Category Archives: Harry Welty

My 3rd Lincolndemocrat Post from March 8, 2006

I probably haven’t reread this old post … http://lincolndemocrat.com/?p=8 … for twelve years but its offers a fascinating window on my schizophrenic politics. I wrote it not long after claiming the lincolnDEMOCRAT domain name. I was through with the Republicans. Like a woman scorned I would hurl invective at them for turning my family’s long time party into a cult financed by the Kochs.

This post describes my first precinct caucus as a democrat. Its rather funny. I’d forgotten how keen Democrat true believers were. I was the lone voice of reason on a resolution to impeach……not a Donald Trump…….but George W. Bush. When the Fox talking heads describe Dems as being hell-bent on impeaching Trump it is a charge that has precedent.

I’ve once again stuck my toe into the GOP but only to wage a civilian equivalent of the battle that earned my Grandfather a Medal of Honor for service above and beyond the call of duty. I may not deserve it. I have little appetite for returning to a Republican precinct caucus that will be even more inhospitable than the ones I departed from in 2006. Trump and the NRA have replaced the Koch’s as cult leader.

Nine – Eleven Remembrance

I am sure that shortly after 9/11 I posted my recollection of events as a spectator. I haven’t found them as yet so I’ll mention some things now. I had a two-year-old website at the time. For the next half a year I posted this photograph I had taken of the Duluth East Choir during its 1999 trip to the East Coast. Across from Lady Liberty’s Island, which the Choir was visiting, I framed the choir under the Twin Towers. I made sure that my daughter’s smiling face was dead center. When the towers fell I couldn’t think of a better remembrance to share along with the audio of an East Choir recording of the song, “Lost in the Night” with my daughter singing the solo.

I woke up on the day of the attack in good spirits. I don’t recall what was on my mind but I flew into the School Superintendent’s Office happy as a lark. When a secretary told me that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Towers I shrugged it off with a joke thinking it was a cessna or something on that order. It was only as I got back into my car to drive home that I tuned into the National Public Radio and began hearing the details. Once home after my five minute return trip I turned on the television to a picture of the first tower billowing smoke. I can’t remember if the second plan had struck by then but I remember wondering if the tower, either tower could remain standing as they were consumed by fire. I watched the first tower fall then the second.

Two years ago in France I watched minute by minute videos that had been taken at the time by witnesses during the deadly wait for the towers to fall. They had been gathered up by our nation’s national security as part of the initial investigation as to what had happened during those hours.Like December 7th, 9/11 will remain a touchstone for those alive at the time. Last year, after watching the fall of the Towers all over again, Claudia and I went on to visit the Normandy Coast of France. In the iconic American battlefield cemetery overlooking the invasion site we stopped and watched as an American Flag was raised and lowered and given to a spectator. I wondered if the flag might have been given to a descendant of one of the men lost in the Invasion of France.

For a month after the attack I put up our American flag on our Portico every day.

Up until the attack my chief concern as a school board member to offer an excess levy referendum to Duluth voters to keep funding the Duluth Schools adequately. One member of our Board, Bob Mars, made up his mind to oppose the levy. That was ominous as previous referendums had foundered without a unanimous Board supporting them. I was so disconsolate I asked my greatest foe on the Board to meet with me so I could tell her I didn’t have the heart to push for the levy referendum. She begged me to find the spirit to fight for it and over the next few days I found that spirit. In fact, one of my most controversial moments took place when I gave a speech explaining the need for the levy. Later I asked a television station for their recording of it. I swore once and that was later used against me by some critics. I called it “My Damn Speech.”

The levy did indeed fail and I always blamed that in part on the terrorists who put such a pall on American spirits. It was just one more victory for them. Perhaps our current national disorder can also be pinned in part on their actions. Or, maybe, we should be looking in the mirror to see the cause of that.

Think global but act local – Welty style

Were Republicans ever good?

I have never had any doubts about the answer to that question. And yet in my life I’ve been aware of criticisms of Republicans over the course of their history from Democrats. Ironically, for a lot of those Democrats they made use of the old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them.” So successful has this practice become that ex dems and their descendants have not only joined the Republican Party but purged it of the original Republicans to make it the party they wanted all along – The Party of Trump. And Ironically, a lot of the Republicans that made the GOP the Trumplican party didn’t mean for it to go so far. They didn’t want to abandon free trade agreements. Some of them even truly felt bad about a growing national debt. Many of these Republicans were keeping an eagle eye on the Russians even after the fall of Russia’s communism.

