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A note from a disgruntled x-Democrat

Kim Otterson posted a comment on this website.  I feel that these comments require discussion.

Here is the first comment

[Todd County DFL] Get In Touch!
I attended the DFL caucus to support Bernie Sanders. It was my first experience with party politics. It will also be my last, at least with one of the 2 major parties. I was impressed with the people at the caucus. Lots of good ideas, lots of idealism. I was pretty skeptical about any of that surviving to the state level, much less the national one. This past week, your national party apparently decided they had the right to remove my duly elected senator for their political convenience. I get it. It was a messy situation and looked like it might drag on forever. He was still MY senator, not theirs. HE represented me. THEY don’t. I think we need to respect the ideals this country is based on, including those that allow us the defend ourselves and face our accusers. I’m beyond angry, I’m furious. As far as I can see, the mess we have in this country today traces directly to the fact that this country is controlled by two entities, funded by the rich, who don’t really care about the people, or the ideals this nation claims to aspire to at all. I hope we can find a way to get out from under their tyranny.

I replied with this

Are you suggesting a 3rd party?

John

I then got this email back

It took a bit to figure out who this was from. I’m guessing you’re referring to my irate email to the Todd Cty DFL, so I guess it’s safe to reply.

If there was a way to make a third party work, I think it would be an option. I’m not sure there’s a way to make it work, unless you have as much money as Ross Perot did. Because, in the end, money is what politics in this country is about. Personally, I’d like to see political parties banned and come up with some other way of nominating candidates. So the regular people actually have a voice. I don’t see that as a realistic option either, because the people in power certainly can’t be expected to limit their own power.

I think we’ve gotten ourselves into a situation that the founders anticipated, but didn’t really want to talk about openly, where the government is pretty close to being the real enemy of the people. I’m not sure what we do about that. I think we in this country tend to think we’re pretty safe from the kind of upheaval we see in other places. Maybe that’s a mistake. When you push people far enough, and render them powerless enough, some give up and give in and some get angry and fight. I’m not advocating revolution either, yet, but there’s a vast well of anger out here and ignoring it isn’t likely to make it go away.

What I believe is this, for all the wonderful idealism I saw at that caucus meeting, you guys are part of the problem, whether you realize it or not. Maybe there’s a way you can be part of the solution too, but I honestly don’t see how.

Forgive me while I go all “conspiracy theory” on you for a second. We’re at a strange place right now. The whole sexual harassment thing is at a point where it’s not considered politically correct to challenge an accuser. The thing at the moment is to accept their word with no question or proof. That’s not actually the way our system is set up to work, and for good reason. The Washington Post vetted the women who accused Roy Moore fairly carefully. Did anyone actually do that with Senator Franken’s accusers? I’m not saying they’re lying or that he didn’t deserve to get fired. I honestly don’t know the truth of this situation and neither does anyone else, other than the people involved.

When you consider that, in my lifetime, we’ve had a sitting president tapping the phones of his opposition (LBJ and Nixon, at least, if not others) and authorizing burglaries of opponents, and we’ve had the Russians creating what I can only think to call “fake news” in an attempt to influence events in this country, and we have a president who I’m sure has no moral compass at all, is it absolutely out of the question that someone, somewhere, might use the fervor of the moment as an opportunity to make a Democratic Senator look bad and cause a lot of drama and uproar in the process? If you were going to pick a Senator for that treatment, you MIGHT consider checking out the background of one who had a career as a comedian, with sort of questionable humor, and who’s already faced some controversy on the subject of things like sexual harassment., because he might be an easy target. Again, I’m not saying this is what happened, but I sure hope someone somewhere is checking out the possibility. It’s so easy to manipulate facts these days (maybe it always has been) that I don’t think we ought to take things at face value, if they’re things that matter.

