Am I allowed a little bit of civic pride at the calm and class shown by Minnesotans as they appear in television interviews this week after the bridge collapse? I'm not talking about the scramble of volunteers that poured onto the scene without being asked, answering an unspoken social contract; that might be seen in any place. What I'm talking about is the absence of trailer park interviews featuring questions like "how did you feel when you realized the person you love most in the world was crushed by concrete?"
In every interview I've seen, local politicians and rescue workers have, without cant, given a clear articulate status report and without fail, directed the media away from the anguished families with a gentle admonition to leave the victims alone with their grief. The survival stories coming out of the event have increased us rather than diminshed us. It's not a "Midwestern" thing-- "Kansas" is the Midwest. Five minutes of the venom that comes out of Kansas these days (or the Dutch-German rustics in Michigan) will disabuse you of any illusions about agrarian virtue.
I think it's a regional Northern/ Great Lakes thing, Canadians included. If the trend continues, the East and West Coasts might be educated by these Minnesotans, and gently turned away from a culture led by Paris Hilton and Rupert Murdoch. This is the part of the country that gave us Mystery Science Theatre, Prince, Omaha the Cat Dancer, A Prairie Home Companion... Maybe we ought to govern ourselves by geophysical regions.