The faithfulness of these former ideologues is shown by their hasty and pusillanimous surrender to a man they knew to be a clown. As ideologues they worship ideas but not good ideas. No they worship election winning ideas. Ideas like nativism, skin color supremacism, and hatred of academic curiosity and any evidence that their ideas are faulty. Many of them were started out as Never-Trumpers. For the past two years the Never-Trumpers have been hiding in the pro-Trump crowd. Next year, if as seems likely Trump gas a great fall like Humpty Dumpty, they will camouflage the yellow stripes running up their backs and adopt some new color; probably the standard issue red, white and blue of their deeply patriotic lapel pins. They have been worthy imitators of Vichy for the past couple years.

For the past several months I’ve been working on a book related to public education and more specifically the Duluth Public Schools. But every day a tweet storm reminds me of the reason I filed for Congress against Pete Stauber last year. Our nation is threatened by an empty huckster who expected to lose the Presidency and turn his defeat into a massive effort to start his own news Trump television Network by caterwauling that he had been robbed of victory. For the last four years I’ve comforted myself with the obvious ignorance of this man. Just today the man who has a $150 million mansion on Florida’s Hurricane coast said he’d never heard of a category 5 hurricane. This man who brags of his brilliance like the Kingfish of Amos and Andy doesn’t know, and has never known squat. He’s Kingfish a jackass that seventy years ago working class white people recognized as a fool. Who put the scales over their eyes?

If America was ever to fall to a tyrant who could have expected it to be such a loon? We have been lucky in our choice. It wasn’t Aaron Burr. It wasn’t William Randolph Hearst. It wasn’t Huey B. Long. It was “The Donald.”

If I fulfill my promise to my donors and finish the book about public schools (win, lose or draw) I hope I write the other book that’s been trying to distract me from the former. It will be a book that attempts to answer the question posed at the beginning of this post. The answer is “Yes.” Next question. How did Donald Trump ever eclipse Abraham Lincoln and make America the world’s laughing stock instead of the “shining city on a hill?”

BTW – I don’t think Donald every grew up enough to shake Amos and Andy out of is ever adolescent head. That may explain why he wants to lead his chosen white people to his Aryan heaven of gold towers. All the better to milk them.

Here’s that book that standing in the way of my writing a book about the fall of the Party of Lincoln. Please put in an order and force me to finish writing it for you. I think you will like it almost as much as most locals like my snow sculptures.





If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…

The Niagara of menacing information from across the world much of it owing to Donald Trump could leave a person exhausted and disoriented. I’ve been stockpiling stories for the blog sometime when I have time to share them. In the meantime I refuse to cower or panic. And this morning I was reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s advice to a boy on becoming a man which, like all good advice from the heyday of masculinity, I apply to all genders in his poem “If” Hemmingway’s definition of courage, “grace under pressure” also fits my attitude.

Bugaboos

I think that when I wrote this term down in my outline I had hot button issues in mind. They are Trump’s secret weapon as he changes messages every other day when he wants to change the headlines in a tweet. I’m keeping my eye on Trump

Trump’s side has made the terms liberal and conservative meaningless. I have always considered myself both in the same way I chose the best ideas from Democratic and Republican planks. Its been a long time since the Republican plank had anything on it of much interest. Its hard to take a political party seriously when they are locked in a closet like Patty Hearst and overtaken by Stockholm Syndrome.

Just twenty years ago before the disappointment of the 2001 Rapture disappointment the Party’s drivers were all looking forward to God stripping them naked and ushering good Christians to Heaven leaving their clothes behind for we sinners to goggle at. Then Christians discovered Michelle Bachmann and a form of Christianity that would have left Jesus of Nazareth wishing he could climb down from the cross and just wash his hands of his latter day worshipers.

But end of times stories have become a staple of Science Fiction. I’ve enjoyed watching the first season of the Umbrella Academy for the last week with my grandsons. The super kids in this story are doing their best to prevent Earth’s destruction.

I apologize. When I woke up this morning all of these points were fused together brilliantly. Now not so much. I did as I wrote…I studied French. Read the NY Times. Served food at the Soup Kitchen before writing this post. A lot of other stuff filled up my head.

My Secret Weapon

As I was out front mowing the weeds (the grass hasn’t budged since last week) a car with a couple teenaged girls drove by. The rolled down the window as I paused to wave back at them and they shouted “We love your snowsculptures) It being a beautiful summer day I shouted back. “Thank you. I’m not in any hurry to make another one.” The young lady closest to the window gave me a thumbs up and a smile as she drove off.