When I was younger, I’d see things coming from the government that I didn’t understand and figure the people making the decisions were smarter and more knowledgeable than I am, and let it go. There were times when I wondered, like the first incarnation of trickle down economics, but I thought I must be missing something. When we invaded Iraq, I had a good friend who was a conservative. I told him I hoped, in the end, he was right and I was wrong but, to me, it looked a lot like a dog chasing a bus. He did 2 tours in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan. In our last conversation, he sounded more like his old self than he had in several years. We actually joked about politics and I got my chance to say “I told you so!” He shot himself a couple weeks later. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the Iraq war since then. Turns out I was right about it being a stupid, poorly thought out idea, where the people at the top failed to listen to the people they had available who actually had a clue. And I was wrong that the people running the country were actually smarter than they looked. They weren’t. I’m in the middle of H.R. McMaster’s book, “Dereliction of Duty” right now. I guess the one thing I can say about our government is “At least they’re consistent”. I don’t figure there’s much chance that anything I say to anyone about any of this is actually going to change anything, but I’ve decided that, in remembrance of my unofficial adopted brother, and all the other’s who’ve died over the years because of the mindless stupidity coming from Washington, I’m going to at least speak up when I can. Even if it doesn’t matter, at least I can do that.

Thanks for the reply. I’m interested to see if I hear back from the state or national party. I’m guessing I won’t, or it will be a form letter that suggests no one read what I wrote, or thought about it. but it doesn’t hurt to try. I appreciate your question.

Kim

To Which I replied

Thanks for your reply. If you want, can Ipost the last email on the site.I think it could spark some conversation.  I could have your name on it or anonymous.   I prefer to work in the system, because the alternatives we have in the Republican Party are so bad.  To get my vote a candidate must :

  • Accept the fact that evolution is by far the best theory for how life came to the state it is.
  • Global warm is real and man made
  • Some regulation is needed to protect people and the environment
  • Water is more important than oil. No new pipelines and the existing ones phased out.
I also feel that making abortion illegal, just moves it underground.  The only studies seem to say that places that ban abortion has the same or more abortions.  I can not say they are right, because they are only in small areas and not complete.
I am a numbers person. Show me what has worked and not worked in the past, and I would be it is what will work in the future. We need a young FDR.
Thanks again for your comments.  We need more dialog to make things better than they are now.

And Finally

Sure, go ahead & post it. Conversation is good, we need way more of it. And, your can use my name. Is like to be part of the conversation.

I agree with your criteria. The one thing I’d add is that prohibiting abortion AND limiting access to birth control makes no sense and I have to wonder what motives the people who seem to think it does. (Unless they’re Catholic. Then  at least i know where they’re coming from.)

So, Do YOU have anything to add!!!!

7 replies on “A note from a disgruntled x-Democrat”

I am agree with Kim Otterson as regard the national Democratic party in particular. The snuffing out of progressive ideas and progressive candidates is relentless. I feel some of the same goes on at the State level. I don’t know what the DFL stands for. All they do is ask for my money and my vote and they are gone until the next time. The Otrembas would say well, get involved. I’ve tried and the results have been less then encouraging. So I engage with progressive NGOs to do my political work.

As far as Sen. Franken goes – my feelings are also similar to Otterson’s. Franken did not receive due process and I believe he deserved that. e was run out by party leadership and the process was undemocratic. He was, as Otterson says, my Senator. Rep. Libeling, who is seeking the nomination for Governor, speaks eloquently to this issue. I encourage you to read her comments at her website.

The County DFL needs to get involved with the community. You want Hispanic voters you say. But you haven’t written a single letter to the editor in support of DACA. What do you believe in? Don’t tell me. Show me!

