A Great Listen

Making my debut on Concurring Opinions this week has its risks. Depending on what happens tomorrow, my entries are either going to read like sweet nothings from Norman Vincent Peale, or a serialized suicide note. I’ve been obsessed with this election. I feel like I’ve scratched the electoral map into my own cheek.

In part, that’s because Minnesota has been wing-nut central in the 2008 elections – or at least it was until Ashley Todd put Pennsylvania in play. Sure, we haven’t had any hoax mutilations, but we’ve had:

Detentions of journalists during the Republican convention (eat your heart out, Beijing!)

Sarah Palin’s greatest shopping spree (who knew we had $75k worth of inventory?)

• The emergence of Al Franken as a serious candidate

• The emergence of Michele Bachmann as a serious lunatic

• Three little, permanently mortifying, words: “He’s an Arab.”

Minnesota has a reputation for niceness and understatement, but if you consider its political history, it’s not that surprising that it’s a little volatile. This is the state that gave the world Gene McCarthy and Paul Wellstone, but also Jesse Ventura and Michelle Bachmann.

One struggle for those of us who are history buffs is to convince our students that history did not begin with the emergence of Facebook. I think that to put this Presidential campaign in its historical perspective, it is necessary to know a little about birth of the Southern Strategy in the transformative campaign of 1968. With that in mind, I’ve suggested that my students give an ear to the outstanding American Radio Works documentary, Campaign ’68: The Dawn of a Conservative Era. You can listen at the website.

You may also like...