Its not my sculptures that are a secret weapon. Its my Mother’s constant admonition that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. As, I hope the video about me hawking my book suggests I have a pretty good sense of humor about myself and my ridiculous attempt to capture people’s interest. I much prefer honey. But as we’ve seen from our gold plated commode in the Oval Office sometimes we get Honey Wagons instead.

I had 43,421 pageviews in 5 months in 2006. . .

. . . when my blog was new. That was from August through December. In the first ten days of June 2019 I’ve had 48,005 pageviews.

Actually, for my blog’s first five months, March 7th through July, no statistic engine was keeping track of my hits. That didn’t start until August of 2006.

If you’re curious here is my very first post on March 7th where I declare my departure from the Grand Old Party. Donald Trump has brought me back with a vengeance.

Eudora’s latest – Family Heirlooms

It begins:

“I spent last night polishing a family heirloom to send to my son. It’s was set aside for him years ago before college. Back then it wasn’t the sort of artifact he had any use for. It still isn’t. But one hundred and forty-five years ago, filled with ice chopped from a frozen Smokey Hill River, it kept the Robb family’s butter cold on the supper table.”

Read it all on the Duluth Reader website.

Jesus and Washington, lone wolves vs herds

This is a thought I may pursue before the day is out after I attend to some mundane chores. Otherwise I might just delete this post like a dandelion seed about to be blown to oblivion.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT! FOR WHAT ITS WORTH:

For an American George Washington is the first citizen of the land. He is the nation’s Father and Founder above all others. For Christians the same must be said of Jesus. George W. Bush was once roundly ridiculed when asked who his favorite “philosopher” was for answering, “Jesus.” That in a nutshell demonstrates the challenge of dual loyalties. By so honoring the founder of Christianity, even if thinking of him as a philosopher was a stretch, Bush offended the same crowd that Hillary Clinton may have had in mind when she called Trump folks “deplorables” and handed the Presidency to him. Continue reading

How a lot of us feel

I am in awe of what sculptors can do with sand. I was asked to give it a try in Two Harbors thirty years ago at their Kayak festival and that was enough for me.

I also know that I’m not that dedicated a snow sculptor especially in terms of technique. Weather plays a role as well. I’ve done a number of presidents over the years. I’ve done Lincoln twice. The second time I did I too used the famous sculpture of him seated in the Lincoln memorial. It was a warm day and my sculpture wasn’t huge and sun defying. One fellow at church afterward told me he just didn’t think my sculpture was as good as others I’d made and that it didn’t look like Lincoln. Well the head was only a foot wide not six feet wide and he saw it the next day which was in the mid thirties and sunny.

I later used its picture as one of my 50 “trading card” pack for my 2017 school board campaign. You will note the sculpture was built near Lincoln’s birthday in 2006. That was the same time as the birth of this blog when I ran for Congress as the sole member of the “Unity” party.

The Hippy National Anthem

I enjoyed this NPR story about the musical group, The Youngbloods” contribution to the “Summer of Love.” Get Together came out in my junior or senior year of high school when America seemed ripe for an explosion. This reminiscence about the song’s history brought a tear to my eye for that lost summer fifty years ago. I am scheduled for a big high school reunion this fall. We might get together again.

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/10/711545679/get-together-youngbloods-summer-of-love-american-anthem

A young woman who graduated a year ahead of me made me a felt covered burlap wall hanging with the song’s lyrics. I’ve kept it for sentimental reasons all these dust collecting years afterward. Here’s a slightly belated thank you for my former, Sioux City Sue:

Nixonites

The Reader didn’t print the Title I’d planned on but a caption I’d suggested for the following picture. I wanted it titled “Debating Society.” I wasn’t very clear when I rushed the column to them late Tuesday night!

Below is the first paragraph. Here it is in the Online Reader.

“For several days I’ve had heated discussions on Facebook over THE issue of the day (many days) President Trump. Passersby at my house know that I hold our President in low regard. And yet in discussing him pro and con I’ve tried to be lawyerly. An old college chum echoed Trump’s call to stop MS 13, drugs, rapists and sex traffickers at the border. A Bernie Sanders supporting shirttail relative lambasted Hillary Clinton for sabotaging Bernie Sanders in her campaign for the Democratic nomination. I begged to disagree with both. Searching for middle ground is an old habit of mine. . .”

Nixonite not Kryptonite, Either one is deadly to supermen

After skipping a Not Eudora column for the past two weeks I am pleased to have cranked one out yesterday. It remains to be seen if it will show up in this week’s Reader. I was a little late sending it in last night and it was uncommonly long at about 300 words in excess of my typical 800. If it misses this week they can stuff it in the following week’s publication.