Tim

The battle I have had with the poorly labeled “Coshherrrvavative” (trying to phonetically say it with the glorioski pronunciation that the Limbaughcils use) movement over the past 30 years is the contextually vacant brainwashing by a well-funded right-wing media.
The movement to corrupt, via propaganda to pick a hard date, actually started with post Atlas Shrugged (1957) and the “corporate call to arms” of the Powell Memo. 1971 Both of these and virtually everything that the right has used on us and against us as a progressive society, is based on their flood of “Us agin’ ’em” fear mongering; targeted at low information people who are too busy, too illiterate or too corrupt to get or care about context.
It starts largely with our education system. I ran into this personally in our education system as a teacher and parent. Funding for (public) education is dependent on taxes and government. Teaching children to think critically from an early age requires eliminating much of the fodder for the wonderful, colorful, seasonal bulletin boards through teaching myths about our nation as real. And making the study of history, economics, politics, government(s) separate study’s and about disembodied dates on tests of proficiency rather than integrated into a timeline and philosophies. You see in grades schools through secondary and into college. You regurgitated these factoids to the 70th percentile so here is you token to proceed. For the development of critical thought and a rational society we could just as easily use the tilt awhirl method of advancement. You must be this tall ……
Woe is the teacher, considering the political makeup of local school boards and the nostalgia driven and motivated ceremonial evangelicals, Catholics and sundry other protestant fundamentalists. Teachers must be allowed to teach; but they must also organize and advocate for themselves based on provable truths, not what suits the mythology of their youth or what looks great as their rooms bulletin board. Teaching is supposed to be about teaching how to think critically and honoring truth. Teachers unions are supposed to not fight to keep a verifiable bad teacher in place no matter what but to fight for great pay, good benefits and most importantly academic freedom to teach and no allow the caving in by administrations to the creationists and flat-earthers.
The believers of right-wing propaganda exhibit herculean zeal to maintain their chosen mythology. They are so motivated; because they have NO Doubt about their rightness and righteousness. That zealotry, (though portrayed by right-wing media as a Liberal Commie Baby Killer trait) to destroy America for their unholy Liberal purposes), is demonstrably the desired product of corporate media in general and right-wing media in particular on the general populous. It is about advertising dollars with the corporate media and it is all about electoral voters for right-wing media. By any observable measure it is most effective on those who want simple answers that will confirm their fears, hates and moral superiority in a very un-nuanced, straight forward, “I’m right they are wrong” fashion, absent of course of any critical thinking or any belief or need to fact check their chosen purveyor’s veracity.
Sorry to go on so; but here is the reason that I have.

Democrats, liberals, progressives are all policy wonks by our DNA. Government is for all of us. It is how we get betterments done. A road built or fixed. It is how we provide safe streets. In our minds that is both in the sense of the common use, regarding crime; but more globally in regulations about how all sociological, environment water drainage, community planning and projected growth, sewers, and other needs and factors are met, involved the street’s repair or construction. We want to do it right and proper for the long-term benefit.
The age old preferred method of street building for GOP legislators and executives and far too many Democrats has been (we can buy the land before the public knows about it and make a killing). The shill Tom Price is the most recent egregious example that comes to mind. Technical wonkiness makes things harder to understand and that unfortunately is one of our Achilles heels. We confuse people with realistic plans and how they work. Republicans use that complexity to simply take a phrase in our wonderfully crafted, morally inclusive proposals of which we are so proud to share …. and what do we hear? Nothing coming back; but Death Tax or Death Panels etc. or Hillary’s e-mails and Benghazi from the right, shouted by the perverted right-wing media and repeated, for ratings by the so called liberal corporate media. (Hint: they are not liberal they are corporate and most strategic corporate planners do not think much beyond 3 months and their own exit strategy.)
I am not telling you anything you do not know. I am going to remind people of a couple of things. and confess something also. I confess that I am so angry at the Democrats who pre-emptively turned on Al Franken in a knee-jerk political fashion that I will not support them in primaries with time or money. They need to apologize; because it is and was wrong to pre-judge. There is my confession. I will support them in the general if they should prevail. That is pragmatism and reality or we get another Pawlenty or Trump .. ya they are largely the same.

