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Showing posts with label Minnesota. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minnesota. Show all posts

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Primaries are Here - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

The Primaries are Here

I guess I’ll vote in the primaries on Tuesday.

It is not something that I normally do, but there is a lot on the line this time, both nationally and here at home.

We have the Governor’s race to think of, the Senate, a new member of congress for my district. I voted for Martin Sabo, and I voted for Keith Ellison, and now there is choice…whatever choice we make we will likely be locking it in for a generation; Attorney General, Hennepin County Sheriff…this is a big deal.

I am not exactly a “dyed in the wool,” though for the most part I do vote DFL, straight down the party line. I do vote for Republicans from time to time; have on the right side of the isle for President, Senate, and Governor too, on the rare occasion when I just could not tolerate the candidate my Democratic Party has put up.

Idealistically I am about as far left as left can go, but anyone who has read my political commentary can tell you that I do not think politics and idealism mix well.

Politics is about pragmatism, it is about holding the line against bad policy, while incrementally advancing the good. Only occasionally is politics about making a stand for something come “hell or high water,” and that is because political choices are being made long after the crises which prompt us to get up and make stand have faded away, and the choices that end up getting made are always about building consensus, deal making, and compromise.

If we brought back the good old days of earmarking bills, and pork barrel spending, we would have a much more functioning government…of course that is why the leadership in congress did away with it, too many rank and file members were in the habit of cutting deals across the isle, talking to one another, funding each other’s projects.

I think its okay to vote for Richard Painter over Tina Smith, for the DFL nomination for Senate even though he spent his whole life as a Republican, worked in the Bush white house and before he took up the fight against the current President, he and I would probably not have agreed on much.

But he has divorced himself from the Republican party, he has promised to caucus with the Democrats if nominated, but he has not promised to toe the party line. I think there is some risk in that, but I also think it is okay, because he is one of T-Rumps staunchest opponents and his the rhetorical chops to take the fight to him.

Tina Smith…I don’t know, I see her commercials and they are telling me nothing about her, nothing at all, just a Minnesota nice lady with a Minnesota nice smile. I think she thinks she can just walk away with the NOD, not showing up in public forums to engage her rivals. She is taking the seat she was appointed to for granted, and that is never cool.

Keith Ellison has my vote for Attorney General.

Lori Swanson’s people are all coming out against her, telling us that she is corrupt. There is no way she can sit in the Governor’s Chair, its going to have to Walz, I will miss Mark Dayton when he is gone, I hope the next person who holds that office has the same grit as him.

Ihlan Omar, its your turn.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Not in Minnesota - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

Not in Minnesota

I have been listening to Tim Pawlenty and other candidates for political office in Minnesota this week, listening to them demagogue, trying to sound like Donald Trump on issues of justice, and immigration.

It is utterly shameful.

I was happy to hear the Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, speak out against a Tim Pawlenty campaign mailer that showed the ex-governor appearing with uniformed Minneapolis Police, as if the police were endorsing his candidacy, when by law they are not allowed to so.

I was happy to hear Jacob Frey speak out against that demagogue who is seeking to garner support by dividing Minnesotan’s from one another on issues of immigration. I was pleased to hear the mayor remind that handful of sycophants who opted to appear with Tim Pawlenty and disgrace the uniform they wear, that Minneapolis is a sanctuary city. Minneapolis will remain a sanctuary city no matter who becomes governor, and it will still be their duty to enforce the policies set by the Mayor and the City Council on behalf of all of the people who live here.

We do not need that disgusting and divisive demagogic bullshit in Minnesota.

That appears to be all the morally bankrupt, ideologically barren, intellectually compromised Republican Party has to offer.

The platform they are running on is this:

Cut services for the working class and poor.

Raise the cost of education, but don’t fund it, borrow the money instead, eliminate protections for student borrowers.

Undermine and eliminate the Affordable Care Act, raising insurance premiums and every other cost associated with health care.

Cut taxes and borrow money, make the banks rich while stealing from the people.

Tariff’s, for the sake of Donald Trump’s vanity regardless of its impact on the price of consumer goods, or the ability of Minnesota farmers to sell their goods on the global market.

Divide the citizens and residents of Minnesota from one other, foment hate and violence, because they have nothing else to offer.

Lie everyday about what you are doing, lie to cover up your ignorance, lie to protect your vanity, lie to mask your malevolence.

I have spent my entire life working side by side with immigrants, whether they were here without permits, working without green cards, I do not know, but what I do know is this: they are the best people you could possibly want in your community. Hard working, brave, industrious people. They are here for the hope of a better life for themselves and their children, for their grandchildren.

They do not deserve to be vilified.

They deserve every protection under the law, due process, and the presumption of innocence.

Those fleeing lawless countries, those who are the victims of gang-violence, and political violence, or domestic abuse, and because their native countries are lawless they have no recourse and no protection, they deserve asylum.

The parents and spouses of United States citizens, should never be deported, they should be protected.

