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Bob Freyberg -- My View

For some time now, I have been involved with local politics in Mankato and most recently in North Mankato. Serving local governments is enjoyable because of its relative innocence. This innocence does not seem to exist beyond the local level. With what is going on with the state shutdown, one has to question not only accountability but also the abilities or skill sets of all involved.

Politics in Minnesota has turned into gang-like behavior. Just think, if two gangs took over the state Capitol and closed the state parks and denied our access to them, we would be forced to call out the National Guard! Instead we compensate the Republican and Democrat gangs to do the very same! Think about it, they meet in private, they use gang symbols (a donkey and an elephant) and they all agree to act and say what the gang wants or you might be forced to drink the Kool Aid!

Seriously, what is going on here is a severe lack of ability by all of those involved. There is not a shortage of ideas. There is however, a shortage of knowing how to move forward, understanding the art of compromise and using effective communication to bring understanding to fruition. It is amusing to watch the same people walk into the same room time after time, thinking that they will come to a resolution when, apparently, they don’t have the ability to do so.

We elect people based on how much money the party spends, what the politician looks like and how many organizations they have served. The political parties understand this. They search for the person that they can market the best, not necessarily on their abilities. It is clearly evident that they are searching the wrong criteria in the wrong places for leaders today.  

Party politics should be based on a general philosophy of desired societal wants and needs framed by subsequent and responsible funding mechanisms. What has evolved within these parties is apparently a very strict set of rules that discourages individual thought processes and moderation. So, what we are witnessing is that the parties have now been caught off guard in their marketing approach and subsequent candidate choices. Sadly enough, they realize that they don’t have the people with the ability to get the job done when the going gets tough.

Therefore, in my opinion, the only thing the parties can do to reach resolve, is to go back to square one and re-evaluate who they are sending into negotiations. They need to find the right mix of people in each party that possess the “ability” to get the job done. The House and the Senate need to assume responsibility and recall the majority and the minority leaders (the “A squad”). The “B” squad, made of those with ability (the doers), needs to replace the ego driven “A” squad. Then they need to negotiate a deal that the governor will be obligated to sign. This is all about what is good for the state and what the people can or cannot afford. It should not be about the party.

Lastly, as we approach the next election, please look beyond the image building done by the parties and search for the candidates’ principles, integrity and proven ability to get things done under tough circumstances. We can’t continue to lose millions of state dollars every day as personalities stand in the way of common sense and potential growth.

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