Southern Minnesota's Blue Earth County (where Bluestem's editor and proprietor was born) is Minnesota's Mayberry Modern, marked by small towns, punctuated by the metropolitan center of Mankato, and held together for many by extensive family ties.
Take Former Governor Jesse Ventura's wife Terry, a Mankato native spent a lot of time on her grandparents' farm near Vernon Center:
She is one in a line of salt-of-the-earth women with a tough work ethic, a pioneering spirit and strong family values. At 4, the Mankato, Minn., native moved to the Twin Cities with her family. Her mother worked nights as she raised four children. Her grandmother cooked meals for hungry workers on the family's farm in Vernon Center, Minn.
It was there young Terry was smitten with horses and the countryside."I loved the hard work," Ventura says. "We cooked tons of chickens and cakes in my grandparents' kitchen and baled hay until our arms were all ripped up. I remember getting in the shower ... with my arms stinging. And I would think, work is not an evil thing."
And her uncle? State representative Tony Cornish, according to his entry in the Minnesota Legislators Past and Present page.
Minnesotans United for All Families is leading a statewide discussion of the meaning of families and love. Terry Ventura and her husband talk about what love and marriage mean to them in the latest MUAF's video:
Bluestem doubts that the video will much change Representative Cornish's views about the ballot measure. But perhaps when other Southern Minnesotans hear this down-home woman and her spouse talk about marriage freedom, they'll think about how important love and family are for all people, and Vote No to enshrining discrimination into the state constitution.
Transcript via City Pages:
Jesse: Government should not be telling people who to fall in love with. Government should not be telling people who to cohabit with, or anything of that nature. We're supposed to be home of the brave, land of the free. We've been married now, believe it or not, 37 years. The happiness we've had I would wish for everybody to have.
Terry: Marriage is about when people fall in love and decide to make a commitment in front of their friends and their family and it means something. How in the world can two people professing how much they love and care for each other and that they want to be with each other forever, how can that be bad? No matter who you are.
Jesse: This is not a Democrat issue, this is not a Republican issue, this is not a liberal issue, it's not a conservative issue which means it affects each and every one of us, regardless of whatever our political persuasion is.
Terry: What if one day someone decided to take what's really important to you and put it on a bill and try to get it to change our constitution so you could never even have a chance to get it back? If you look at it in that context, how important is it to you? If you don't stand up for their rights, you'll lose some of your rights too.
Jesse: The constitution shouldn't be used to oppress people, the constitution is used to protect people. Love is by far bigger than government can ever be. We are the state of Minnesota, we make our own decisions and we know what good values are in Minnesota, and good values are to keep people free. We should defeat this and vote no to show the rest of the U.S. that nobody influences Minnesotans on what's right and whats wrong.
Photo: Terry Ventura, a down-home Blue Earth County native, is Representative Tony Cornish's niece. Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark Photography via Mirabella.