We Democrats are deeply flawed people, we can be earnestly boring and awfully righteous about moral issues in faraway places. We can be weenies, capable of doing dumb things in the name of the common good. But we do stick to our guns. We believe in decency and public spiritedness and have refused to hitch our wagon to yahooism and have supported government as a necessary force for good. And we are passionate. This is a time for passion." -from Homegrown Democrat
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October 28, 2004
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Excerpt from Homegrown Democrat by Garrison Keillor
I AM A Democrat, which was nothing I decided for my self but simply the way I was brought up, starting with the idea of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, which is the basis of the simple social com pact by which we live and also You are not so different from other people so don ' t give yourself airs, which was drummed into us children back in the old days when everyone went to public schools. Don ' t be conceited. So you can write: goody-goody for you, but don ' t think you ' re a genius because, believe me, you ' re not. The democracy of the gospel. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All we like sheep have gone astray. These articles of faith, plus our common tongue and a fondness for jokes and the American landscape, bind us together in a union of souls, each one free, each one de voted to the union.
These things were not so clear to me when I was young and immortal, but now I am part of the democracy of old age, impressed on me in 2001 when my mitral valve came loose and I was wheeled into a bright blue industrial room at Mayo and masked and eight hours later my little boat bumped up on a foggy shore and a young woman named Erinn said I would be okay and the next day my catheter was removed and that night a nurse in a blue uniform with a pager clipped to her lapel bent down to take my blood pressure and the weight of the pager opened the fabulous landscape of her breasts and my libido awakened, but I digress. I grew up among Bible believing people in Minnesota, a cold weather State when the jet stream slips and the wind blows steadily from Manitoba; it gets so cold your skin hurts, your innards clench up, and a man ' s testes shrink to the size of garden peas, but ' Everyone else is just as cold as you are so don ' t complain about it, this is not a personal experience, that ' s what we say, and you comfort yourself with fried eggs and bacon and you bulk up a good deal by spring, but then everyone else is fat too, so it ' s not a problem.
Here we have the democracy of flatness: there simply aren ' t so many hills for rich people to live on top of. We suffer less from the self-esteem issues that make people call on their cell phones and announce their whereabouts. There was no radio in The Spirit of St. Louis and nobody knew where Lindbergh was as he flew the Atlantic until some fishermen spotted him off the Irish coast, but a man on a train from New York to Boston must furnish frequent updates on his progress. In Minnesota, we get home when we get home, no big deal. And if we ' re caught in traffic and miss the sales meeting, it won ' t matter that much in the end. The marketing of widgets will go on, our impact on the world is slight, so take life as a comedy and play it for laughs. You die, there is a sort of decent grief and a few people really do suffer from your absence, but the impact on the greater world is negligible. You do not leave a big hole. They dig a hole and put you in it.