Our opinion: We need to try harder

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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Last week’s news, that several health workers were being threatened in the communities they visited, should trigger a good hard look at what it means to be “Minnesota Nice” if we want to continue using that term.

A program by the Minnesota Department of Health was sending survey teams to communities in order to collect data on how the coronavirus was spreading.

Then news started circulating that these teams were being harassed, sometimes including racial slurs, in the communities they visited.

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In the community of Eitzen, which sits just off the Iowa border in Houston County, it was alleged that the team there was boxed in by vehicles as they attempted to survey the community.

“The team felt the intent was clearly to intimidate and scare them,” Stephanie Yendell was quoted as saying in a Minnesota Public Radio story. Yendell supervised Minnesota’s role in the survey. “Unfortunately that wasn’t the only incident.”

Eitzen Mayor Jeff Adamson disputed the incident while pointing out that city leaders weren’t notified, feeling that the community should get an apology.

Regardless of the he said, they said situation in Eitzen, there is enough evidence to show incidents  did take place throughout the state and what’s more, even in the light of what may or may not have happened, we currently live in a time where nobody is going to be surprised if it did happened.

What’s more, many will either not care or agree with the citizens and their tactics against people who were only trying to carry out a job in an attempt to help stem the tide of the coronavirus in Minnesota, which is currently seeing a rise in case numbers throughout the state.

For years, the people of this state have prided ourselves on being a nice and welcoming people, but this latest incident seems to put a chink in that logic. Naturally, we can’t paint everybody in the state with just a broad stroke, but we should point out that this and other incidents carried out by by people on both sides of this new divide is a troubling trend throughout our nation.

We’ve forgotten, or conveniently ignored for the sake of one argument or another, what it’s like to be rational in the face of a global trend of negativity.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no real end to this trend. At some point, someone is going to have to be the grown up in the room and in a state that prides itself on such niceties, people had better start getting out of their chairs.