As far as the reminders as I see them. 46% of eligible voters did not vote in the presidential election. That is our good news. There exists our chance at regaining control of actually governing for the benefit of the majority of people and their off spring, yes even the fools, by removing the insane and out of control GOP influence. They must be activated for us not by fear and hate but with more straight forward smaller incremental, hence easier to disseminate plans about what we/they need as citizens, who gets, who pays and how much.
Secondly remember we seek candidates from the human race. As I remember it the last perfect person was crucified by and earlier version of “Coshherrrvavatives”. In that line of thought we are not all the same, do not have the same world view or perceptions, do not appreciate victimhood as having only one setting. (I do not think Al Franken was hitting on me when he put his hand on my hip and pulled me in, in a noisy banquet hall in Fergus several years ago so he could hear me.)
Thirdly don’t waste your time or energy on hard core devotees of the right wings, sanctimonious tripe. I have tried diligently for 30 years and at most have changed 2 or 3 minds. Read George Lakoff’s “Political Mind” and frame everything properly, honestly and with clarity what liberals are proposing and always carry strips of paper to hand out that have Politifac.com, Factcheck.org and Snopes.com on them so way more than in 30 years you will have changed more than 2 or 3 peoples’ trajectory.
Fourthly, changing the Democratic party really may be the only way we have forward; because of citizens united and the gerrymandering we must recognize that most legislators and executives are going to have either an R or a D by their name. Embrace what is good and liberal about the Democrats and forget the stupid purity test that allowed among other things the accent of Trump, McConnell, Ryan etc. They are in power because they understand power and that is why they laugh at Liberals and why their motivated boorish supporters go and vote against their own economic interests; because they enjoy being with the bully. Wrong and Strong. (I saw a posting by a So Carolina Truck Driver that said … “You’re ain’t a real truck driver until you hit a hitchhiker with your piss bottle.” Share that with every Bernie Bro.

One last thing, when right wingers try and obfuscate about the Liberal overreach on guns, or bathrooms or business regulation, because they want to FREE. Remind them in some form that without rules and regulations, their love of (presumed) football would be just some group of people of indeterminate size, wearing clothing (or not) of no particular distinction, moving about (or not) an area of indeterminate size or shape, for an unspecified period of time for no apparent reason. It is the rules and regulations that make the game and a society.

If you have read this far … thank you. I will never master the short or even intermediate form. Unfortunately, that is how my mind works. Keep fighting, when we win let’s turn over representative districts to computer logarithms. It is time we get representation that is mindful of us. “Safe political districts are anathema to representation.

The battle I have had with the poorly labeled “Coshherrrvavative” (trying to phonetically say it with the glorioski pronunciation that the Limbaughcils use) movement over the past 30 years is the contextually vacant brainwashing by a well-funded right-wing media.
The movement to corrupt, via propaganda to pick a hard date, actually started with post Atlas Shrugged (1957) and the “corporate call to arms” of the Powell Memo. 1971 Both of these and virtually everything that the right has used on us and against us as a progressive society, is based on their flood of “Us agin’ ’em” fear mongering; targeted at low information people who are too busy, too illiterate or too corrupt to get or care about context.
It starts largely with our education system. I ran into this personally in our education system as a teacher and parent. Funding for (public) education is dependent on taxes and government. Teaching children to think critically from an early age requires eliminating much of the fodder for the wonderful, colorful, seasonal bulletin boards through teaching myths about our nation as real. And making the study of history, economics, politics, government(s) separate study’s and about disembodied dates on tests of proficiency rather than integrated into a timeline and philosophies. You see in grades schools through secondary and into college. You regurgitated these factoids to the 70th percentile so here is you token to proceed. For the development of critical thought and a rational society we could just as easily use the tilt awhirl method of advancement. You must be this tall ……
Woe is the teacher, considering the political makeup of local school boards and the nostalgia driven and motivated ceremonial evangelicals, Catholics and sundry other protestant fundamentalists. Teachers must be allowed to teach; but they must also organize and advocate for themselves based on provable truths, not what suits the mythology of their youth or what looks great as their rooms bulletin board. Teaching is supposed to be about teaching how to think critically and honoring truth. Teachers unions are supposed to not fight to keep a verifiable bad teacher in place no matter what but to fight for great pay, good benefits and most importantly academic freedom to teach and no allow the caving in by administrations to the creationist and flat earthers.
The believers of right-wing propaganda exhibit herculean zeal to maintain their chosen mythology. They are so motivated; because they have NO Doubt about their rightness and righteousness. That zealotry, (though portrayed by right-wing media as a Liberal Commie Baby Killer trait) to destroy America for their unholy Liberal purposes), is demonstrably the desired product of corporate media in general and right-wing media in particular on the general populous. It is about advertising dollars with the corporate media and it is all about electoral voters for right-wing media. By any observable measure it is most effective on those who want simple answers that will confirm their fears, hates and moral superiority in a very un-nuanced, straight forward, “I’m right they are wrong” fashion, absent of course of any critical thinking or any belief or need to fact check their chosen purveyor’s veracity.
Sorry to go on so; but here is the reason that I have.

