Tag Archives: Republican

Election 2016: The Alamo and American Voters

Today, is a good day to reblog this post written before Trump was even the Republican nominee for president. The tone of our nation’s politics certainly did not improve after November’s election.

However, contrary to the media hype, this White House is not the Alamo. Even a politically embattled president is considered innocent until proven guilty and has the right to face their accusers.

No, this White House is not the Alamo. Nor will it be. Too, many experienced generals in the cabinet. Besides, what do Republicans really have to fear? After all, if President Trump is hounded out of office, the next three in line are also conservative Republicans.

Its always important to be careful what you wish for, especially in politics. Oh, there may be a political massacre. Who ends being massacred, is the question at hand.

For the sake of our great nation…may truth will out and justice be done.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

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I have been reading a book about the battle of the Alamo.  It is a sad tale of a besieged and surrounded fort near San Antonio, Texas. There in the early morning hours of March 6, 1836, its brave defenders all gave their lives for their state and country.

The over 160 American men, of diverse ethnicity, that held that small fort from February 23 until the final assault by Mexican troops on March 6, knew that the Mexican General Santa Anna did not take prisoners and that their time on this earth would shortly and violently be over.

There were several famous American frontiersmen, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett who died at the battle of the Alamo.  Accounts recorded later by Mexican officers and an officer’s widow and a male black slave, the only adult lives spared, are filled with the horrors of kissing a young husband goodbye as he ran out to meet certain…

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Being a Press Secretary is a tough job…just saying

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Patricia Turgeon…Press Secretary and Assistant Communications Director

I have been watching the relationship between Sean Spicer and the press with interest.  As a former press secretary to a high profile elected official, who was a polarizing political figure, I can clearly state that being a press secretary is a tough job.

I rarely talk about anything that I did while employed by either Republicans or Democrats at the Minnesota State Capitol. While watching Sean Spicer’s press briefing regarding the false report of the removal of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King bust from the oval office and the dispute regarding inauguration crowd numbers, I caught myself literally shaking my head. Boy, did that bring back memories.

I worked in communication for the Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State during the Coleman-Franken and Emmer-Dayton recounts.  I was there for the marriage amendments and several election cycles.  I was the lone republican on the communication’s team in a democrat office.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (Democrat) best described my role and gave me one of the nicest compliments of my life all at the same time.  He and I are both avid readers of history–especially  Civil War history.  One day he heard about a Civil War tour of the Capitol and enthusiastically invited me to go with him.  Through the tunnels we raced.

The tour guide explained that during the Civil War a person had to be a certain height to enter military service. Sadly, I bemoaned that I couldn’t have served, because I was too short. Secretary Ritchie’s eyes just danced as he smiled at me from ear to ear and exclaimed, “Oh, Pat, they’d have taken you…you’re a fighter!”

I definitely presented my view on a variety of issues while working in that office.  When asked for input, I can only remember losing an argument regarding press relations once. That incident did not involve the Secretary.

A reporter had called me to ask for information.  He had been following an issue and it was his story.  I told him that the information he was seeking was not yet available.  At that second, it was a truthful answer.  No sooner had I hung up the phone, than my supervisor walked into my office with a press announcement she had drafted regarding that very decision.  I vehemently argued that the reporter should be given a call before the press announcement was released.  He deserved that and it would be the right thing to do.  I was over-ruled and with the supervisor standing over me, I sent out the press release.

Within minutes my phone rang with an very angry reporter yelling at me.  His comments were unkind, personal and very terse.  During his tirade,  I told him several times that he had every right to be upset, but he was too hot to listen. I was trying to tell him, while the supervisor was staring at me, that I agreed with him. The whole time I was being dressed down by the report, the supervisor stood in my office smirking at me.  When the phone call ended, the person said that was to bad that I got told off.

When you work for other people, are not in charge and you need that job to put your child through college, sometimes you do what you are told knowing that it is not what you would do. Nobody likes to have their personal ethics compromised to keep a job. When that happens to a press secretary, it can be in front of the whole world.

My work as a press secretary taught me several things:

1. Grow a very thick skin. Let criticism run off of your back like rainwater.  Learn to recognize the difference between the war and a fight. Take the long view to win the war and learn to just let somethings go.

2. Stay out front. Remain focused on your strategy and message.  Do not get distracted by your opponents darts and arrows.  In war and politics victory belongs to those with the best offense. Even the best defense can only end in a siege.  .

