My latest column for the Duluth Reader.
Charcoal sketch of Daniel Marsh Welty by his wife, Georganne, circa 1960
My latest column for the Duluth Reader.
Charcoal sketch of Daniel Marsh Welty by his wife, Georganne, circa 1960
Here’s my column in this week’s Reader:
Today, Halloween, the Congress began its fourth serious attempt to impeach and possibly remove a President of the United States.
I will not pledge to avoid running against Pete Stauber in 2020 even if I am on the Duluth School Board. I can not do it because today the Democrats in the House of Representatives did the right thing and something which one of Pete Stauber’s Republican colleagues predicted could lead to a second American Civil War.
I wish I could glibly say it will not come to that. Four years ago everyone but me, it seems, laughed when Donald Trump threw himself into the Republican Primary. They laughed at him like earlier generations laughed at Adolph Hitler.
Republicans and Newspapers knew him for what he was: a fraud, a clown, a blowhard, a cheat, a bully and an ignorant narcissist. The Duluth News Tribune is owned by a small time conservative media group that didn’t want to alienate their many rural readers. As a result the Trib failed to endorse the stable and competent Hillary Clinton over the candidate described too kindly two sentences ago. Their subscriptions and revenue were too important to sacrifice for the future of America. Today, damn near every Republican politician is following the fine example of the Duluth News Tribune’s editors.
To say I was disappointed that the Trib did not endorse me for the School Board is terribly off the mark. Rather, I am honored to be just one more obvious choice for an endorsement snubbed because of the editors small mindedness. Look at the final ad I placed in the Trib’s competition the Duluth Reader. Its written as though some neutral source was evaluating me but the fact is I wrote it (as my disclaimer puts it) “by his own darned self.”
I know my strengths. I am a seeker of new information. I value honesty as others value courage and believe that honesty requires courage. I hold self righteousness in low regard. I hold arrogance in even lower regard. I value humility but I know it doesn’t require me to deny my rather high opinion of myself. To prove my point I can point to the acknowledged two best presidents in US history. Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were brilliant. And yet, both of these men were graced with great humility so unlike the fetid stench given off by our current President.
I feel uniquely prepared to bring any Trumplican ????? to his or her senses. That would be Pete Stauber in Minnestota’s Eighth Congressional District seat. So, if I am elected to the Duluth School Board I still might try to hobble Pete in 2020.
Feel free to report this to the Duluth News Tribune. I’m sure if the Trib gets this information out by this weekend it might undermine my chances of getting elected to the Duluth School Board. If I am not on the School Board I’ll have more time to figure out how to keep the Constitution safe from Pete Stauber’s spinelessness. I’ll also have more time to practice my French. “Liberté, Equality, Fraternity”
It only took four hours and some phone calls but my letter is on its way to the Sunday before the election Trib. Sadly I would have had to send it in yesterday to get in this Sunday’s Trib. I’m sure if the thirty day’s hadn’t interfered my letter would have counted as a free letter to the editor. Now it has cost me $62.50. No wonder political letters have all but dried up.
I also OK’ed an ad for myself on my Facebook Page. I’ll have spent about $20.00 each on four week-long ad runs. Unless I take up the offer Facebook sent me to get some of their professional advice on how to turn this post as an ad Were Republicans ever good?. I’m tempted.
BTW for your curiosity I have received not a single order for this book online…except for my brother…who graciously gave me a nice contribution as well. I have “sold” about 75 books by donation. I will not be printing out huge numbers of them but I will print out a couple extra when I put the printing order in. That won’t be any time soon. The last six weeks I haven’t had the long quiet stretches needed to compose a book…..just the short intense moments to crank out blog posts. I hope I’ll be able to clear my head after the election win, lose or draw. And in that time I will put together a quickie book (sort of a Harry’s Reader stopgap book as a freebie for those 75 unfulfilled orders. Then it will be on to my Idiot book about public education then if I can martial the concentration I hope to explain how the Republican Party turned out so cockeyed.
BTW – My “Idiot” Book comes from the famous quotation of Mark Twain: First God created the Idiot. That was for practice. Then he created the School Board.” I love that quote. I put it on my Education page in my first School Board related webpage.
Heck I just googled it and found three occasions when I broadcast that bit of spite:
www.snowbizz.com › WeltyforSchoolBoard
For God’s sake when I was in high school and a teacher’s orders were obeyed like … public that agreed with Mark Twain when he said, “First God created idiots.
www.snowbizz.com › ISD709
“First God created idiots. That was for practice. Then he created school boards.” Mark Twain. If you don’t read anything else on this page look at this. It is an …
The official source for all the blather of … – lincolndemocrat.com
lincolndemocrat.com › …
Jun 15, 2019 – The candidate I thought had it made in the shade, the ex-Chair of the ….. reference to finding stuff on my first website: www.snowbizz.com. … She embraced evangelical tenets, like trusting God, not one’s own feelings. …. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain’s assessment: “First God created the idiot.
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.
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.
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 many 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. No more.
The faithlessness 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. Now 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 started out as Never-Trumpers. But for the past two years the Never-Trumpers have been hiding in the pro-Trump crowd. Next year, if as seems likely, Trump has 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 a news Trump television Network by caterwauling that he had been robbed of victory. Like everyone but me he seemed astonished to have pulled it off.
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 few would have expected it to be to 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” Republicans were once the salt of the nation. 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 ever 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.
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.
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.
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.
. . . 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.
“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.
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
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.
Here’s today’s Not Eudora column in the Duluth Reader.
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.
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:
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. . .”
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:
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:
Admission to follow: Continue reading
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.