Holding On to a Culture

Letter From Minnesota

For a political party that celebrates diversity, it is certainly an odd choice.  The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party of Minnesota, like the Democrats nationwide, has celebrated its role in promoting multiculturalism and massive immigration.  Yet the ticket the DFL has nominated to run for governor and lieutenant governor this fall—State Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe and Julie Sabo, daughter of Congressman Martin Olav Sabo—is the most Scandinavian in the state’s history.  Political wags are dubbing it the “Leftist Lefsie” ticket, for the Norwegian dish that Moe and Sabo have no doubt digested.

Minnesota is changing rapidly, thanks to tremendous immigration from the Third World, the explosive growth of the suburbs, and the decline of the rural countryside.  While the latest census data show that many Minnesotans still identify themselves as Scandinavian (of Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, or Icelandic decent), they no longer form a majority of the state’s residents.  Thus, this may be the last time we ever see such a ticket.  

Scandinavians in Minnesota retain many institutions that may provide anchorage through this period of cultural turmoil.  These include private colleges, many of which were founded along ethnic and religious lines.  St. Olaf’s in Northfield and Augsburg in Minneapolis were founded by Norwegians belonging to...

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