If you’ve followed this attempt at a blog for awhile or know me in person, you’re probably aware that I am afflicted with a passion for politics of the democratic persuasion. Thus while the real motorcyclists hereabouts were enjoying the downpours at the Hiawatha Rally, I was driving to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party convention in Duluth, 300 miles distant from my heavenly Buffalo Ridge cave.
The downside of living out here is that there aren’t a whole lot of democrats around, heck, there just plain ain’t a whole lot of people around. So for the mere mistake of showing up at the biaanual february party caucus and ensuing party conventions of ascending geopolitical square mileage, you get appointed to a whole bunch of party positions. Thus I am a county, senate district, and state convention delegate as well as “Outreach and Inclusion Officer” for county, senate district, and congressional district party units. I’m also an alternate to the debating and partying society know as the State Central Committee, which given that the actual delegates have a poor attendence record, means I’m a delegate if I bother to show up. The upside is that back in the big cities people fight tooth and nail for these positions, because they do give one a little political power base… But sorry, I can’t “fix” speeding tickets!
Now in my should be more humble opinion, political parties spend all too long and waste all too many meetings and such getting ready for elections, only to half the time lose the actual election. Meanwhile, clever people like moderate republican Arne Carlson put together a winning campaign in just a couple weeks to defeat an incumbent democratic governer in 1990. And to prove that wasn’t a fluke, in 1998 Jesse Ventura won the governership on the new Independence Party ticket with a low budget campaign that didn’t really take off until the last couple weeks before the election. The other thing that ticks me off is that the Minnesota’s capital and 2 largest cities are on the other side of the state from me, and the party thinks that’s where the statewide meetings should be held. And just so the other eastern corners of the state don’t feel left out, once in awhile they rotate the meetings to Rochester and Duluth, even farther away.
This was Duluth’s year, and despite having an abundance of incumbent governer and such and thus not much business to actually transact, the party planned a three day long friday through sunday convention to benefit the local hospitality industry. Most of us delegates, especially the poorer ones, had other plans… We drove up saturday morning to be in attendance when the bulk of the convention’s business was to be transacted, then drove home saturday evening, eschewing the evening’s partying and sunday’s trivial transaction of party business. The only thing that interested me on sunday’s agenda was rebuffing the environmental extremist’s attempt to ban copper mining in Minnesota, but the hometown labor folks rebuffed that effort quite well without my help. I swear, these unsatisfiable environmental extremists are the democratic party’s equalivent to the Tea Party that haunts the republicans- unwilling to compromise and absolute hypocrites, trying to ban copper mining while entranced with electric cars!
So I loaded up the Golf TDI Wagen with a dining table and chairs and headed to Minneapolis friday morn, delivered that load, mowed the lawn at my worthless Minneapolis home, and headed over to an old friend and fellow convention goer’s apartment for the night. Up early saturday, and make it to Duluth just as the convention is gaveled to order and an hour or three of pomp, ceremony, and time killing begins to give everyine time to get there, get registered, and find their seats. Registration was quick, thanks to rather light attendance… We had 4 delegate seats for our county, and at peak had only 3 in attendance. Meanwhile, the deluge began… Some friends of mine rode (yup, democrats ride too!) to the convention, planning on staying over until the rains let up, then had to head home to visit a hospitalized accomplice in the middle of the deluge and were thoroughly drenched, despite having decent rainsuits.
Meanwhile, there was a backstory playing out… The party is looking for a candidate in my legislative district, nobody has volunteered to be the sacrificial lamb to take on this suicide mission in this republican leaning district, and for about the last week they’ve been strongly hinting that I should run. Clearly they were getting desperate, as filing for office closes at 5 p.m. tuesday. So as I’m wandering the convention aisles, fellow democrats are encouraging me to run. Now this is a bridge way too far… I enjoy campaigning for other people, especially when motorcycles are involved. But run for office? I’d have to behave myself, dress half decent, and worst of all, hit up all my friends for money! So without even thinking, I concocted a plan… For a start I used that term “environmental extremist” on facebook, which caught the notice of a democratic legislative caucus staffer who took offense. Thus when the democratic state house majority leader was looking about the floor to fill out his slate of candidates with one in our laggardly district, he completely ignored me and found a nice lady from my district with a husband and a couple kids too boot. ‘Twas a load off my shoulders, thought I might have to really get wacho so they’d pick the hermit who lives out in the middle of nowhere and spouts conspiracy theories at anyone that will listen, and he wants to run! Funny thing, the local Tea Party wachos would probably like his conspiracy theories and vote for him…
So much relieved, I headed home, dropping off my friend and retiring for the night at my most humble Minneapolis abode. Actually the garage, a pretty decent structure of barely a decade’s age compared to my late grandma’s 127 year old house with the hole in the roof next door. This being Minneapolis and in the ‘hood to make it worse, some wannabe burglar busted out a window last winter, letting in who knows what all wildlife, so I spent the night in Hotel VW in deferance to any bats and rats that may have wandered in before I was able to repair said window. After arranging the “dunnage” used to protect the table and chairs into a comfortable bed, I slept well, trucking “bedbugs” know what I’m talking about… Pension check hadn’t shown up in my bank balance yet, so I had to exercise some restraint at Costco, then drove through the deluges home, the Golf TDI Wagen most unfazed by it all.
Just got a call from the district party chair informing me that our willing candidate wants to run, but hasn’t committed yet. I’m layin’ low ’til filing closes!