Friday, October 22, 2010

The Electorate With A Pearl Earring

My last detour into the political in this blog turned out well, with thoughtful, encouraging comments. Here is another.

A lot of Democrats or even just intelligent people are concerned about this upcoming election. Those of us with long enough memories might realize that 2010 is just 1994 all over again, only a touch crazier. Let's remember together. (Please wave your hands in front of your face Wayne's World style and say "doodle-oodle-oo, doodle-oodle-oo!")

A charismatic Democrat has taken over for an inarticulate guy named Bush who ruined the economy, tried unsuccessfully to make Iraq the 51st state, and made that middle ten percent of voters swing solidly Democrat. The Democrat won a decisive presidential election victory. Young people especially loved him.

In his first two years in office the Democrat has not completely fixed everything and voters are angry. The Democrat has even had to compromise on some of his campaign initiatives, for example those involving the health care system and allowing gay people to serve openly into the military. Republicans are capitalizing on this voter anger with their traditionally effective appeals to ignorance, fear, greed, racism, etc.

Newt Gingrich appears on the scene. The Democrats lose their majorities in Congress. Eventually the battles between the legislature and the executive become so pronounced that the government has to shut down for a few days. In the election two years later voters realize it wasn't all the Democratic president's fault. The Republican candidate implodes under pressure and the Democrat wins a second term in office. The Democrat basically does a good job, the economy recovers, and America doesn't start any protracted, misguided wars.

Now back to now. It's 2010 again (Why am I suddenly 20 pounds heavier? Dammit!) and we can all hope that 2010-2016 will go so well as 1994-2000, even if I do not run the Twin Cities Marathon again.

Which memory leads to two personal memories regarding that 1994 election:

I remember playing a Great Uncle Helmer show at the old location of Hogan Brothers in Northfield a day or two after the 1994 election and we played our original song "Richard Nixon" as a protest. Democrats, including both members of GUH, were disappointed and worried. Gingrich's Contract On America seemed to be a death knell for the beloved country we had known. But the system of checks and balances and the constant swaying back and forth of that fickle, easily angered, middle ten percent of voters with short memories did its magical work.

As I remember it, the biggest thing that happened as a result of the battles between the Republican legislature and the Democratic executive was that they had to shut down the government entirely for a few days because they couldn't agree on how to spend our money. I happened to be in D.C. at the time and the only thing that was open on The (rather glorious, highly recommended) Mall downtown was an exhibit by the artist Vermeer. A friend and I put on our thickest winter coats and waited in an incredibly long (outdoor) line of remarkably good spirited fellow Americans. We saw the legendary, beautiful "Girl With A Pearl Earring" and, I think, one where a woman is sitting looking out a bright window to the left of the viewer.

So if, in a year or so, the only thing of which the government is capable for a few days is putting on an exhibit of luminous, elevating paintings, so be it.

Finally, remember to go see the band for which I am playing bass tonight at Station Four in St. Paul. It's the Skittish CD release party! How does that tie in? Hmmm. I think most of my bandmates in Skittish were still young children in 1994. Does that work?

Monday, October 04, 2010


You could swim do gives can win are us you like dolphins dolphins it no one a chance yet we for always and
always and we then heros for a day

I I am unbeatably seem are then king and you you queen although it becoming we heros for a day we then we this

I I believe was tear kiss to dream that the wall in the back coldly the shots the air yet we as if does
nothing happen and that shamed fell on its side oh, we can it strike for all times then are we heros only this
day then are we heros then are we heros then are we heros only this day

Then we are heros