I won’t spill the beans and cut into the Reader’s circulation by giving the contents away just yet but here’s a visual teaser:

Not so fast Harry!

Before I break into some self defensive confession I must first say I’m delighted by my Baby New Year’s (aka Donald Trump) losing his head. Renee Passal from WDIO joined the Trib’s Brady Slater in giving giving my front yard and its headless snow sculpture some attention and since I’m no shrinking violet I didn’t mind the attention one bit.

Best of all, I was given a very sympathetic treatment by FOX News’s Nikki Davidson. She popped by with a sprained ankle and gamely clambered around my dangerously slippery, snow covered slope with camera and tripod in hand.

I chatted her up as I sawed Baby New Year’s head into manageable pieces and she took plenty of footage to edit down into a story for her station’s 9 PM News broadcast. Its a nice little story and I was charmed by News Anchor Dan Hanger’s banter with Nikki after the segment aired. Here’s the clip:

President Trump New Year’s Sculpture Decapitated

Admission to follow: Continue reading

Harry Welty, “Provocateur”

Brady Slater’s piece about my Cheeto-in-Chief sculpture and its temporary decapitation was fine by me. However, as a diarrhetically, self analycal writer I would have written a different version of my work.

Had I noted the drubbing I got at the hands of the Eighth district’s Trump cult I would have emphasized that the extent of my protest campaign was a $300 filing fee, gas to Hibbing and back and a couple hours filling out candidate questionnaires. Under those circumstances getting ten percent of the vote was a triumph and proof that, like the Jews after the holocaust, not all moderate Republicans were dead.

But that’s a quibble.

I thoroughly enjoyed Brady’s description of me as a “political provocateur” even though, when I set out on a political career, that is the last thing I would have imagined I would become. I still regard myself as the most reasonable politician I’ve ever met. I would probably have been reluctant to sign on with the Declaration of Independence in the beginning. I might also have retreated from Abe Lincoln’s resolve to stop secession in its tracks. I would have wished for cooler heads to talk over grievances. In my most notable local crusade demanding a vote on the half billion dollar Duluth school construction plan I was too slow and reasonable for my side’s ultimate success. My Dad was an attorney but I am no eager litigator.

In my college years there were lots of long hairs my age eager to provoke “the establishment.” I had little use for them when their words were middle fingers. I winced when one of them wrote a popular how-to-manual found in bookstores everywhere titled, “Steal this book.” People did.

But while slow to anger and quick to cool my parents held the example of my Grandfather up to me from my toddling years on. He was not just a war hero. He had been awarded his nation’s highest military medal of honor for bravery in the face of the enemy. When the stakes are high I’m all in and will meet fire with water.

I first heard the verb “provoke” from my Grandmother Welty. “I’m so provoked.” That’s what she would say in her calm, teacherly voice. It was typically small irritations that would provoke her, flies in the house, a missing piece of silver, a leaky pipe. In the face of these “provocations.” I never saw her lose her composure. However, raising my Uncle Frank, might have raised her hackles higher. He once found a pack of his parent’s prophylactics, blew them up like balloons, tied them to his bicycle and rode it and their contraceptives around the block. One time she was so provoked that she ordered her husband to put the whole family in the car and drive to the nearest boy’s juvenile center to scare her son Frank into behaving himself.

As Lincoln, and the Founders he revered would have said, they were not the provocateurs. The real provocateurs were a distant government taxing colonists without consultation and southern politicians subverting the constitution to violate the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. Ditto for me when the Duluth School Board levied a half billion dollar tax without asking voters for their approval in a bonding referendum.

So, who is the true provocateur here? Could it be a Presidential candidate who rallied his supporter to lock up his opponent? or shamelessly lied his way to the White House or who hired legal bullies to enforce this theft from business partners? or who may have colluded with foreign agents to make himself richer and compromise the laws and security of the United States? or who didn’t just avoid taxes but illegally evaded them on a colossal scale? or who so threatened the Republican Party that he resembles the tin pot dictator of Venezuela who destroyed his nation’s once booming economy?

Me, a provocateur? I spent twenty hours building a snowman and painted it cheeto-orange. In the spring it will melt and drain into Lake Superior. In contrast the man who was its model has acted the demagogue, kleptocrat, and put nearly a quarter millennia of fragile democracy in jeopardy.

And as for MAGA. A better acronym would be Make Average a Great America.

41 RIP

I have never shaken the hand of a President of the United States. I did shake the hand of one Vice President. But the less said about that the better. I have, however, shaken the hand of one man who later became President – George Herbert Walker Bush.

