long way to begin a comment on the current status of Minnesota’s bonding bill and the vetoes that have jeopardized both the light rail and the Asian Pacific Cultural Center in the Twin Cities. I find myself weighing the role of the government in “nurturing” and “growing” our society. The APCC is a project that takes very proactive steps to help a community grow, become stronger and bring together old and new in order to develop a vital and novel identity.
However, does the government have a place in helping the Hmong, Asian-Pacific Islanders, and other immigrant communities become a more integrated part of the country? The government didn’t do much to help the Irish immigrants a century ago, for example – there was no “Irish American Community Center” built to celebrate Irish heritage while at the same time helping to foster some new, Pan-European American Identity.
We live, however, in a new era, with new challenges. Immigrants have always flocked to America because it has been seen as a land of opportunity and equality, a place to build a better life. In this new age, the government of the State of Minnesota cannot afford NOT to play an active role in fostering a stronger civil society. It’s so important that people from around the world continue to want to come here, continue to see Minnesota and the USA as a place where life can indeed be better.
Projects like the Asian Pacific Cultural Center ensure the vitality of our civil society, the success of our economy, and harmony within our diversity.
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