Democrats, liberals, progressives are all policy wonks by our DNA. Government is for all of us. It is how we get betterments done. A road built or fixed. It is how we provide safe streets. In our minds that is both in the sense of the common use, regarding crime; but more globally in regulations about how all sociological, environment water drainage, community planning and projected growth, sewers, and other needs and factors are met, involved the street’s repair or construction. We want to do it right and proper for the long-term benefit.
The age old preferred method of street building for GOP legislators and executives and far too many Democrats has been (we can buy the land before the public knows about it and make a killing). The shill Tom Price is the most recent egregious example that comes to mind. Technical wonkiness makes things harder to understand and that unfortunately is one of our Achilles heels. We confuse people with realistic plans and how they work. Republicans use that complexity to simply take a phrase in our wonderfully crafted, morally inclusive proposals of which we are so proud to share …. and what do we hear? Nothing coming back; but Death Tax or Death Panels etc. or Hillary’s e-mails and Benghazi from the right, shouted by the perverted right-wing media and repeated, for ratings by the so called liberal corporate media. (Hint: they are not liberal they are corporate and most strategic corporate planners do not think much beyond 3 months and their own exit strategy.)
I am not telling you anything you do not know. I am going to remind people of a couple of things. and confess something also. I confess that I am so angry at the Democrats who pre-emptively turned on Al Franken in a knee-jerk political fashion that I will not support them in primaries with time or money. They need to apologize; because it is and was wrong to pre-judge. There is my confession. I will support them in the general if they should prevail. That is pragmatism and reality or we get another Pawlenty or Trump .. ya they are largely the same.

As far as the reminders as I see them. 46% of eligible voters did not vote in the presidential election. That is our good news. There exists our chance at regaining control of actually governing for the benefit of the majority of people and their off spring, yes even the fools, by removing the insane and out of control GOP influence. They must be activated for us not by fear and hate but with more straight forward smaller incremental, hence easier to disseminate plans about what we/they need as citizens, who gets, who pays and how much.
Secondly remember we seek candidates from the human race. As I remember it the last perfect person was crucified by and earlier version of “Coshherrrvavatives”. In that line of thought we are not all the same, do not have the same world view or perceptions, do not appreciate victimhood as having only one setting. (I do not think Al Franken was hitting on me when he put his hand on my hip and pulled me in, in a noisy banquet hall in Fergus several years ago so he could hear me.)
Thirdly don’t waste your time or energy on hard core devotees of the right wings, sanctimonious tripe. I have tried diligently for 30 years and at most have changed 2 or 3 minds. Read George Lakoff’s “Political Mind” and frame everything properly, honestly and with clarity what liberals are proposing and always carry strips of paper to hand out that have Politifac.com, Factcheck.org and Snopes.com on them so way more than in 30 years you will have changed more than 2 or 3 peoples’ trajectory.
Fourthly, changing the Democratic party really may be the only way we have forward; because of citizens united and the gerrymandering we must recognize that most legislators and executives are going to have either an R or a D by their name. Embrace what is good and liberal about the Democrats and forget the stupid purity test that allowed among other things the accent of Trump, McConnell, Ryan etc. They are in power because they understand power and that is why they laugh at Liberals and why their motivated boorish supporters go and vote against their own economic interests; because they enjoy being with the bully. Wrong and Strong. (I saw a posting by a So Carolina Truck Driver that said … “You’re ain’t a real truck driver until you hit a hitchhiker with your piss bottle.” Share that with every Bernie Bro.

One last thing, when right wingers try and obfuscate about the Liberal overreach on guns, or bathrooms or business regulation, because they want to FREE. Remind them in some form that without rules and regulations, their love of (presumed) football would be just some group of people of indeterminate size, wearing clothing (or not) of no particular distinction, moving about (or not) an area of indeterminate size or shape, for an unspecified period of time for no apparent reason. It is the rules and regulations that make the game and a society.

If you have read this far … thank you. I will never master the short or even intermediate form. Unfortunately, that is how my mind works. Keep fighting, when we win let’s turn over representative districts to computer logarithms. It is time we get representation that is mindful of us. “Safe political districts are anathema to representation.

