Partisan Political Derangement

Between Friday and Monday, an interesting set of conversations took place that all seemed to coalesce into what I can only recognize as personal disgust with the current state of politics.

On Friday night, at the Senate District 36 DFL picnic in Lakeville, we were fortunate to have Franni Franken visiting our picnic and engaging with people in our group.  One of the stories she told, which I heard second hand, was that she and Senator Franken routinely have dinner with another Washington couple, who – get this (whispering) are Republicans… I know, can you believe that?!? 

At that same picnic, the account of one bad incident at the Lakeville Pan-O-Prog parade was also discussed.  The story was that as I was walking in the parade and introducing myself as a Candidate for State Senate.  I was approaching a group of about six kids between the ages of 8-12.  They asked me if I had any stickers.  I told them I didn’t but I could give them a high five, and I jogged toward the line of kids with raised hands for a high five.  Just as I was about to give a high five to a boy, a woman, I assume his mother, stood up so quickly her lawn chair fell down backwards and yanked him with enough force backwards by the shirt that she had to catch him so he didn’t fall on his butt.  Of course I don’t know exactly why she didn’t want me to give him a high five, but I can only assume she didn’t want him touching a Democrat.

Finally, the third conversation happened at a Monday morning Bible study I go to.  We don’t spend all our time discussing biblical scholarly work, there is a bit of social engagement within the group.  We started talking about the State Fair, and the milk booth came up, and the cost of the milk.  From free, to a nickel, to a dollar, depending on age and memory.  I brought up Rudy Boschwitz’s flavored milk booth.  I remember it being a quarter, and I remember several flavors, although root beer was the best.  And what I remember most vividly about that booth was being there with my Grandma Quist one year while she dug in her purse looking for more quarters. 

None of those stories have anything to do with each other, but all three together represent the serious problems we face politically.  And as I sat in traffic this morning on my way to work, I connected the three stories.  There are big groups of people that can’t separate a person and their political beliefs.  Al Franken and the Republican Senator he shares a monthly dinner with can do it.  My Grandma an ardent Democrat could buy milk from Rudy Boschwitz.  But that mom would rather give her child whiplash than risk the possibility of Democratic cooties infecting her son.  And that woman at the Lakeville parade wasn’t the only one, there was the man who slapped my friends arm who was reaching out a sticker to see if anybody wanted one, and the boos and vulgarity from people who didn’t know me in the least bit other than that the three letters DFL were associated with my name. 

This uber-partisanship is preventing work from getting done, deals from being made, the economy from improving, and preventing our communities from becoming better communities.  It needs to end.  These divisive political figures need to be rebuked for the damage they are causing.  But the only way that will happen is if moderates who are turned off by all of this partisan politics all of the sudden become active.  Not likely… (Sigh)

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One thought on “Partisan Political Derangement”

  1. Good post.

    As Americans watch what is occurring in Libya … and consider Egypt … and even link back to Iraq, I seriously wonder if the country known as the “United States could be formed today. Considering the partisanship in Washington, what type of political system would representatives design today ? Could they agree on anything … would we have more than 50 states — each establishing their own laws ? Would some “country” be defined as “Christian” … while another would allow gays to serve in their military … while another would require everyone to own a gun (conversely would some limit gun ownership) … worst yet … will a “country” be known as the “Abortion-country” ?
    Iraq is still a long way from being established as a politically stable country … look how long it takes them to seat a Parliament or change leaders ….
    Despite these concerns, we should marvel at how civil the masses are … Bush-v-Gore did not end the country … and although some elected Members of Congress stayed in their offices when an African-Caucasian-American was inaugurated … although we have battles, the Union survives.

    As an optimist, I see some people recognizing the situation …. If you read my blog post that Shannon Savick, a candidate for the Minnesota House in 2012, states her outlook : “When did it get to the point where one party has to win at all cost? We need to have legislators who are willing to work together. Compromise is not a bad word.”

    That’s the message Bob Freyberg, a business owner wrote in the Mankato Free Press during the shutdown …“as we approach the next election, please look beyond the image building done by the parties and search for the candidates’ principles, integrity and proven ability to get things done under tough circumstances. We can’t continue to lose millions of state dollars every day as personalities stand in the way of common sense and potential growth.”

    It is my opinion that much of the problem with the House of Representatives is that their frequent “breaks” and short work-weeks …. did you know how many days the House worked during the first half of the year the answer is here. If they spent more time together … as Senator Franken and his Republican counterpart do, they might be able to address some issues …. Instead the next critical date is September 30th when the Fiscal Year ends and thus far the appropriations process is weigh behind … heck John Kline (R-MN-02) is the Chair of the Education and Workforce Committee and they have not even completed a Committee Report much less put the full bill for a vote.

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