3.  Be smarter than the dog. If a dog bites you once its the dog’s fault, if the dog bites you a second time it is your fault for not being smarter than the dog.  Do not do your adversary’s work for them.  An example of this would be saying that there are different facts.  No, facts are facts. The discussion is about the accurate presentation of fact and the difference between spin (opinion) and fact.

4.  If you are going bear hunting don’t bring bird shot, come loaded for bear.  When you are going to correct anyone have the quantifiable data with you and present it in a concise, easy to understand, impossible to dispute manner.

5. Keep it positive.  I have written well over a hundred press releases and any message can be delivered using positive or negative words.  Use positive.

6. Words matter–connotation and denotation.

7.  Reporters have a job to do.  By its very nature the relationship between a press secretary and the press is going to be adversarial.  Create good working relationships, be accessible and whenever possible help them.

8. Excellence is its own reward.  It is hard to make an argument against excellence.

I have never spoken to that reporter about his call. Nor to anyone else about it. I let it go.  I did and still do wish that he would have calmed down that day and heard what I was saying to  him.  That, I fought for you, I lost, you had every right to be angry and I am sorry that you were treated that way.  That person was and still is a great reporter…just saying.

Just Saying: Bullying and Political Theater

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Jennifer Holliday receiving death threats and backlash over performing at the Trump inauguration as reported in a CNN article is bullying pure and simple. It is not honorable. It is not justifiable and its sole goal is to silence opposing views. If the shoe was on the other foot and conservatives were doing this to Clinton supporters, they would be called new age “brown shirts” and rightfully so. Have Clinton’s supporters become the demeaning and intolerant tyrants that they profess to so vehemently oppose? In this case, it would appear so.

There is a vast difference between this type of mean-spirited tyrannical behavior and peaceful protesting. I condemn the former from any political source or group and wholly support the latter.
 
In addition, I believe that it is not honorable for the losing party’s elected members of Congress to boycott the inauguration of our next president. Have these members of Congress forgotten the first rule of politics…those that show up rule?  I cannot imagine the public and media outrage at Republicans had they refused to go to an Obama or Clinton inauguration. This political theater of boycotting the inauguration demonstrates a total lack of respect for the Constitution and Hillary Clinton’s adamant call during the presidential debates for the losing candidate and their supporters to respect election results and the peaceful transition of leadership. Their support for the politics of division will only serve to embolden our nation’s enemies at the cost of American lives when, not if, they test our new president.
 
Tomorrow I will watch the inauguration, be proud to be an American and celebrate the peaceful transition of power. I will pray for unity for our nation, respect for the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the rule of law; safety for our people; wisdom for leadership; and rigorous peaceful political debate. That all of our new governing officials come together with a sincere interest to do what is best for our nation as a whole and rediscover that our political system’s great strength has always been compromise.
 
I would encourage the members of Congress who are boycotting tomorrow’s inauguration to reconsider and take note of Trump’s philosophy of encouraging a “friendship” with Russia…it is important to keep your friends close, but more important to keep your enemies even closer….just saying.

Just Saying: Forgiveness and Burying the Cat

 

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I have never made any secret of the fact that I am a Christian. So, for the past several years, when attending Church has been impossible due to pain, mobility issues or my severely compromised immune system from chemotherapy treatment, I have turned on my television and watched, “The Christian Worship Hour” every Sunday morning at 8 a.m  on Channel 23.

Each week Pastor Harold Salem delivers a great bible-based sermon.  This robust ninety-three-year old minister, former sheep rancher and bull rider from Aberdeen, South Dakota, is one of the best gospel preachers I have ever heard.

Pastor Salem is always preaching that we should open our Bibles and read them.  So, about a month ago, I decided to read the entire Bible…cover to cover. The New Testament was a quick read and a source of great inspiration and comfort.  Today, I will finish reading the Biblical book of Deuteronomy.

After reading the first five books in the Old Testament, I am amazed at the precise details provided and was reminded how very real, powerful and just God is.  Biblical writers make it very clear that the Lord wants us to both love and fear him, follow his commandments and warn to never test the Lord, as the children of Israel did over and over again during their 40 years in the desert.

