WHY I AM RUNNING
I love being an American and love being a Minnesotan. While I believe America is still great, like so many of you I am troubled with our politics.
Sadly, the Democratic and Republican parties are broken.
A truly independent US Senator from Minnesota is now an absolute necessity. In order to put America first, we need to start making America more important than a political party.
Being elected from a major political party inevitably means to be trapped. It means being confined within the guardrails of party policies. Being truly independent I have no obligation to any special interest group. I want nothing to do with being owned by a political base.
Why I am an Independent Candidate
I am not running as a Democrat, Republican or as the Independence Party candidate. I am independent of party, plain and simple. I choose this route because of my own personal makeup and because I firmly believe that due to party politics a crisis exists in the ability to govern ourselves amidst a deeply partisan atmosphere of rancor and discord. The absurd has become normalized. The foundation of a democracy and civilized culture is commitment to TRUTH and TRUST. These pillars are the real infrastructure that we need to repair. Our current negative and dysfunctional politics is not serving the people of Minnesota or the nation. The Republican and Democratic parties would like you to believe they are different from each other. Actually, they are more alike than different. They both continually remind you of your problems and then tell you who to blame for your problems. It is time to cleanse ourselves of party labels.
American Confidence is at an All-Time Low in U.S. Government
Our political parties and politicians don’t seem to comprehend the anger and frustration that citizens feel across our state and country. In addition, there is an equal amount of boredom, resulting in massive disengagement from caring about our country. Respect and confidence in government is at an all-time low. In the late 1960s, when many of us were growing up, 65% of Americans trusted government to do the right thing. Today, polls show the number is now less than 15%. What it really means: only 1 out of 7 Americans have a basic confidence in our government. Job approval for Congress has often wallowed in the low double digits. Polls also show that a majority of Americans have unfavorable views of both political parties. Minnesota and America have effectively been put in 3rd place behind the Democratic and Republican parties. We need to be truly concerned about the gladiator nature of politics in our country and what it says about us as a people.
More Bad Behavior Won’t Help
Party politics has gone beyond bad humor. There are the all-too-often childish food fights where the political parties and their leaders stop or impede progress because the other party may appear in a positive light. This reveals a spiritual vacuum that is very worrisome. Cowardly, negative ads have become the hallmark of an era that has become a black hole swallowing the dreams of respectful political discourse. Plain and simple, attack ads are for wimps. The Democratic and Republican candidates for all offices could put an end to it if they demanded it. Instead, they pay lip service to bi-partisanship and then go back to name calling and blaming each other.
I personally will not demean myself through the act of demeaning others. I have competed at the highest levels in both professional football and hockey and also had business and personal investments of hundreds of millions of dollars. I learned what all great competitors know, if I call someone else a bad player it will not make me a good player. I have to earn the right to be a good player. No great coach or team including Mike Zimmer and the Vikings would ever tolerate a player talking about an opponent this way. Would Bud Grant have acted this way? Would Hubert Humphrey or Dave Durenberger have acted this way?
What is needed in politics is what I need in my own life. I need to become bigger not smaller and pettier. I need to remember where I come from and how lucky I am to stand on the shoulders of those freedom fighters who came before me. I need to learn focus and develop mindfulness, which means I won’t be a whiner and blame others. Current politics has a twisted, tainted focus. There is not enough time spent inspiring and helping people who are hurting, left behind, invisible, victims of ill fortune, or simply striving to pay bills and just hope their kids can get to college. I will have a relentless focus on highlighting our inter-dependent mutuality and the importance of gratitude and thankfulness for all those who contribute to our beloved Minnesota and America.
Thankfulness is Key to Living a Purposeful Life
This thankfulness begins with the people who labor daily as teachers, cops, firefighters, farmers, miners, manufacturers, healthcare workers as well as all the others who make Minnesota and America function at the great level it does. This appreciation will be extended to business large and small for all the blessings we receive from them. This heartfelt appreciation will also be extended to the wealthy, who are so often unfairly beat up, yet who have created thousands of jobs and prosperity for Minnesota. We would not be as privileged as we are if it were not for laboring folks, small business, as well as wealthy and start up entrepreneurs who take risks. Gratitude and thankfulness are not just ethical abstractions. They are essential for human happiness and sense of purpose. We need to start expressing this thankfulness to each other. As Senator I will lead the charge for the attitude of gratitude and dignified respect for all who contribute to America.
It’s Time to Break the Downward Spiral
Now is the time to break free from this downward spiral of which party wins or loses. Now is the time to focus instead on collaboration, developing solutions to tough complicated problems and seizing opportunities. There is need for a new tone of respect and cooperation within our politics. Make no mistake, there should always be hard tough questions for government. But no more bashing of government from anyone. My campaign and governing will be about what works. What works is building teamwork and committing to be thoughtful and respectful of your teammates. Teamwork can only be achieved if dignity and respect are developed, at the same time there can be passionate disagreement on issues. It means, now is the time for Minnesota and America to stop underachieving in its politics because we can’t ever get on the same page with each other.
The Most Important Priority
People ask, “What is your most important priority?” The answer is being a strong new force and voice to confront the political parties and their appeal to the lowest common denominator. They are in a race to the bottom. This woeful reality demands change. A strong independent Senator is absolutely essential. Someone has to be elected who simply won’t tolerate and participate in party grandstanding and is not beholden to a political party. One thing we know about the future, there will be both great uncertainty and great change. Navigating the coming changes will require a special independence of thought and action. Do you really believe independent thinking and action will come from the Democratic or Republican parties? Neither do I. With all due humility, I know how to think and act independently.
Pledges to the Citizens of Minnesota:
- I am independent and owe nothing to any interest group and will not be accepting any money from lobbyists, PACs or special interests. This means from financial companies, oil companies, drug companies, the National Rifle Assoc., teachers unions (and I do love teachers) or any other special interest.
- This campaign and governing will be about solutions, not scaring voters with overheated rhetoric and fear-mongering. I will not run one negative ad, not one, attacking or belittling my opponents.
- I will travel throughout Minnesota and hold town meetings and other listening sessions. I am a keen listener and engaged observer. I don’t have gimmicks or cliché answers to complex problems. Tough problems require thoughtful collaborative resolve to make positive change.
- While I am independent, my team is Minnesota and I know what that means. I pledge to challenge our best and brightest to bring forth solutions.
- I will work to get public officials to remove their ideological straight-jackets. Our current party system does not liberate us to find solutions, it stifles and entrenches us.
- I pledge to stay in shape. This means spiritually, mentally, physically and to continue developing my sense of humor which will no doubt be tested. I will continue developing the human powers of reason and love. These powers of love and reason are the best tools we have to keep America great.
- I pledge to do my best to help Minnesota and America address and confront the fears we surely will face. This won’t be easy. I have a history of attempting things that are not easy. It is one of the reasons I am qualified for this job.
- On a very personal note I want to share with you what has always so inspired me and what I think speaks to this problem America now has. Who we have been and who we need to become again can be summarized in one sentence. It is the last sentence of our Declaration of Independence. It says, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our LIVES, our FORTUNES and our SACRED HONOR.”
- I ask you, how many of us are talking and pledging to each other like that, these days? We need to be.