#394 – Dick Bernard: Day Four of the Minnesota Shutdown. A Parade. In a time of orchestrated hate, I'm Liberal, and proud of it.

July 4 UPDATE at end
Directly related: June 27, here.
The hate mail about President Obama is starting to come more frequently into my e-mail in box. Predictably (and falsely) Governor Dayton is already being blamed for the Minnesota budget stalemate. It is reported that some Republican legislators jeered him when he announced the shutdown last Thursday night at the Capitol.
No class.
It must be the 4th of July.
We’ll likely do, today, what we most always do: go to the town parade in Afton a few miles east of here. It’s a quaint parade you can watch twice if you wish, since the units double back down the same main street.
There will be a color guard, and we’ll stand, and I’ll doff my Vets for Peace hat, then will come the usual. This is an off-year politically, so I don’t expect a lot of politicians. There will probably be even fewer than usual since they’d probably rather not be too out in the open, this soon after the shutdown. We’re nice people here, and there’ll likely be no hissing or such, but I still don’t think the usual complement of politicos will be on the main street. If we go, I’ll report back on what I observe.
I am interested in the hate mail (that’s exactly what it is). Usually it comes via people who I know, who are generally in my age range. Rarely does any personal message come with these “forwards”, so I don’t know why they are being forwarded to me. Sometimes, I think, they are interested in what I might think of this or that. But I don’t know that, usually.
My policy has become to respond, each and every time. The most recent one was an insulting parody of the oldie “Casey at the Bat”. There was no message whatsoever other than an insult of Obama.
I happen to be proud of the President, and I say so. He’s doing a great job under far less than good conditions.
I can make the same comments about Governor Dayton in my state.
We are a country filled with seething bitterness, most of it taught. It is not healthy…for us.
Last evening we watched a special about the complexities of Abraham Lincoln’s early political career and the relationship of he and his wife. In the 1860 election he won the presidency with 40% of the vote, and after he was elected 7 states seceded from the Union. And he’s the most revered President in our history…I believe the first Republican President. It could be argued that he opened the door for President Obama through the Emancipation Proclamation.
Succinctly, Lincolns political career has a lot of similarities to Barack Obama’s.
A friend’s letter to the editor in the June 30, 2011, Minneapolis Star Tribune says it as well as anything I’ve seen:
A June 29 letter writer claims that Barack Obama “was the most inexperienced president the United States has ever elected.
Actually, Obama’s eight years in the Illinois Legislature, during which he sponsored more than 800 bills, and his two years in the U.S. Senate are similar to Abraham Lincoln’s eight years in the Illinois legislature and two years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rather than looking at years in office, I prefer to look at a candidate’s understanding of public policy and his or her positions on what those policies should be.

Joyce Denn, Woodbury
I probably can’t change the angry e-mailer attitudes. It’s a free country and they can vent all they want, whether through cartoons, parodies or out and out lies.
But that doesn’t mean I’m going to cower in a corner and pretend I’m something I’m not.
Liberals are demonized too. And I’m one of them, and I’m proud of what I am. We’re good, solid, upstanding people.
Do I know people on the left who are prone to sending insults and engaging in ugly behavior too? Of course I do. Probably roughly in the same proportion as on the right. But they don’t have the financial backing to spread their insults as broadly.
Money does talk, very, very loudly.
Have a good 4th, and work towards a renewal of respectful political discourse.
Politics was tough in Lincoln’s day, too. But they did debate respectfully, or so I hear.
Other recent and related posts can be accessed here.
Just back from the Afton Parade. From all appearances, more spectators than previous years. There was not a single unit that featured political leaders. Normally there’d be up to a half dozen. One very angry looking guy drove a red Corvette on which he’d draped two “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, without any explanation. If he had a message no one could figure out what it was.
A guy about my age struck up a conversation. He mentioned that one of their daughters works in a program for fetal alcohol syndrome that is dependent on state funds, and she is on furlough. Enroute home we noticed that the ubiquitous signs for the Minnesota Lottery were lights out: the Lottery has been suspended.
Everybody was very polite to everybody else. I think we all know we’re in a rotten kettle.
Tomorrow the holiday is over, and we all need to get to work.

Afton MN July 4 Parade. Color Guard.

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