Monday, November 12, 2012

Tolerance: Edina, Minnesota Style

    A story on the website of Minnesota Public Radio asks the question: "What did the election mean? Look at Edina."  The story begins with a focus on a man and his 22 year old son who are described as follows:
Edina resident Dan Atkins, left, and his son Nick Atkins, 22, consider themselves right-leaning independents who voted for Democrats in the last election because they don't like the Republican Party's focus on social issues and the marriage amendment. 
    The son speaks first:
Edina resident Nick Atkins, 22, was among those dissatisfied with the status quo.
"There's literally no sense of compromise," he said. "The greatness of the independents is you can go to either side. You can be like, 'Hey, let's work, let's find some middle ground.' The problem is, there is no middle ground. There are just heads bashing. Nothing productive is being accomplished."
    The father then sharpens the focus on the real issue, which as the rest of the article lays out, is the Republicans, and especially the social issues:
He describes himself a fierce independent, as does his 53-year-old father, Dan Atkins, who for most of his life thought of himself as a Republican. In recent years, the elder Atkins said, he had no choice but to claim a new political identity.
"The Republicans did that, actually," he said. "The social conservatives' insistence on hammering through what they think is right basically made me not a Republican.
    But it was the elder Atkins's comment on the "progressive" shift in Edina that caught my eye, though it passes unremarked upon in the article.
Atkins' shift is representative of Edina's growing unpredictability at the polls. He and many of his neighbors are fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. Edina is now considered a swing district, even though Atkins recalls not too long ago, it was a reliably Republican area.
"I remember walking around the Creek Valley Elementary School when I was in 4th grade," Dan Atkins said. "It was 1968. And kids were chanting, 'Nixon, Nixon, he's our man! Humphrey belongs in the garbage can!' Seriously, you would never see that now. It's very progressive socially. If you bullied somebody at Edina High School because they were gay, you'd get beat up. That's how progressive it is. What's not tolerated is ignoramuses."
    So now it is "progressive" to be intolerant  of "ignoramuses"?  How much of a stretch it would be for religious people, people who believe in low taxes, and people who believe abortion is wrong to be labeled “ignoramuses”?  If so, tolerance isn’t necessary.  Maybe even a good beating would be in order.  On one hand, "tolerance" isn't what it used to be.  But apparently in Edina, Minnesota, quite literally this is your father's tolerance.

No comments:

Post a Comment