Many people have been asking very good questions about the Republican Primaries, which start incredibly early this time ‘round. Sadly, I don’t have any good answers – but I can give a few really lousy ones.
It’s been quite a year in the economy. 70% of all Americans think the economy is going badly according to a CNN poll, with unemployment the biggest concern of a solid majority. By a 7-1 margin Americans will tell you this is a bad time to find a “quality” job, by a recent Gallup poll – the worst figure they’ve ever seen. But 2011 was a year in which there was solid growth in the total number of jobs, even if they aren’t quite what people are hoping for.
It’s a story that truly deserves the term “meteoric” – a brief ball of heat streaking across the sky for just one moment, then crashing to the earth with a terrific thud. The rise and fall of Michael Brodkorb is the biggest story in Minnesota politics this month, yet it begs caution on so many levels. It is full of unsubstantiated rumors and personal tragedy that do not deserve much public scrutiny. We cannot be sure exactly how it ends, given that some pieces are still playing out.
But there is one thing that we know about this story that is worth telling now – influence is fleeting when done for the sake of influence itself. That cautionary tale has a deep meaning well beyond “politics”.
A quiet grey day in Saint Paul rustles slowly as the kids and animals laze deep into the morning. There’s no reason to get up early – no obligations, nowhere to be, no sun calling. The holiday has started on its own time, creeping into our lives without much fuss and fanfare because that’s how it comes. The holiday starts when everything else stops.
It is dark outside when the alarm goes off, not at all a time to wake up. The usual 8 hours and 41 minutes of daylight we can expect on a Winter Solstice is never enough to keep us going, even on a relatively warm and sometimes even bright year like this. The brown Winter of 2011 is just as dark as any other.