Today the late President will get his due in stories all across the world. One reporter who covered him described him as a very nice man. Before he ran for the Presidency, in a bid that pitted him against the more telegenic Ronald Reagan, he had been described as the the best prepared person ever to run for President. Among them were his appointment to head the Republican National Committee during the Nixon Administration and ambassador to China. The latter position was during Nixon’s Trump-like struggle, to achieve something spectacular to help him escape a crisis enveloping his presidency.

George Bush got an early start on a political career by being THE youngest combat pilot of World War II. It actually began even earlier than that. His father, Prescott Bush, was a US Senator representing Connecticut. As such he was part of an all but extinct founding branch of the Republican Party – Northeasterners. In their heyday they championed Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller and a socially liberal point of view.

I trace the current crumbling of the GOP to George Bush and others who rather than stick up for their ideals put tape on their mouths as Ronald Reagan invited white southern politicians in to the Party of Lincoln after the Democratic Party’s championing of Civil Rights made them feel unwelcome in that party.

The evolution of the Party in my lifetime has led to the release of a new toxicity represented by the email I received which I put in my previous post with its casual use of the most forbidden word of my childhood, the “N” word.

George Bush was not temperamentally part of that transformation other than his deplorable Willie Horton ad. In fact, by temperament Bush was almost the antithesis of an egotistical politician. His mother taught him not to talk about himself. Christopher Buckley, the son of the conservative icon William Buckley, a speechwriter for Bush and clever novelist tells the charming story of being invited to Bush’s home while the President’s mother was present. When her son began telling some very interesting stories of his many remarkable experiences the mother interrupted him to scold that he was talking too much about himself.

Considering the occupant of today’s White House that anecdote, all by itself, suffices to show how far today’s America has driven off the rails.

But in 1980 I wanted a champion for common sense and moderate Republican values. At first I was a big supporter of George HW Bush. My first visit to the Kitchi Gammi Club was to meet with a group of Bush supporters for his Presidential campaign. That gathering place more than anything demonstrates just how out of touch my kind of Republicans of that era were.

When Reagan blew past Bush I set my sights on the Independent candidacy of the Illinois Republican Congressman John Anderson. But before Bush signed on to be Ronald Reagan’s Vice President and I wrote him off I drove to Minneapolis to get a look at Bush up close. I am no longer sure where I saw him but I think it was the U of M’s Northrup Hall. Claudia and I went over and I shook his hand.

I am about to out a former cheerleader of mine

A former fan of mine has become a bitter critic. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned his name before in the blog and I won’t do so in the next post. However, like other people I’ve interacted with and mentioned I leave a bread crumb trail that any enterprising person could use to track the person I’ve mentioned.

On a few occasions I gladly quoted Jim when he sent me salutory emails often beginning “Handsome Harry.” Over the last year of Trump, a man he apparently venerates now as much as he once honored me, Jim has been really pissed off with me. After he sent me an email calling Barack Obama a nigger I told him not to send me any more emails with that nefarious word in it. He ignored my request at least once. I had suggested that if he found my disdain for Donald Trump that objectionable he simply stop reading my blog.

He may have stopped reading it but today he couldn’t help himself but jab me with the unpleasant email I’ll place at the end of this post. He doesn’t use the “N” word but he calls the admirable candidate for governor of Georgia Stacy Abrams an Aunt Jemima. It would be a challenge to be much more offensive than that.

I find it ironic that Jim always conflates President Obama with Al Sharpton. That’s because his idol, Donald Trump, is a White Al Sharpton squared. At least Al is easy to ignore whereas Donald Trump’s objective for the past three years is to be on the front page of every newspaper in the world every day.

Here’s is seven minutes of an NPR interview of Stacey Abrams being so clear headed and rational that it puts most other politicians I’ve watched through the years to shame.

And here is my old ally as a reincarnation of the northern Minnesotans who once lynched three black men in Duluth (although the You Tube Christmas music he links to is nice……and the musicians are not responsible for the “stars and bars” someone else affixed to their country music carol):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cenz3cP3rjE

Long live the Stars and Bars! Aunt Jemima lost and even Uncle Ben couldn’t help her. Neither could the race-baiter in chief Obama, Sharpton, Jackson and Harry Welty.

And Stauber beat drug smoker and vagrant Radinovich! Doesn’t get any better than than that for lawful personal, private gun owners, pro-life Americans and anti-Sierra Club Americans like me.

WARNING: I just checked the video again and this time it began with Donald Trump asking for money.