Local View: Republican convention in Duluth energized, unified
Refreshing, inspiring, and hopeful are among adjectives I could use to sum up attending the 2018 Minnesota Republican state convention, which was held in Duluth earlier this month.
I am a college student who didn't fall for the concerted, coercive liberal agenda of the University of Minnesota Duluth, and at the convention I engaged in one of the most fulfilling political experiences of my life.
The son of a blue-collar warehouse laborer and union grocery cashier, I grew up modestly and did my best with what we had to pursue my dreams. I moved to Duluth in 2016 in pursuit of a college education and have nestled myself on the hill near downtown. I'm comfortable living in one of those old, rickety houses and working part time at St Mary's.
The issues in this town are clear. Stagnant growth has burdened this city for many years. The only things that seem to be growing are taxes and the age of the population. Why is it that this region keeps sending the same DFL Party to Washington and St. Paul to double down on the same failing policies and the ever-radicalizing, neo-Marxist philosophies?
The message I received from the convention at the DECC was one of inspiration, change, and personal responsibility.
Let's start with inspiration. You know that house on the hill by downtown I mentioned? Well, that house is only a couple blocks from the corner where Pete Stauber, former Duluth police officer, was ambushed and shot in the head by a career criminal. I ought to be scared out of my mind to walk down these streets knowing that.
I'm not scared, however. Contrary to the fear the news media instill and the biased indoctrination of my liberal professors, gun crime actually declined dramatically since the 1990s when our Duluth warrior was shot. There isn't much else that shows courage and love for a community than the sacrifices Stauber made for our city.
Donna Bergstrom, a familiar face to Duluthians and the gal who welcomed me into the Republican Party with a tender smile and a kind heart, received our party's endorsement for lieutenant governor at the convention. She is running alongside Jeff Johnson and his bid for governor.
On a change in Minnesota politics, Johnson said it's time for "fundamental, generational change to a system that has become arrogant, out of touch, and completely broken." He united our convention with his straightforward, buck-the-system attitude. It was refreshing to hear someone encouraging our long-forgotten you-betcha attitude.
Personal responsibility is the kryptonite of my ideological young generation, "Gen Z." The idea is simple but difficult to teach — if not impossible to teach. It is learned and habituated by experience, trial and error, and the willingness to fail, all things made rather difficult in a nanny, safe-space culture. The sovereignty of the individual seems to be something slipping through the cracks of academia and the mainstream.
The conversations I had with the many genuine political hopefuls at the convention charged me with confidence in myself and the future of my community. The themes of responsibility, family, and duty were fulfilling and gave me a sense of involvement I never felt before.
The message from the many great people I worked with to endorse candidates was a stern declaration of dissatisfaction with our established political class and the rhetoric of "resistance" political hacks.
Grow our state by getting the political culture in line with the hard-working men and women in our communities.
Taking a new approach to the disenfranchised labor workers like my mom and the long-hours, blue-collar men in warehouses, factories, and mines like my dad will give us Republicans a strong movement in 2018.
The chaos and uncertainty that transpired at the DFL convention ought to have those in the middle starting to think about our Minnesotan decision come November.
Trevor Tovsen is a conservative and Republican who attends the University of Minnesota Duluth.