This is America Right?

I feel so many things right now; helpless, enraged, sick at heart, outraged, defeated, and energized to name a few.  I’m a parent and a human being so when I hear about families being ripped apart my empathy meter goes off the charts and I feel like I need to act immediately to try and make this better.  The question I have is: Why don’t the members of Congress feel the same way?  Surely if they are not currently parents they were parents at one point, and if they were not they HAD parents at some time, so they have some frame of reference for how it would feel to be separated, by force, from their families.  If they can’t muster this basic function of empathy there is something horribly wrong with our elected officials.

First, this is not just a Republican issue.  A law signed by Clinton in 1996 made detention mandatory for immigrants convicted of crimes even if they pose no flight risk.  In 2014 Obama tried to prevent families from coming to the US by forcing them to remain in detention facilities but that was struck down as a violation of the constitution.  That law, signed by a Democrat, and the policy of trying to detain immigrants, originally tried by a Democrat, are now being horribly abused by a Republican nativist with no empathy for human life.  We can hope that the courts will again rule against this abuse of power and denial of the basic liberties each human has.

What makes this time exceptionally terrible are the stories from asylum-seeking immigrants who are being forcibly taken from their children, babies, with no guarantee they will ever see them again.  Children are being taken for “baths”, issued numbers, and put in detention facilities without their parents or adequate caregivers.  The parallels to another horrible time in world history are disturbing and at this point any human with a bit of empathy should be disturbed and outraged.  The United Nations has gone so far as to call what the Trump administration is doing is a violation of human rights and international law.  The US used to stand against leaders who committed crimes like these, now we ARE one.  Perhaps our president needs a reminder of what happens to world leaders who act the way he does but I doubt that will make a difference because it’s clear our president has no empathy for his fellow human beings.

How did we get here?  How did we end up once again repeating historical mistakes that I never thought I would see in my lifetime, let alone in the United States?  Political division and the inability of the American people to compromise, work together and vote for the greater good of our country.  If you voted for Trump or didn’t vote then you share responsibility for the violation of human rights and child abuse happening at our borders today.  Let that sink in.  Now I know Hilary Clinton was not the most lovable candidate but because she wasn’t Bernie Sanders many of you chose not to support her.  That division in our own party is what led to this and we must be willing to put aside any stance of “I can’t support them they aren’t MY candidate” or this WILL happen again.  We are in danger of that happening again with the race for Governor of Minnesota.

The results of the convention in Rochester were surprising to many Democrats.  The candidate I personally supported did not get the endorsement and I was surprised and a little disappointed about that but certainly not angry enough that I would not support the endorsed candidate to ensure Minnesota remains blue.  This is the attitude all Democrats need to have if we are to make a true difference in politics.  Small divisions lead to the election of people like Trump because we could not put up enough votes.  Granted not all Republicans are emotionless, narcissistic, egomaniacs bent on becoming a dictator (at least I hope the president is a rare exception) but just in case we need to have a united front so that we are never faced with the inability to protect families, who are fleeing atrocities in their own countries, from having their very basic human rights violated in what was once the greatest country in the world.

Now we really do need to make America great again.  Vote for a Democrat in 2018, or at least vote, don’t let your feelings get in the way of your voice being heard.



Minnesota is So Much Better than Its Politics: It’s Time for DFL Party Control

The Minnesota legislative session closed recently with lots of finger-pointing, and surprise,
surprise… bad-faith negotiating from the Republican House and Senate. Election season will now get moving in earnest, but we Democrats may have to fight hard this summer to frame our policies after Mark Dayton was forced to veto a major bill sent to him by the Republican legislature, thereby ending the session in a fizzle.
Followers of Minnesota politics are excruciatingly familiar with the meltdown that has ended
each legislative session during the Republican legislature’s annual battle with Mark Dayton. The victim this time was a major tax bill. But this year seemed even more predictable than usual, due to the upcoming election. Our state politics increasingly resemble the all-or-nothing tactics modeled by the national Republican party during its showdowns with President Obama.
This tired scenario is wholly frustrating for progressives, who desperately want their
government to act on issues they care about. And plays into the hands politically of Republicans, who champion a message of broken government. That’s a fight that Democrats will need to push back
against to win state-wide races, especially the Governor’s seat, and to gain back the Minnesota House of
Representatives in November.
Parsing local politics is becoming increasingly harder, especially considering onslaught of daily
Donald Trump narratives. Local politics get less and less of our attention yet play an ever-growing role in
civil progress. Minnesota DFLers need a simple, bold message this fall to cut through the noise and
affirm can-do government.
In the twentieth century we were the party that spawned Medicare, Social Security, and the
minimum wage. In the 1940s a young Hubert Humphrey, the newly elected Minneapolis mayor, pushed
for the most progressive fair-employment ordinance in the country, twenty years before the Civil Rights
Act. The progressive tradition thrived under figures like Paul Wellstone, who committed himself to
achieving single-payer health care and publicly-funded elections and did that using community action.
Democrats have never been satisfied with the status quo. We have won and lost many battles for equity
and decent living standards, nonetheless we stand on the shoulders of those before us and expect
better things out of our leaders of tomorrow.
The Trump administration has epitomized a sharp reversal of many progressive ideas proposed
during the Obama years. Trump also made serious promises to fix complex issues in ridiculously simple
terms. Voters still want to fix those problems and I think the con has been shown to be just that. A
Democratic majority controlling Minnesota’s House of Representatives (which needs a twenty-seat
swing), and winning Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Auditor are essential in the
fight for progress.
Democrats alone have solutions to the real issues that people deal with every day, like cheaper,
easier health care, income equity, proper education funding, ditching our current campaign funding
system, protecting consumers, and maintaining strong labor practices. It’s up to candidates to be the
voices of the party, but for the rest of us in the Fighting 41 st , we are the legs of the party. Now is the
time to get involved and affect change on your most passionate causes.

Organizing icon Saul Alinsky wrote: “People cannot be free unless they are willing to sacrifice
some of their interests to guarantee the freedom of others. The price of democracy is the ongoing
pursuit of the common good by all of the people. Citizen participation is the animating spirit and force in
a society predicated on volunteerism.”
The swell of new Democratic candidates and volunteers gives me hope for the fall, but the work
is far from finished. `