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From the Lefthand Corner: Labor Day and on to elections

It was gratifying to see the heavy turnout at the Labor Day picnic in Baxter on Monday. It was really good to see a large, diverse and happy crowd of all ages gathered at a group event.

Like the State Fair, it was a welcome, positive exception to the downward trend in organized event attendance. It was a job well done by area labor unions, showing that they are active and motivated here in the lakes area.

The event was an enjoyable time of camaraderie, sharing experiences and histories, but with hopeful expectation of better days ahead in Minnesota.

Labor celebration gatherings are subject to the same competition and change that all organizations are experiencing. The present day preference and dependence on getting smarter with and entertained by smart phones and other such hand held devices has challenged all traditional groupings' attempt to maintain interest, participation and attendance.

You know that by looking around at our churches, service clubs and other organizations.

The school year has now begun. Daily routine schedules are under annual adjustments. Labor Day has come and gone for this year.

Now, the already extensive political activity kicks in at a highly increased level. Over the next two months, it will fast forward from "plentiful" to "saturation" to "oversaturation" in a steeply ascending arc. That's the way it is, with huge dollars flowing in every direction, most of them countering expensive negative volleys from the other side.

I believe most of us, including many of differing persuasion, wish that we could instead rely on simple, but true, factual presentation in our campaigns. That is the campaign need No. 1. No. 2 should be a genuine comparison of the candidates' attributes, degree of preparation and ready capabilities for performance of the important jobs that they are seeking.

Instead, too much will be focused on generalities that have popular appeal right now. Such generalities, particularly when negatively framed, may have little connection to the day-to-day, term-long job performance of the office being sought.

Some candidates will slide by, unfortunately, with chance of success, expressing little more than popular generalities as neatly arranged and framed by their orchestrated campaigns.

In the recent past, too many elections have been won by the less competent, by simply focusing on "The War," or "No More Taxes." This year we have seemingly reverted to "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" similar to what elected Rudy Perpich in 1982. The trite pronouncements are projected loudly, with minimal substance and totally lacking in detail or specificity.

I do still hope this year that there will be more true comparison of what the competing candidates have to offer to fulfill the two-, four- or six-year commitments to fulfill the important jobs they seek.

If the voting public comes alive and is interested enough to demand it, meaningful comparison of candidate qualification, capability and readiness to serve will happen.

I'm not very optimistic that we will see much in the way of change back to accentuating the positive, and minimizing the negative, in partisan politics this year, but some year soon, I hope.