If you are going to dunk your head into the quagmire of American gun rights, there may be no better place to start than at a bar in Tracy, Minnesota on a Monday night.
And there may be no better person to speak to than someone like Paul: a retired local high school teacher, a grandfather, and a breeder of Hungarian Vizslas. He is also a member of the NRA, and has a concealed carry permit.
“Miao, it must be hard for you. Everyone talks about China.”
Marina’s kind comfort during a get-together earlier this week threw me into deep silence. I started missing my country and my people (and my food, just a little bit) as a plain citizen from a “rising power”.
“Do you know this song?”, George asked me after a tasty lunch at his apartment. George is my brother. He works in advertising. I consider his job as “selling people stuff, they don’t really need”. He considers his job as “storytelling”. And this is an important part of the story that I am just about to tell.
Minnesota has had its own Donald Trump-style candidate. Jesse Ventura, a Vietnam veteran, former wrestler, former radio talk show host and former actor, was elected governor in the 1998. Like Trump, Ventura was a non-traditional candidate, more an entertainment figure than a politician.
Local black activists are taking their push for change into different terrains in the Twin Cities, from the Minnesota State Fair to the classrooms of North Minneapolis. There is a color that marked two interesting initiatives we came to know first-hand: purple. As in Purple Rain, the most popular song from the late musician Prince, Minnesota’s most renowned artist.
The trip to Ely, Minnesota was my first encounter to with rural America. To be honest, I had not had much of an encounter with America itself. I had only arrived the country the first time just over a week ago. And my encounter had been mostly limited to the pleasantly choreographed tours around the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis by the wonderful organisers of the World Press Institute (WPI) fellowship. I had only gone out once on my own to a nearby Walmart to buy groceries.
In a country that posses the largest number of nuclear weapons, where people prefer hamburgers rather than soup and adore Justin Bieber, but still keep faith in God. In the USA religion plays quite a big role. At least it played…