“Outside agitator” Ivan Olson has been talking to the Pelican Rapids police, the mayor, and making the rounds downtown.
“I’m clearing up the rumors about outside agitation,” said Olson, a local boy and Pelican graduate who loves his hometown. His June 19 demonstration on main street is intended to be a peaceful, law-abiding gathering—with perhaps some public education and open discussion to boot.
“There are no buses of radicals coming from Fargo or the Twin Cities…There’s no need for the VFW club or the hardware store to close their doors,” said Olson. He anticipates a core group of maybe a dozen—nearly all of them past or current Pelican students.
He went door to door for several hours Monday, June 15, talking to business owners and reassuring them that the gathering is intended to be a “local” demonstration. Some of his Class of 2008 Pelican Viking classmates are expected to participate.
He was also scheduled to meet with high school principal Brian Korf, and had also made contact with at least three local church pastors.
Olson doesn’t want his “good intentions” to produce “unnecessary fear.”
Olson emphasized that he loves his hometown. In fact, he suggested that rural America –contrary to common belief –is perhaps a better place to discuss social and political issues, rather than the urban-metro areas. Small town folks are maybe even more willing to consider other views than those in polarized city neighborhoods.
“I was born and raised here, and care about the community,” said Olson, who is spending some time back in his home area in rural Pelican. But his permanent home is on the West Coast.