Refocusing the Political Will of the People

We don't need to stay stuck in the idea that politics is perpetual civil war, with only winners and losers. Here's a story of another kind.

I like to write about lots of things, so I look forward to moving on to other topics than politics, with a more occasional diversion back to the political world in which we live.

Saturday's post will be about my sister Mary Ann, turning 70, who's just started a tour in the Peace Corps in the tiny south seas country of Vaniatu.

But, before that: Here is a reliable and easily used source of data about the November 6 elections, MN local and state and National.

At times I feel our society is doomed to live in the hell which our political practices have become: permanent civil war, somebody wins, somebody else loses, the sole aim to win, the loser be damned.

There are still moments of hope.

Working on another project on election day, Tuesday, I had reason to look at a historic Minnesota document which likely very few have ever seen, from March 5, 1968 (See photo, click to enlarge). My thanks and credit to long-retired businessman Lynn Elling of Minneapolis for the major part he played in this long forgotten Declaration of World Citizenship that came to be only 44 years ago.

Note especially the signatories on the Declaration*. They are of all the major Minneapolis and Minnesota political luminaries of the time, Republican and Democrat, religious leaders, etc. (The out of place signature you'll see in the lower right hand corner is that of Marshall Tito of then-Yugoslavia, who the Ellings visited in person in then-Yugoslavia and who signed the document for them.)

Within the signature block was this statement: "This is the first American community that we know of to take such action.  We hope that many other cities and counties will follow this example whch is a valuable step in building a world community and world peace."

The story of this document can be found here. Scroll to the very end of the faqs and read the comment from former Minnesota Republican Governor Elmer L. Andersen in his book, I Trust to be Believed.

Then look here for the Minnesota version of this Declaration, issued three years later. Again, note the signatories. And watch the made-in-Minnesota movie from 1972 that is archived there..

Yes, both documents came to be controversial in their time.  But for a time in our own recent Minnesota history, there was true bipartisan political will by our leaders to work for a better world, one in which all of us were citizens.

We tend to forget that the term "politician" applies to each and every one of us.  It is not "them".  Yes, political leaders try to move agendas, but over and over again I read comments from even the highest of the high and mighty that they do pay lots of attention to the will of the people.

The people simply have to work cooperatively for a goal.

Lynn Elling, retired WWII and Korea Naval officer, is still very much alive and willing to talk about the history of these declarations.  Let me know, and I'll see if a talk can be arranged.

I could make many comments about Tuesday, November 6. 

Here's one of mine.  Feel free to add your own.

My personal comment: I was an election judge in Woodbury in 2010; and a voter in 2012. In 2010 I noticed the relatively small turnout and the palpable anger coming in the door of the polling place; Tuesday, I noticed a very heavy turnout and a very serious demeanor of my fellow voters when we cast our ballot.

* - The Signers of the Minneapolis and Hennepin County Declaration of World Citizenship March 5, 1968: (some names not included because of legibility issues - can't say for sure who they are.)

Chair, Henn. Co Board of Commissioners; Mayor of Minneapolis Arthur Naftalin; President Minneapolis City Council; Gov. Harold Levander; Chief Justice Minnesota Supreme Court; President Minnesota Rabbinical Association; Congressman Don Fraser; Chairs of Minnesota Republican and DFL parties, George Thiss and Warren Spannaus; Aux. Bishop of Catholic Archdiocese James Shannon; President of League of Women Voters; President MN United World Federalists, Minnesota State Bar Assoc; United Nations of Minnesota.

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