My father wasn't like those around him. He grew up in Detroit in a neighborhood which imposed limits. He was told he would never amount to anything. Any aspiration was mocked. Any goal undermined. But my dad persevered. He believed that he could create a better life for himself and his family if he cut against the grain, worked harder, went to school, took risks, and made moves. For a couple years of my early childhood, I never saw him, because he worked overnight, slept during the day, and attended trade school in the afternoon.
His effort eventually paid off. He moved up from airline stock clerk to commercial airplane mechanic, working for what was then Northwest Airlines and would become Delta. When his moment came, he jumped at the opportunity to move us from Detroit to the airline's hub - Minneapolis/St. Paul.
I remember traveling with him on one of his first scouting trips to this state at the age of 12. We landed and made our way through the airport. The moment the doors slid open to let us out of the terminal, I felt like Dorothy entering the Land of Oz. You have to understand, Detroit is as close as you'll ever get to living in black and white. It's flat, dirty, dark, dank, overcast, and miserable. As a kid, I didn't mind because I didn't know any better. But then I got my first glance at Minnesota, the lush green rolling hills, the big blue open sky, parks every other block, clean streets, happy people. To me, it was - well - Munchkinland.
I fell in love and never looked back. We settled in Cottage Grove, which was like a dream for a kid from urban blight. Empowered by my bike, I was twenty minutes away from any type of place I wanted to be. I could ride out east into the country toward Afton, or roll down to the Mississippi River. I could go down to the library which was a block away and read anything that tickled my fancy.
Though I didn't think of it in such terms at the time, I knew I was blessed. I knew I had opportunity. And I knew enough to be grateful to those who had provided it - not just my dad - but my nation.
As the son of a black father and a white mother, I was aware that my very existence was a testament to history made. Ten years before my birth, there were still states in the Union where my parent's marriage would have been illegal. And yet, I faced no such limitations. I grew up in what was perhaps the most color-blind of American generations. No one cared who my father was, or why my skin was brown, and they would not stand in the way of whatever I might achieve on merit. I was free to succeed or fail without boost or ballast. And I owed that to those who fought for me across the generations, from the American Revolution to the end of Jim Crow.
Today, we've regressed. Today, my sons may be taught to hate some portion of their own heritage. Today, what was once opportunity has been defamed as "privilege."
I'm running to turn the tide, to turn our course back toward the promise of a nearly achieved dream. We can be the shining city on a hill. We can have a world whose children are judged by the content of their character. And we will have it. It's freedom, or bust.
The Bio Blurb
Walter serves the residents of Albertville, Minnesota on their city council, and lives with his wife Carrie and two sons. He works as an operations manager for a logistics company.
When he's not working in either of those capacities, Walter advocates for justice and public policy as a media commentator. He formerly hosted 'Closing Argument with Walter Hudson' on Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130, contributed extensively to PJ Media, and served as an associate editor with the David Horowitz Freedom Center.