It has been very good for me to read the Bible.  Some of the old testament still freaks me out.  Especially, when reading the first five books of law, sacrifice and justice.  It seems so unforgiving and harsh. It really is not when put into context. God provided laws so that people could live in peace with their neighbors, have safety within the borders of their country, practice good hygiene, prevent the spread of disease and remain faithful to a God whose love overcomes his anger at human failure. Time and time again scripture describes God’s enduring patience and forgiveness.

For the repentant sinner, God’s forgiveness is complete.

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

 

Jeremiah 31:34
“No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

As former Sunday School teacher, youth mentor and confirmation teacher and continual sinner myself, I think teaching and practicing forgiveness as demonstrated by God, “to remember their sins no more,” or taught by Christ, to “Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us,” it a tough lesson to teach others. And, almost impossible to practice in my personal life.

Forgiving people is hardest, when they have hurt you the most.  But, that, I have learned is when it is the most important to forgive and let go. The letting go can be the biggest roadblock to forgiveness. It is so easy to keep a list of old grievances stored up as ready ammunition to hurl at the, “forgiven” at an opportune time with the hope of inflicting reciprocal pain or forcing remorse.  True forgiveness requires forgetfulness.

Forgiving and forgetting lets the forgiver heal, find peace and joy, and avoid being filled-up with resentment, hate and bitterness.  Practicing forgiveness is the cure for many ills—personal and societal.

Now, I am not saying that to be a good Christian I have to be a constantly victimized doormat.  Not at all.  While Christ does instruct us to forgive 7 X 70 times, he also says there comes a time when you dust off your feet and move on.   The Bible does not condone abuse.

A couple of weeks ago Pastor Salem told the best story about how forgiveness is supposed to work.   He said that he had once heard of a little boy who had a very beloved cat.  The boy and his cat were inseparable, then one day the boy’s pet cat died.  His mother knowing how much the cat meant to her son, helped him bury the cat in the backyard with appropriate honors.

As they were covering up the cat with dirt, the little boy grabbed his mother’s hand and frantically pleaded with her if they could please just let the cat’s tail stick out.  That way if his cat wasn’t really dead, he would see the tail move and could get him out of the grave. Well, the mother thought this would be all right.  So the cat was buried with the tail sticking out.

Everyday the little boy would check on his cat’s tail to see if it was going to move.  After several days, he just had to check on the whole cat…so he dug his pet up.  After inspecting the dead cat, and seeing that it did not look very good, he and his mom, again, buried the cat. Still he wanted that tail to stick out.

A week went by and the little boy again felt compelled to dig up his cat to see if it was really dead.  By now the cat was really looking bad.  After inspecting the dead cat, the little boy turned to his mother and said, “I guess, I need to bury the cat, tail and all.”

True forgiveness means burying the cat…tail and all.

I hope that after this election for president is over we all remember that we, as a nation, are a family. That we forgive each other for any hurt feelings caused by differing opinions expressed with sincere passion during this political cycle and come together to help make our nation and world a better place for our children and grandchildren.  We need bury this cat….tail and all.

Just saying…..

Just Saying: Vice Presidential Politics….

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I  have noticed there has been quite a bit of media attention focused on our presidential candidates as of late.  One more than the other, and I have two observations.

First, I think all voters better make sure they really know the vice presidential candidates, how they would govern, their beliefs and priorities.

Secondly, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has missed out on a media moment to declare, “And, you thought I was a crazy choice for president!”

Just saying…..

Rotten Egg Tag and the Burning Hay Stack

I don’t know why I woke up this morning thinking about rotten eggs, but I did.  Maybe it was this week’s card I made for my Uncle Myrwin, who has been in assisted living for three years, that was covered with old tractors and folks putting up hay.  I always try to make him cards about farming for that is what he has always loved and it is haying season.

Or maybe it was the tornadoes that struck so close to my home farm place last evening. Did you know that sometimes when a tornado gets really close you can smell it.  It smells like sulfur…just like a rotten egg.

Rotten eggs are not uncommon on a farm.  Hens who think they want chicks often make a nest in the hay to hide their eggs and sit on them.  If there is not a rooster present to fertilize them…you get rotten eggs, and they have an awful stench that once exposed too is never forgotten.

While there were many different tests of manhood among the lads on our farm, such as the green apple eating contest, how long you can hold on to the electric fence and the ever popular who can remain standing the longest after taking a jolt from a cattle prod,  rotten egg tag was just for funsies.

