If you won't be taking office, take a vacation insteadby Beth Gauper
If you're a politician, today may be the day you lose an election. What are you going to do now?
Go to Disney World? Not a great idea, if you plan on running again. All the major political parties would agree that we need to keep our tourism dollars in Minnesota, if not our airlines.
Here are some better places for you to spend a little vacation time, located right in our home state and chosen to meet partisan tastes.
Democrats, you're in luck. Tax dollars have helped pay for pretty much everything worth doing in Minnesota, so you have your pick of state parks, ski and snowmobile trails, nature refuges, wilderness lakes and historic sites.
Unfortunately, you'd leave a pretty big carbon footprint if you drove to all those things, even in your Priuses. So why not take the light rail to the Mall of America and spend some money there? (And if you need to get used to being on the ropes, practice walking its Flying Dutchman Ghostly Gangplank.)
Independents, you might like to go to Ely to mush a team of huskies through the forest. You keep talking about clean energy, and it doesn't get any cleaner than that, though the kennels are another matter. Show some personal responsibility by helping to muck them out after your run.
Having spent so much time trying to rally those who feel politically adrft, you might enjoy Friday's lighting of the beacon at Split Rock Lighthouse, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. But you don't like special interests, and the lighthouse was built only because of intense lobbying by steel-company owners, who preferred to make the government responsible for the safety of their ships rather than spend money to improve and insure them.
On the other hand, the tourists who flocked to see it did promote the economic growth you love. So on that you're between a rock and a hard place, much like the lighthouse.
Republicans, you're always talking about trimming fat. So you might head for Surfside on Lake Superior, the resort where "Biggest Loser'' reality-show contestant O'Neal Hampton, who lost 290 pounds with his daughter SunShine, has started a program to help fellow Minnesotans do the same. Entrepreneurial spirit at its best!
Oh, I see ... you're already lean; it's just the government that's fat. My mistake. In that case, you could go to Wabasha for the National Eagle Center's Migration Celebration and watch bald eagles heading south, with our jobs.
I hope you all enjoy your vacations. You can go to Disney World later, after you win an election. Remember, it's a small, small world after all.
Beth Gauper lives in Minneapolis and publishes MidwestWeekends.com, an online guide to travel in the Upper Midwest. She's been writing about travel in and around Minnesota since 1993.