Two weeks ago, an organization called “Meet Minneapolis” sent out a star-spangled flier encouraging Twin Cities residents to “spruce up” neighborhoods as a way to welcome Republican National Convention-goers. Well, in honor of Independence Day, here are some of the suggestions, quoted verbatim:
“Minneapolis business and property owners: Here is how you can help us create a positive impression with our visitors through Spruce Up MSP:
• Use red, white and blue flowers in your outside pots and containers. Contact us if you would be willing to add an outside planter or replenish your existing pots with red/white/blue flowers the end of July. (we are working with the Horticultural Society who will be assisting in this effort.)
• Clean windows and carpeting in the skyways prior to August 25.
• Consider red, white and blue color scheme in your public spaces between August 25 — September 7
• Display U.S. flags
• Repair anything broken (signs, lights, etc.)
• Finish construction on Lake Street, Lyndale Avenue, etc. etc. etc.; get bridges and freeway ramps etc., etc., etc., up and running; fix courthouse clock; consider wearing T-shirts that say, ‘We Like It Here’ and ‘Welcome To Mayberry.’ “
OK, that last one is mine. Here’s another, from Minneapolis resident Lisa Uhlig: “All homeless people paint their shopping carts red, white and blue, or hold flags with their ‘I’m starving’ signs.”
And another, from Minneapolis resident Jay Walsh: “I’ve got a new flier: ‘Let’s Poop.’ Calling all people with a heart and an active colon to come to downtown St. Paul and [this is where my editor got grossed out and said this idea is more a protest than a welcome anyway] … during the RNC.’ A simple reminder to the people inside to let them know what we think of what their glorious president has done to the country and Constitution over the past eight years. …”
Good idea, brother.
Truth be told, I’m starting to get in the swing of things. In addition to encouraging our Caucasian party-goers to go to the lakes and get a load of the quiet multi-culti party that goes on there at all hours of the day and night, or to our clubs, which feature some of the best original music in the land, I vow to engage in a ritual I’ve perfected over the years, one I will follow even more diligently the first week of September. Feel free to follow suit.
It might happen at the Mary Tyler Moore statue or house, or under Spoonbridge and Cherry, or outside the star-spangled exterior of First Avenue. It could take place in front of the Basilica of St. Mary, or the legendary CC Club, or the men’s room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport.
This is what will happen: You will see conventioneers fumbling with a camera. They will be taking pictures of each other in front of the Minneapolis skyline, or with Scott Seekins, or by a renegade Peanuts statue, or with the Grain Belt beer sign. Here is what we, as patriotic Minnesotans, do: Offer to take the picture.
Say, “Gimme that and get in there.”
Take a chance.
Say, “Get in there together, and I’ll take it.”
I do it all the time, and trust me, they will react like you’ve just cooked them a 10-course meal. They will thank you profusely, you will get to make and see them smile (which, in case you haven’t noticed, is extremely sexy, even on white-stripped Republicans), they will tell all their friends about how nice Minnesotans are, and you might even get a story out of the deal, or a conversation about how the world is changing before our very eyes at this very historic moment.