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Muse on participatory democracy and the roles of all citizens including students, artists, the media, and of course, politicians. Presented by the Weisman Art Museum with the exhibition "Hindsight is Always 20/20".

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Minnesota Pro Bowl

MN Pro Bowl photoResized.jpg
My grandson, Jack, after visiting the polls in 2006. He won't trash talk you - but he may need a diaper change.

After the November 4 election I’d planned to turn my blog posts more towards art and its evolving role in public affairs. I’d hoped to focus less on electoral politics, but here in Minnesota the election isn’t over. The Coleman/Franken recount has brought out the good, the bad, and the ugly in constituents on both sides. OK, maybe just the bad and the ugly. And it’s putting the lie to Minnesota Nice.

I should admit up front I never really believed in Minnesota Nice. I’ve always thought it was a provincial fable, a way to put a positive spin on passive aggressiveness – and a free pass when it comes to avoiding direct discussion of tough topics. I’ve also thought that ‘nice’ is overrated. How about we try for generous and compassionate? Or courteous, intelligent, and welcoming? Nice? I’ve always felt confident Minnesotans at their best are a lot more than just nice. But these days even humble ‘nice’ is in short supply.

The reader posts I’ve read on local news sites are awe-inspiring in their pure negativity and, too often, completely baseless allegations. How can so many know so little about something so widely reported? Where do these people find the time to spew so much venom? What fuels their paranoia? How do they muster such righteous aversion to simple facts? It’s as if they inhabit some strange, parallel universe where they’ve yet to discover the virtues of trust, patience, and common sense, not to mention nice. Here’s an actual Nov. 18th reader comment posted to a StarTribune website article on the recount:

"Al Franken is a whining, loud-mouthed, woman-demeaning, rape-promoting, porn-spewing, abortion-embracing, sick excuse of a comedian. It is time for him to pack up his bags and get out of Minnesota. For good. For the good of the State and the good of the country. His very presence in Minnesota creates an odor worse than the largest swine farm. It is time for a change... of Al Franken's diapers. Go home, Al, to Hollywood or to a large east coast city where your kind are embraced. You are a loser, even if you happen to have your big buck allies insert enough illegal votes to eke out a "win" over Coleman."

Swine farm? Diapers? Illegal votes? And what exactly does s/he mean by, “your kind?? I’ve used an anti-Franken post to illustrate my point, but I’ve seen plenty of Coleman trashing, too.

As the recount rolls on, Minnesota Nice is for chumps. The partisan posters are hell bent on winning the world championship in mudslinging and a Guinness World Record for baseless vitriol. They’ve created a whole new meaning for the term “gutter ball.?

Yes, here in Minnesota the election isn’t over. On Day Two of the Coleman/Franken recount things are already getting ugly and, well, pretty weird. And as the journalist Hunter S. Thompson once famously observed, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.?


I agree completely with your take on this situation. The state is HAND COUNTING every ballot in this process - what more do people want? The only thing these hyper-partisan comments promote is the eventual illegitimacy of the result if their guy loses. Get over it

Man, that's one good-looking kid


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