Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tom Emmer believes in having seven children

When it comes to politics, I suppose I’m what they call a single-issue voter. I really don’t give a lot of thought to budgets or tax breaks or things like that. What I’m mainly concerned about when I walk into my local polling place is where the candidates stand on the issue of having seven children.

That’s why Tom Emmer is my man in this year’s Minnesota gubernatorial race. Tom Emmer made it very clear right out of the gate that he is strongly in favor of having seven children. In fact, he's made having seven children one of the cornerstones of his run. His earliest campaign ad was entirely dedicated to this immensely important issue. The ad prominently featured the smiling faces of Emmer’s kids, all lined up outside the family home in an easy-to-tally fashion. If anyone ever tries to tell you that Tom Emmer is soft on having seven children, you can count them for yourself: One, two, three, four, five, six… seven!

Even when Emmer doesn’t include his own seven children in his campaign advertising, the topic is clearly never far from his heart. Subsequent ads run on Emmer’s behalf have featured a variety of multi-ethnic children being traumatized by the policies embraced by Emmer’s opponents. Some might say that this is pandering or overselling the concept, but I don’t believe so. These ads simply reflect Tom Emmer’s passion for and tireless dedication to having seven children.

I don’t mean to disparage Tom Emmer’s worthy opponents, both of whom have some admirable qualities of their own. But the fact of the matter is that Emmer is the lone candidate with the courage to have seven children. It’s difficult for me to fully embrace Independence Party candidate Tom Horner’s wishy-washy position of having three children. To me, that suggests hedging one’s bets and playing things too safe. Worse yet, DFL candidate Mark Dayton showed a disturbing lack of backbone when he joined the “two children of a failed marriage” camp. Despite any other winning traits these men may possess, I’m afraid I just can’t look past their lack of commitment to having seven children. At a certain point, one simply has to wonder whether the poor planning that contributed to Dayton and Horner’s failure to have seven children will bleed over into their governance.

I know what you’re thinking: “But what about Tom Emmer’s history? Hasn’t he flip-flopped repeatedly on the having seven children issue?” It’s true. At various points in the past, Tom Emmer has adopted multiple views on this topic. Among other positions, he has previously adhered to the doctrine of having six, five and, yes, even two children. If one follows the paper trail back far enough, there is even evidence that Emmer took a steadfast position of having no children for much of his youth. Some see this as hypocrisy, but I think of it as an indicator that Tom Emmer is a man willing to learn, expand his worldview and grow as a person. Past positions aren’t important. What’s important is that Tom Emmer is currently committed to having seven children, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

I fully understand if you’re not swayed by this analysis. I realize that I have a certain degree of tunnel vision when it comes to this issue, but it’s one that I hold dear to my heart. As always, I encourage my fellow Minnesotans to follow their own hearts when they head to the polls this November. I, for one, will be voting for Tom Emmer.

Because Tom Emmer believes in having seven children. And that’s what matters.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Father spoke of the New York Yankees

"No," Father said, "The Yankees are not evil, no more than a germ is evil, or a tornado. Things like these are creations of nature. They only follow the constraints of that nature and can never hope to do otherwise, can never hope at all. That nature may have evil results, may destroy those things we deem good, but it is not itself evil. It only is."

Father took a small sip from the tumbler, his gaze focused somewhere on the horizon beyond our heads. "Because evil is a human construct, and tornados and germs and Yankees are not human. Perhaps these Yankees were human at one time, but to a man they surrendered all claim on humanity the instant they paid their busfare and lit out for the Bronx. Now they are little more than automatons, an unfeeling fleet of pinstriped golems laboring without thought or joy or even ambition, prevailing inevitably because that is what they do and why they are."

He sat then, folding into the worn leather armchair with a weariness we had never seen before. "There is no shame in losing to these Yankees," he murmured. "Just as there is no thrill in winning for these Yankees. They will continue, insensate and unblinking, and we will stand in the shallows, steel-jawed and buoyed by false bravado, like beachcombers trapped in a cove, praying into an indifferent void that maybe this will be the one time among millions when the rip tide ebbs before reaching the shore but knowing in our hearts that our drowning is imminent. And in the end our only comfort may be that no matter how many glories they reap, they will glean no enjoyment, no fulfillment, because again these feelings, all feelings, are the domain of a humanity that is no more than a vague shimmer of memory for these Yankees."

"No," Father said, "The Yankees are not evil, but they are damned. They are damned." And Father was weeping now, but when we looked in his eyes we saw no trace of sorrow.

- Ira Brooker