THE POLITICS OF THE PERSONAL
I always say "The Personal is Political" and well, this is about as personal as it gets..
In just a few minutes, I am headed out the door to deliver the tribute to my Mom that you will find below the fold.
Nearly everyone claims to have the Best Mom Ever, but I truly won that lottery.. Lots of eternal gratitude here for the love and the latitude that were always shown me.
This level of disclosure is rare for me -- I lead a pretty public life and usually am highly protective of my personal stories. But here it is -- a big glimpse into Who I Am and How I Came to Be.
But this is political too, in ways both direct and more subtle.
The values that my Mom lived by are values of care and equality. As my friend and fellow Minnesotan joedemocrat would say -- "That's why we are Democrats -- We care about people."
And Yes Mom -- both my parents, like their parents before them -- was a fiercely partisan life-long die-hard member of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party. They love their Minnesota down-to-earth Democrats -- Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy, that old Iron Ranger Rudy Perpich, Al Franken, Mark Dayton, and most of all, Paul Wellstone. My parents raised $$ for him, met Paul and Sheila on many Green Bus Tour occasions and finally, inconsolable, drove 200 miles to attend his Memorial.
“Never separate the life you live from the words you speak," said Paul, and that was Mom, start to finish.
My parents also helped deliver their local rural white caucus for Barack Obama -- the man who shared my Mom's Audacity of Hope. My parents came to the Twin Cities to watch returns and celebrate Election 2008 with us -- it was such a joyous day. So unsurprisingly, among the many many laments of my brother was this -- "There is one less vote for Obama."
I told him not to worry -- I will bring 100 more...
But I think there is a larger political message here too -- one so much bigger than party politics and artificial boundaries. The message of Mom is one of generosity and fairness, of possibility and justice, of openness and faith in the ultimate goodness of people. Although Mom was a Lutheran and the tribute below is influenced by the New Testament, please take these words as she did -- not as One Way absolutes, but as ethical guideposts that transcend the tight boxes so many try to construct. That will be the spirit in which the many will come, from all over everywhere, from all races, ethnicities, classes, sexual orientations, religions, from all walks of life -- Small White Lutheran Town Minnesota will be a sea of diversity today.
If that isn't political, then nothing is.
Wellstone was right --"In the last analysis, politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine."
And Mom was right too.
So I am off now - to honor and celebrate my Mom - off to politic today, in my own way.
Off to politic in Mom's way.