As I worked this afternoon I came up with a proposal for the Todd County DFL. In Long Prairie and Browerville there is a growing population of Puerto Ricans. I imagine that many of these people have family on the island and that the family members were negatively effected by Hurricane Maria. Why doesn’t the TC DFL reach out to the local Puerto Ricans and see if there is a way to raise funds for recovery efforts. If you were to seriously get behind such an effort our non-profit Dreams United/Suenos Unidos would pledge at least $100 for promotion and/or organizing.

This will not only provide some recovery funding but connect you with Puerto Rican voters and get you some visibility in the community.

John, I’ve been thinking about what you said about your criteria for a candidate. When you mentioned water, it made me think about “sustainability”. I keep hearing that we should shoot for 3% growth and wondering if that’s actually a good goal. It’s a small planet after all. It seems like it would make a lot more sense to establish an economy based on the ideas of sustainability and equilibrium.

I’m curious, because a couple of you mentioned you didn’t like the way the decision was made, and you don’t feel like you have much of a connection with the state and national party, how does that work, exactly? I guess I thought there would be some communicating back and forth. I’d like to think the national party at least asked SOMEONE in MN how they felt about running Senator Franken out. I wasn’t making any assumptions, but I sort of expected at least a little input from here.

Myron, one of the things I learned from have a conservative best friend is that they are people too. They aren’t a uniform group of mean spirited Neanderthals. James & I discussed and debated every topic under the sun, from politics to predestination. (Often to the annoyance of anyone within ear shot.) We usually ended up surprised to find out how similar our values actually were. Neither of us wanted to see Grandma living under a bridge. The difference was, he came from a place where Grandma needed to be encouraged to be frugal and take care of herself, and had a good family as a fall back position, and I came from a place where Grandma had worked hard her whole life, had a series of bad breaks, and had no one in the world who cared about her. In the end, we each saw value in the other’s point of view and both points of view speak to truth. We both valued education, and hard work, and friendship, and equal opportunity, and we both love(d) this country enough to die for it if need be. I think you’ll find that’s fairly consistently true.

“They are in power because they understand power ”

True. And one of the things they understand is how to get it. They are appealing to fear. That’s a pretty primitive part of the brain. You set it up so people believe there are limited resources. You make it a zero sum game where, to survive you have to get “yours” which means the other guys can’t have it. To oppose that, you need to understand what’s going on and find ways to get people to actually think. Something, as you mentioned, Myron, which our educational system doesn’t exactly encourage.

If you pick that “there’s not enough to go around” idea apart, to me, it looks like there’s plenty to go around, if it was actually going AROUND, not sitting in the piggy banks of the upper percent or 2 of the population. People realize that. They’re angry about it. I’m a farrier. I do horses for a pretty diverse group of people in the central part of the state. I’m interested in how and what they think, so I ask questions sometimes. I can tell you they ALL feel like they’re running as fast as they can to stay in one place, and that they’d have to run faster, if they actually wanted to get anywhere. Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does, because I’ll bet you each and everyone feel the same thing. That was what Bernie Sanders tapped into. Trump tapped into it too, but in a different and much darker way. I think he might be vulnerable partly because people aren’t infinitely stupid and partly because the repercussions of the tax bill will be obvious before he’s up for re-election.

One last thing. A place the Democratic party has a problem. The way Senator Franken was handled is a good example. The leadership is so sure they know better than anyone else, they don’t listen, they tell. It relates to the idea of “policy wonks”. The problem isn’t just that it gets boring and hard to listen to. The problem is no one likes to be treated like an idiot. (Even if they are.) That’s what I saw as one of Hilary Clinton’s biggest problems. Most of the time, she seemed to be standing up there telling people what to do and how to do it because she knew more about their lives than they did. And most people didn’t actually think she knew anything about their lives at all. I don’t know if she did or not, but she came off as pretty sanctimonious and condescending. You don’t win people to your point of view by calling them names. If you’re calling them names, you’re telling them they don’t matter and you don’t care. You’ve got to HEAR people. People will tolerate differences of opinion, as long as they feel their opinion is heard and respected. This attitude is what turns “government of, by and for, the people” into “the nanny state”. .

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