What Is It With Minnesota?

Mid-Summer                                                                   Waning Garlic Moon

I live in Minnesota.  A state that has made me proud to be its citizen over and over again.  So.  Why is that the most mind-dulled adherent to the no-new taxes pledge, a blow-dried white guy like Tim Pawlenty represents our state among presidential candidates for 2012?  Why is it, even more incredibly, that Michele Bachmann, my congressional representative, has started punching holes in Pawlenty’s run?  Here is a link to a hilarious and scary article about Michele in Rolling Stone, Michele Bachmann’s Holy War.

Who appears on the national stage from Minnesota these days?  A trinity of bizarre political positions represented by two really strange people and one so bland he could be a 1950’s ad man:  Jesse Ventura, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty.  How did it come to pass that Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Eugene McCarthy got replaced by this trio of gibbering idiots?

At time I don’t even recognize the state to which I moved in 1970, 41 years ago.   We seem Californiaesque in our deeply divided politics with Keith Ellison, an African-American Muslim representing Minneapolis at one end of the spectrum and Michele at the other.  When I work with the Sierra Club’s legislative program at the state capitol, I see this divide often.  We have, for example, Kate Knuth, an Oxford educated environmentalist who articulates a clear defense of the science of global warming and a nearby state senator whose eccentric views would find a welcome home in the climate change deniers national conference.  Which he attended.

I know this.  If those of us on the liberal, left and progressive wing of American politics don’t get organized, and soon, we may be headed to a world not too distant from the strange one that gave us George Bush and Dick Cheney.  Remember them?