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Minnesota on the anniversary of 9/11

ALSO: Arne Carlson endorses Tom Horner; Tom Emmer releases education plan; film great (and former Minnesotan) Kevin McCarthy dies.

What a weekend. Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, was a day that should have been one of somber reflection but, in places, turned into a circus. Ground Zero, as an example; the former site of the World Trade Center, where protesters and counter-protesters turned the day into a cartoon version of incivility. Sample interactions, reported by The Daily Beast’s Asra Q. Nomani: A protester addressing a Muslim cab driver with the words “I’ll slap that f—ing beanie off your head!”; a counterprotester asking a protester “On a scale of one to ten, how big of an a—hole are you?”

In the meanwhile, while the Florida Quran buring was suspended, an Amarillo, Texas, man named David Grisham from a group called Repent Amarillo decided to stage his own Quran burning, a plan thwarted by a bearded and shirtless young man who snatched the book from him. Think Progress has an interview with the smiling skateboarder, who declared that “he heard something about burning the Qur’an. Then I snuck up behind [Grisham] and told him, ‘Dude, you have no Qur’an,’ and took off.” The video also reveals that residents of Amarillo had surrounded the fire upon which the Quran was to be burned and placed their hands in front of the flames to prevent the book from reaching it.

Attentive readers might note that these protests — which sprung up around the United States — weren’t directed at terrorists. No, their target was more general: Muslims. Never mind that Muslims have been in the United States since 1630, or that between 1 million and 7 million of our fellow Americans are Muslim, and never mind that Obama declared that we are not at war with Islam, echoing sentiments expressed by George W. Bush. Islamophobia is on the march, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow makes an eloquent case that these tales wouldn’t even be news — after all, haters gonna hate — but for the fact that some very prominent politicians are encouraging, and profiting from, fanning these flames.

And what of Minnesota, which is, after all, the subject of the Daily Glean? And, after all, as the Associated Press reminds us, we have some experience with terrorism: The former heads of the Sept. 11 Commission recently compiled a report charging that the United States has, as the headline says, “failed to create systems to deal with homegrown terrorism,” such as Minnesota’s Somali-American youths who traveled to Mogadishu in 2008 to participate in the civil war, producing America’s first suicide bomber.

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Well, we had a concert at Harriet Island as a tribute to the victims of 9/11, as FOX9 reports. They also report that a VA clinic in Alexandria is to be renamed in honor of Max J. Beilke, a Minnesotan who was the last combat soldier to leave Vietnam, and was in the Pentagon when it was struck. WCCO’s John Lauritsen reports that Navy Seals parachuted into TCF Stadium at the Gophers’ first home game.

Attentive readers might notice something here — all these events were actually about 9/11, and most were relatively somber, except, perhaps, for the parachuting Navy Seals. That’s not to say Minnesota’s Muslim community was completely disconnected from the day: Nancy Ngo of the Pioneer Press tells of The Islamic Center of Minnesota, which is “considered the oldest and largest Islamic Center in the United States,” and where an interfaith service commemorating the victims of 9/11 took place. Ngo interviews a member of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis who attended the service who told her: “There’s a lot of phobia about Islamic people in this country. I’m concerned that we don’t cast all Muslims as terrorists.” FOX9 tells of Pastor Gordon Stewart of the Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska, who on Sunday asked a Muslim friend to read passages from the Quran, during regular services.

And our state politicians, to their credit, don’t seem to be spending much — or any — time adding to the bonfire of outrage to further their political career. No, they’re grinding away with endorsements and budget plans, which is a less dramatic way to get votes but a more honorable one. KARE11 and MinnPost tell us that former Gov. Arne Carlson official endorsed IP candidate Tom Horner for governor. Minnesota Public Radio has Carlson’s press release, in which “Carlson said Horner’s budget plan is a mix of ‘realism and redesign’ and that Horner is the only candidate in the race who has the vision, plan and capabilities to restore financial integrity to the state.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer released the second part of budget plan, detailing his intentions for K-12 education. Patrick Caldwell of Minnesota Independent sums up the plan, which is mostly to defer $1.4 billion that is owed to the schools for another two years. DFL candidate Mark Dayton responded with another tried and true campaign tactic — he immediately issued his own response, saying that Emmer’s numbers don’t add up. But let’s wait and see. Emmer has, so far, only released two parts of his tripartite budget plan. As Caldwell points out, the third part, due this week, will explain how Emmer plans to address the state’s anticipated $6 billion budget gap — we at the Glean are especially curious about this, as Emmer has suggested the deficit doesn’t even exist.

In arts: Minnesota lost a giant this weekend, although few, it seems, knew of his connection to the state. Kevin McCarthy, an actor often referred to as “square-jawed,” passed away Saturday, and earns an obit from the New York Times — they also call him square-jawed. McCarthy’s family was from Minnesota, and he attended the University of Minnesota. For us fans of paranoid science fiction films, McCarthy will best be remembered for his starring role in the 1956 film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” which leaves him wild-eyed and running through traffic, screaming “They’re coming!” He also re-created that role in the 1978 remake of the film, but with a rather nasty ending.

In sports: Never mind the Navy Seals parachuting into TCF Stadium. The PiPress’ Tom Powers left Saturday’s game wild-eyed and screaming at traffic, if his report on the game is any indication. “Too bad they don’t sell alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium. For that matter, it’s too bad they don’t sell opiates,” he writes.