Remember when politics was fun and friends could banter back and forth civilly? Over the last two years you have followed me on a discovery journey. Completely lost is my naïve attitude that all is right with the world as long as one simply votes.
I find that, given the opportunity to chat with friends who are Democrats (yes, I still have some), we agree on many moral issues and that the current political system is utterly broken. Together we end up questioning how on earth did we get to this point.
What we most often disagree on is the president, his tactics and what he is doing to the fabric of our nation. One of my closest friends took inauguration day off to celebrate. I was definitely not celebrating.
If you travel for a living, have cable or regularly go to a gym, it doesn't take long, flipping channels to discover that the media on both sides plays fast and loose with the truth. Sometimes you have to dig to find it or find some else who has already done the digging.
Since I traverse the length of the state on a regular basis I found it particularly disheartening to come across "Progressive" radio stations in the Madison and Chicago markets, whose rhetoric makes nearly all conservative talk show hosts sound like angelic choir boys and girls. Demonizing for the sake of demonizing has been come the norm in our society. It is not just in politics -- look at reality TV. Give me ME TV any day.
It still amazes me that President Obama, his campaign and his union supporters have convinced a large part of the American public that class warfare is okay and it will somehow lead to a brighter future for all citizens of this exceptional country. This is straight out of "Rules for Radicals" and it is one sure way to accomplish the dissolution of a civil and free society. "The community organizer's job is to make people angry, rip society apart and the put it back together to fit their world view or agenda." This was a staple of his campaign, the campaign that has never ended.
America, get ready to see this tactic amped up across the nation but at a much more sophisticated level.
In late October our staff stopped by our new location in the Hudson Professional Building. There was a discreet small sign posted with three letters and an arrow, OFA.
While I was thinking Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, other staff members recognized it stood for Obama For America. The president's massive, campaign organization has now morphed into Organizing for Action (OFA), taking its structure and database with it.
The reinvention is now a tax- exempt 501(c) (4) non-profit group to be composed of fifty different state organizations. It can accept unlimited donations from individuals. Recently they have decided not to accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors although it is apparently legal to do so. Jim Messina is the national chairman of Organizing for Action. He is a former deputy White House chief of staff to President Obama and was the president's campaign manager for the 2012 election. One other note to be aware of is that they do not have to disclose who is donating, although in the spirit of transparency they claim they will. You might recall, transparency in his first administration was more or less opaque.
The group will advocate on key policy issues such as gun control, climate change and immigration, train future leaders and devote attention to local issues throughout the United States moving the President's agenda forward. Isn't this what a political action group does?
It is considered a social welfare and community organizing project, and it claims it "will be not be involved in any way in elections or partisan political activity." And yet its website is www.barackobama.com.
Honestly, who is kidding who? Already they have violated IRS rules and it is reported that deep pocket donors giving $500,000 or more may have quarterly meetings with the president. (Although as of today, they are now denying this.) They will be active pushing the president's agenda, on a state and local level.
Take this and add to it the Building One America project, which is another community organizing effort which has definite links to the president. Well, you get the picture.
Another thread in the cloth is www.wageclasswar.org, whose parent organization Campaign for America's Future encourages Democratic political candidates to engage in "Class war." WCW was launched on Nov. 15, 2012, just over a week after the election.
Honestly do you really want to be at "war" with your fellow citizens, friends, family members and neighbors?
One of the most unique aspects of America is our volunteerism. You can see this in our community. The list of groups that volunteers in our community support is amazing and it makes Hudson and the surrounding area a better place to live. Our willingness to help out others both here, locally, nationally and abroad is something unheard of in most other countries. This is volunteering not "community organizing" in the classic Saul Alinsky model.
Volunteering brings people together for the common good. Years ago, I had to opportunity to interview a student who was here from Russia. He needed to include a stint of volunteering while he was here as part of his trip. He candidly told me that this concept quite simply did not exist in his country.
I feel too much is at stake to remain silent. However, it would be nice to see a quieting of the dialogue with the hope that people could share their thoughts and maybe even agree to some facts.
David Gergen's recent speech on MPR's Midday (March 1) is worth listening to in this regard. It left me with a glimmer of hope. So instead of labeling people, demonizing them based on top down rhetoric, perhaps it is time to reach across the aisle and share your concerns in a calm and respectful way. Try to let go of fear and truly reach out. In the spirit of the Easter season, it might be time for reconciliation.
Locally, we are extremely fortunate to live in a community where five brave individuals chose to volunteer by running for school board. The Hudson School District remains a hot bed of turmoil and anyone who chooses to get involved deserves to be thanked and the best why each of you can do that is to go vote!