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What Can We Learn from the #MCRraccoon?


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Jun 14, 2018

What Can We Learn from the #MCRraccoon?

St. Paul, Minnesota was shaken to its core Tuesday, June 12th, as a small raccoon climbed the 25-story NSB Tower.  As the raccoon started its treacherous journey, people in St. Paul stood outside the building to document his climb on Twitter, with notable mentions from celebrities such as James Gunn and Tim Nelson.  Workers from the building took photos and posted updates of the raccoon as he occasionally made pit stops and even took a nap on a window ledge.  The mayor of St. Louis, Melvin Carter, got involved and contacted the building owner to plan  Additionally, someone made him his own Twitter page (The MPR Raccoon) and #mprraccoon was a trending topic on Twitter.

When the little guy finally made it to the top around 3 in the morning, people were standing outside, watching his final step to the top.  The upsurge of support and celebration on Twitter was unexpectedly large.  Once at the top, he was rescued and taken back to the ground where he was met with food. He was then placed in a cage until the St. Paul's Department of Safety & Inspections arrived to take him away.

When I first heard of the mpr raccoon in passing, I thought it was a cute story and was happy he made it down safely.  However, upon reading the many articles and Tweets about him, I realized how large an impact a single raccoon had on hundreds of people, especially those in Minnesota.  During his climb, a tweet by James Gunn read "I'll donate a thousand bucks to a non-political charity of choice to anyone who saves this raccoon. I can't handle this. Poor dude."  During a time of substantial political division consisting of hostile arguments in-person and on social media, it is inspiring that a single animal (especially one who enjoys spending its time in dumpsters) could create an alliance of people with a single goal in mind.

In recent years, many brace themselves to turn on the news.  Inhumane violence, political arguments, international threats, and a long list of other trials face our world day in and day out. Accompanying these challenges are the debates that too often result in screaming matches or offensive comments. But a random event, like a raccoon climbing the NSB Financial Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, allowed some of us to forget about the difficulties to focus on the care and safety of this creature.

Do you think the unification over the MPR raccoon is a symbol of hope in a time of unrest? How can we utilize our similarities and universal goals to reach common ground on the topics we are less likely to agree on? 


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