We must protect them, we must protect them from the dangerous, and wicked policies of people like Donald Trump and those who want to be elected on the promise that they will be his loyal patsies.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

On Racism - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


On Racism

This week an African American, a black man, a Negro, a person of color; a man named Philando Castille was shot, and killed by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. This happened just a few miles from where I live; in a part of the Twin Cities that I cross through frequently.

Philando was sitting in the passenger seat of a car, the car being driven by his fiancée, Lavish Reynolds, who had her four-year old daughter in the back seat.

It was early in the evening of July 6th, it was still light outside. The car had been pulled over by the St. Anthony Police; ostensibly for a broken taillight.

Philando, who was a Member of the Teamsters Union, who worked for the Saint Paul Public School System; he was armed at the time, and had a permit to carry his weapon. When the police officer asked him for his identification, Philando informed him of that relevant fact; as he was trained to do. Having been asked for his ID, he was at the same time reaching for his wallet when the police officer shot, and killed him. He bled to death in the car, while his fiancée, Lavish, captured the moment on video, streaming the whole incident live on Facebook for the world to see. Philando bled to death while he fiancée’s daughter watched from the back seat of the car, trying to comfort her mother. 

Lavish remained calm, the police officer who did the shooting was nothing short of hysterical.

Philando was shot four times with a woman and a child sitting in the car next to him. After the shooting, the police did not administer first aid. They did not call for an ambulance. They continued to point their guns into the car, until they ordered Lavish and her daughter out, where they separated them, put Lavish in handcuffs, administered a breathalyzer too her, and did whatever else it is that they did…

The community reacted instantaneously, the whole world was connected to it through Facebook, the people at Facebook found the video so terrible they began to restrict access to it, news of the incident spread regardless.

Crowds gathered in protest all around the country, and at the Governor’s mansion in Minnesota. 

Mark Dayton, the Governor of Minnesota said that this killing would not have happened if Philando had been a white man, it would not have happened. The governor used the word “racism,” and the critics of the governor were quick to scramble: “how could he call the officer a racist?” They demanded, but he did not call the police officer a racist, he said the event was caused by racism. It was caused by racism, not by the actions of a racist cop, and those are two very different things.

Racism permeates our culture. Racism, nationalism, tribalism, permeate all of the cultures of the world. Good people, bad actors, the fair, and the unjust, men, and women; people of all ages, all colors, all socio-economic backgrounds are conditioned by the paradigm of “race.” Racial categories condition our views of self, of family, of community; race is not a biological reality, it is a thought construct, it is a language game, it is a function of metonymy, semiotics, and linguistics. Most importantly; it is a lie.

Philando Castile was the latest victim of this lie; he and his family that survives him.

Governor Dayton was right, the killing of Philando was a product of racism. It was caused by racism. Not because the police officer who shot him was a racist. Who knows what was in that man’s heart when he pulled the trigger? I do not know. He could be a racist; a person who actively promotes the classification of people by “race;” black, white, red, yellow, maybe that cop is a person who hates people based on the color of their skin. Who knows? Not me. The governor did not say he was, the governor did not call him a racist, the governor said that Philando Castile was killed because of racism, and all of the hidden (or not so hidden) emotions and assumptions surrounding that construct. 

The overwhelming emotion on display in Lavish’s livestreaming video was not hate, it was fear on the part of the officers, fear and indifference. I do not know of any credible person who is saying that the police officer who killed Philando Castile was a hater, but he was definitely afraid, and when Philando lay there dying, without the administration of first aid, there was also indifference. It is in the vector of fear and indifference that the racism which killed Philando Castile can be found.

The root of racial injustice, its ordinary cause, is fear, not hate.

Fear is how racism manifests itself as a deadly plague in our community, It is the responsibility of the community to overcome that fear, through togetherness, relationality, and love.

I can think of a lot of good public policy we could enact to address this problem, it is my fervent hope, that we can arrive at a place where good policies can be honestly considered. However, the ultimate solution lies with us, people will not stop being afraid of the “other” unless they determine to do so. We must determine to treat everyone we meet with respect, to honor the inherent dignity of all human beings, we must determine to do so. 

Treat each other lovingly. Do to your neighbor what you might wish would be done for you, treat them as you yourself would like to be treated, and do not do to any other what you would not like to have done to you…the Golden Rule; live by it. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1st, 2016, Tuesday - Observation


The snow is mostly gone.

The sky was lighting at six in the morning; when I left for work.

There was a fresh dust of white on the ground, that disappeared in the first few hours of morning.

The green is coming to my lawn, pushing past the pale yellow blades, the gray and brown remnants of leaves, the twigs fallen from the apple tree.

My cat followed the white tail of rabbit with her eyes; as she rested on the couch, by the window bay, lucid, and dreaming of the hunt.

It is election day in Minnesota, caucus day, and there is a pensive energy in the air.

I am for Hillary, but I think most of my town is for Bernie.

I think Minnesota will go hard left as well.

My cat does not care, she wants to share my chicken.