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Society


Manners beat legal mandate

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Minnesota nice.
I first experienced this in July 2012 on my visit to my brother's residence in Nisswa, Minn. (Picture Lake Wobegon of Prairie Home Companion). Swedish Hospital had finally completed altering my height, which involved successive amputations of each leg. I was wheelchair bound and making my initial attempts at using a walker.
When my wife and I arrived at the airport in the Twin Cities, the airport personnel were over the top in offering assistance. One of those people accompanied us to the car rental agency, a subway train ride away, providing drayage for our luggage. Later, when we stopped for dinner at a restaurant, I was the recipient of multiple offers of assistance.
Our four-day visit was populated with such niceties, prompting me to ask a long time Minneapolis resident and friend about the very distinct difference in attitude between Western Washington and Minnesota. She related that the courtesies that I received were called "Minnesota Nice," an aspiring goal of the state of Minnesota and of her residents.
Why is it that we are burdened with a government that promulgates rules in the most picayune gradation of detail, as to how we are to live our lives, including utilization of disabled parking permits (reference the recent spate of letters on disable parking)?
I believe we are so burdened because the populace demands it. It is far easier to let the government enact ever more microscopic rules of what is "fair" than it is to treat a fellow citizen as a "neighbor." The latter would require the opening of lines of communication and articulating the concerns and desires of each party and engaging in willingness to compromise. The excessive pursuit of fairness through rules and regulations results in dysfunctionalities, which in this present time are particularly common to Congress.
Between having the government attempting to make every circumstance in life fair and Minnesota Nice, I prefer Minnesota Nice.
I am thankful for all of the kindnesses extended to me from citizens of both Washington and Minnesota, as I learn to walk again.
David W. Freese
Edmonds

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