Both girls and boys could participate willingly or if you were within range unwillingly. The rules were very similar to the age old classic abusive game of dodge ball, only instead of balls the goal was to hit your opponents with rotten eggs. There were extra points for getting egg in someones hair or mouth. Once the eggs were gone, the game was over and everyone had to rinse off at the well before going near adults or a homestead.

However, I think what reminded me of rotten eggs this morning was one of the pictures in my uncle’s card.  You do not see stacked hay bales in mounds this large, high or up to 1/2 mile long anymore, but they were very common in Minnesota when I was young.

hay bales

These monolith’s of forage were so very beautiful.  The golden haystacks stood like large buildings against an otherwise wooded and hilly landscape. They were local monuments built to acknowledge the hard work of farmers and the abundance of our blessings.

The biggest hay stacks in our neighborhood belonged to Mr. Johnson the owner of a large herd of black Angus cattle.  Yes, this is the same cattle herd whose pasture I had to cross as a five-year-old every morning and evening to get to first grade in our one-room country school. They were big black sleek beautiful animals and it took a lot of hay to keep them fat and sassy over a long Minnesota winter.

The time of the last of the big haystacks was also a time when political parties were trying to get farmers to join unions.  Being an independent lot to begin with, this was a hard sell. Soon, political agitators on behalf of unionization had folks so stirred up and divided that neighbor was pit against neighbor. Tempers flared, righteous indignation spread and soon waving at neighbors became a selective activity instead of the universal one it had always been.

This war of words ended one night, when someone set fire to Mr. Johnson’s large haystack.  I can still remember seeing the sinister dance of the large angry flames against the night sky and the firefighters from town and neighbors scurrying around the great inferno trying to save Mr. Johnson’s winter cattle feed.  The hay was lost, but our community was saved.

A strange thing happened as everyone worked together to put out that flaming hay, the neighborhood once again came together and I don’t remember hearing anymore about the “rotten eggs” that had stirred up such a fuss among neighbors and friends.  I just remember that people seemed to like one another again and that made it pretty nice for us kids……just saying.

Puppy vs Politician Training

I am thoroughly enjoying having a puppy in my house.  Oliver is a long-haired German Shepherd puppy.  He is super soft and fluffy and looks like a small bear cub.

Oliver at seven weeks1
Oliver at 10 weeks

Oliver weighted 43 pounds at 14 weeks old and his feet are already bigger than those of our nine-year-old white, 110 pound, German Shepherd Truman.

puppy foot14 week puppy foot next to my hand

Oliver loves water, mud and Truman.
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All things considered, this puppy is the best thing that has happened in our home in a very long time.  Our home is filled with constant action and antics. Puppies, like small children, are a lot of work and demand a lot of attention, but their exuberance for life and enjoyment of every new sight, sound and taste is contagious to those of us who long ago became a bit jaded and tired. It fills me with joy to just watch him.  Oliver is a cute little clown.

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Lots of puppy cuteness

See many cute videos of Oliver and Truman on my YouTube channel including this video of him digging in my garden and watching airplanes.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMr8PREto1A 

Oh, there are some challenges to puppy raising.  Especially since I cannot bend or lift over 10 pounds due to my back injuries from my cancer.  Also, I am on blood-thinners as apart of my cancer chemo maintenance program and the puppy nipping phase has left me with enough bruises on my arms and legs to give my oncologist a stroke.

Then, too, I am tired from being awakened with the dawn, literally at 5:30 a.m., by either whining or a sharp bark announcing that my attention is desperately and immediately required. The rest of my day is filled with non-stop action and chaos created by a puppy making bad decisions. Broken only by short periods of time when the puppy needs a nap.

Then, too, I have acquired a few new skills such as disposing of lots of shredded paper and cleaning up puppy poo. Since, I cannot reach the floor, I have mastered using a long handled grabber tool. Also, I have learned how prevent puppy biting and barking by administering a bit of bitter lemon juice onto the offender’s tongue—yes, this really works!   And, I have also perfected cleaning up dirt left by the puppy by using a spray bottle, a large towel and my foot.

There also have been changes to my usually eloquent language usage. For a woman with excellent verbal and written communications skills, who had a very successful career in the field of communications writing press releases, talking points, editorials, columns and constituent responses for many politicians, I now find myself communicating using one- word verbs such as: off, down, sit, stay, come and when nothing else works–“treats”.  In addition to issuing single syllable orders, there are the essential commands of no bite, no bark and play nice!

Now that I think about it there is not much difference between working for politicians and training a puppy….just saying.