#783 – Dick Bernard: Shut Down: A Continuing National Tragedy (and don't forget the Minnesota Orchestra)

This morning, last I heard, one of our five “outlaws” (one of their children is married to one of our children) gets on a plane in Minneapolis, flying to Washington D.C., for a reunion planned a year ago with several friends from the husbands Army days together in Vietnam times. They are from all over the country, and they have done several such trips together. Last year they decided that this year they’d meet in Washington, D.C. for the first time.
They are astute people, so most certainly they and everyone on the trip know what we do: that when they arrive, they won’t be able to tour any of the sites they came to visit. Congress has shut them down. As I pointed out in an earlier post, this reminds me of the famous Joni Mitchell song from 1970, here“>Big Yellow Taxi: “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, you [wreck] paradise and put up a parking lot.”
I’ll learn soon enough if/how this reunion trip went, including whether they boarded the plane to nowhere at all….
Meanwhile, the blather will continue unabated about whose fault this shutdown is, etc.
A Republican “Majority Survey” I filled out this morning (more on that at another time), gives a helpful hint about how the marketing of positions takes place. I was asked to rank-order the “most effective vehicle[s]” for Republican messages. I had these choices, and only these choices, in this order: Television Ads, Targeted Mailings, E-mail Messages, Telephone Calls, Newspaper, Radio, Internet Ads…and Other. (I chose “other”, and ranked all the rest equally, as least effective.)
The tragedy at the national level, whether short or long, will continue to unfold.
It seems basically to zero in on about 80 Republican Representatives – about 5% of the U.S. House of Representatives – for whom the Lord’s work seems to be holding the country hostage. Ryan Lizza, in the Sep 26 New Yorker, gives a helpful look at where these folks are from.
Perhaps a similar 5% of the “American people” are cheering on this disaster, for their own reasons. I know some of the people who are probably in this category. They are a bitter, tiny minority.
Meanwhile, back in the Twin Cities, yesterday we were at a rally commemorating the 1st day of the second year of the Lock-Out of the Minnesota Orchestra.
This was less than 24 hours after famed conductor Osmo Vanska had resigned (as he had promised to do) if no settlement was reached by midnight September 30; and, after the Orchestra Management cancelled a long scheduled concert by the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City next month.
This is very big, and very bad, news in the international music world. Attending and speaking yesterday was the president of the 90,000 member American Federation of Musicians (AFM – their October 1 statement here: MN Orch Board AFM Statement Oct 1, 2013).
You’d think it would be noticed. But across the street from us, perhaps 200 feet away, at WCCO-TV, which bills itself as the most watched station in this market, no attention was paid to this news – at least, we saw not so much as a WCCO camera recording the proceedings. And the local Minneapolis Star Tribune, whose publisher and CEO is on the Orchestral Association Board, while printing a long front page article gave very short shrift to the Union position.
News in our society is managed (see the Republican survey choices above.)
Those of us in the gathering heard the Musicians Union version of what happened at the final negotiations session the previous day. It is highly unlikely that the Union version of the bargaining session will ever see the light of day in the greater community because of who controls the media in this town, and the power people who control the Board of the Minnesota Orchestral Association. (Next on this mornings work, I’ll give my recount of the orchestra situation, and some photos, etc., from yesterdays rally can be found here (scroll down to October 2. This particular post will remain the ‘filing cabinet’ about the Minnesota Orchestra situation.)
While I don’t have any personal investment in my “outlaws” trip to D.C., and they probably don’t have any personal investment in my outrage at the destructive behavior of the Minnesota Orchestral Association management destroying the Orchestra I love and have willingly supported all these years, I see our predicaments as essentially equal.
We ought to be a country that cares about each other.
We’re in a time of power politics now.
We’ll rue the day.
We must become engaged, actively, in solutions for everyone.
from Joni H, Oct 2, 2013 (a Middle School Principal in a major metropolitan area, conveying a note from a teacher):
Thought you’d find this interesting. If anyone wonders how the government shutdown impacts a single classroom… This is what you get [click on link] when you visit usgs.gov (a website that our school uses with it’s 8th grade earth science classes.)
From Flo H, Oct 2, 2013: Think about this. It’s in doubt as to whether we can legally hold the volunteer driven Hike for Hope on the North Country National Scenic Trail (under National Park Service supervision) on Sunday, October 6 but there’s no way that we can actually let the public know, at this late date, that it has to be cancelled. Now, if Congress decides that National Parks will be an exception and grant continuation funding, as some members of Congress are proposing …
It appears that re-opening National Parks is more important to some in Congress than providing resources for 8th-graders earth science curriculum or providing access to healthcare to all. Hope your classes and teachers will fill the empty class time writing to their Representatives, Senators and the President and Letters to the Editor decrying the lunacy of this shut down! Maybe the kids could also suggest a viable compromise. The adults in charge surely can’t figure it out!
From a long retired eighth grade earth science teacher, good luck!

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