We admit that this is entirely anecdotal and that the Minnesota state government has only been shut down for a few days, but it is nevertheless enlightening to see that chaos doesn’t necessarily ensue when Medium Brother goes away.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune tells what’s happened in the Land of 10,000 Lakes when the state government shut down in a budget dispute between Republicans and Democrats:
Bob Gehlen had a whiskey and Coke in one hand, and a fistful of opinions on the state government shutdown in the other.
“I think we ought to shut down the government for a year,” said the former Marine, standing at the Elks Lodge bar on bingo night. “It really hasn’t had any impact.”
There are lots of towns like Hutchinson across Minnesota, scarcely touched so far by the shutdown, now in its 12th day. Court-ordered spending has kept money flowing to enough bedrock services — from schools to courts to health programs — that many here hardly worry whether the shutdown will continue.
Misty Uecker and her mother still get crowds at their antique store, the Treasure Shed. Mona Wehde, trying to sell a Cadillac with a hole in the radiator one sticky summer afternoon, was surprised to hear the state had also had a partial shutdown in 2005. Chris Rueb was happy with his new job, and had trouble figuring out how often he needed something from the state. “Not that often, really, to tell you the truth,” he said, pausing during a workout at a fitness center. “I work and go home, and that’s about it.”
The news that at least 60 families in McLeod County might lose their state-assisted child care because of the shutdown? Crowded off page 1 of the Hutchinson Leader by a story about longtime local doctor George “Buzzy” Smith, dead at age 91.
Instead, the shutdown seems to nibble at the edges in this town of 15,000 residents. Jenna Nagy, a teenage lifeguard at the municipal pool, hopes her July 28 state driving test won’t be canceled. Carol Simondet had to change her family’s camping plans when Glacial Lakes State Park closed (the backup plan meant camping in a city park in Olivia, where her sister lives). “We just got around it,” Simondet said. “It’s disappointing, of course.”
Disappointing. If that’s the worst word Minnesota residents can come up with to describe a state government shut down, we say bring it on.
Thomas Jefferson said, “That government is best which governs least.” These days he might just find Minnesota more appealing than Virginia.
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune