Don Bye, columnist
As we celebrate our nation's Independence Day this week, I invite thought and reflection as to how we feel regarding our nation's status and direction. We celebrate our rare existence in a very rich nation with an unparalleled quarter of a thousand years of continuous, uninterrupted freedom border to border.
We are just driving back from our biennial DFL State Convention in Rochester. It was not a new experience. I believe it was my 27th such event, dating back to 1964. It was another three long days of fascinating frustration to us DFL junkies, of boredom and bewilderment to some of the less interested, and a mix of the two to many participants and observers.
Another horrible and senseless occurrence happened in Texas last week. It was another isolated, but too common, event: a school shooting with multiple deaths of students and teachers. Our society in aftermath wonders, "Why? Why? Why?" Then, while the almost constant coverage is in play, society ponders what we can do to prevent the same or similar future happenings.
"A toooussin Svedes run tru da veeds - a shasd by vun Norveegen" was a common comment around our quite Norwegian household. It was even more common as the May 17 Norwegian Independence Day appeared near at hand on our wall calendar. We grew up believing that our little world was divided between those of us Norwegians and those who wished they were.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently announced his candidacy for governor again. He was our governor for eight years, ending just eight years ago. He was a very negative governor then, and there is no reason to believe he'll be any better now. Pawlenty made a feeble attempt at the presidency in the 2012 race. That ended early when, in Iowa, he hit bottom, polling even below the next lowest candidate, our very own Michele Bachmann.
Florida teens are trying hard to get our gun laws changed in the aftermath of the terrible school shooting last week. Is it just a question again of how long it will last? Or is this the time such effort will last and bring about meaningful change? We have had all too many incidents of single or dual planned shootings of innocent young people in our land the past few decades. In most of those cases, high- powered assault rifles were used by the shooters.
Politics has strange timetables. The best-laid plans of mice and men. Early last week Rick Nolan was working his way toward re-election for one last term as our U.S. Congressional District 8 representative. He had selected his campaign manager and most of his campaign staff, accumulated a good level of funding and was on his way to November. Then he alighted from a plane in St. Paul and told the world that he is done being a Congressman.
The Trump train keeps rolling along, bringing far more damage than improvement. This column is mostly a review of Trump's inaugural speech from January 2017. On Tuesday, we were all "blessed" with Trump's version of the "greatness" of his record, how "great we all have it now" and what "great" things he is going to unravel and unroll this year. So, let's take a look at what he promised us a year ago in his inaugural speech on Jan 20, 2017.
As the new year begins, I'm tired of writing about the latest escapades of our President Trump, and you're probably tired of my writing about the lies or outrageous, inappropriate and downright hurtful statements from Mr. Trump. But this past week, he did it again. He has made this past week the s***hole saga, which could be another title for this column. In Minnesota and across the nation, the news headlines and lead stories have reported Trump's most outrageous statement yet, that from his mouth, "Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?"
As I sit in my comfortable rocker with my first cup of coffee, I think of a concluding quote from a layperson's sermon a few years ago. As she said, I can truly say, "Thank you, God, for everything." This is an easy Thanksgiving column to write because I have so much to be thankful for. My first waking thoughts this morning as I lay in a warm, warm bed. I contemplated the time and whether I had to get up and "brave the elements" any time that morning.