A few rules for following politics
on Edblom looked toward the people leaving the tables inside Adult Community Center in Marshall.
“They are starting to break up,” he said. He had a pleased look on his face. The chairman of the Lyon County Democratic-Farmer-Labor had just presided over the Tuesday caucus on a cold, snowy night.
“It worked out pretty well tonight,” Edblom said.
After watching over the DFL caucus process for a little while, I walked up to Edblom to ask a few questions. He immediately displayed a laid-back approach to southwest Minnesota politics. I noticed his full, partially-gray beard. He wore jeans and a gray long-sleeve shirt. Appropriately dressed for his farming heritage.
“The people I have seen here tonight are people I have not seen before. So yea, it’s a good turnout,” Edblom said. “I would like to have seen more of course.”
So would the Republicans who were meeting at True Light Christian School. The numbers were about the same at both locations — 50 to 60 people.
Those type of numbers the Democrats may be OK with. But in a county where Donald Trump carried nearly 60 percent of the vote during the 2016 presidential election, Republicans expected larger numbers. Did the snow keep some folks away? Former State Senator Arlene Lesewski expressed her disappointment to me just an hour earlier when I watched over the Republican caucus. “The weather scared some of them away,” she said. “But the political climate might have something do with it.”
Deanna Coudron of Clifton township agreed.
“Some of them (voters) are jaded. And I see it. It’s sad, but I can understand it,” Coudron said.
But she believes those that don’t take part in the process and don’t vote shouldn’t complain.
“I think a lot of people think it doesn’t make a difference. Quite honestly, it does. It makes a terrific difference,” she said. “I think it’s more important than ever that we get involved. That is the way I was brought up and that’s the way I brought my kids up.”
And Coudron has strong feelings when it comes to the difference between her party and the Democrats.
“You know the people and you know the people that think the way you do. It’s important,” she said.
Major differences of opinion have always been the hallmark of American politics. However, the partisan politics displayed nationally don’t compare to the civility expressed in Marshall Tuesday night.
Pick your favorite news outlet, and intense partisan politics are on display. Some call it dirty. Some call it nasty. But it seems to be every day.
“I get tired of it,” Edblom said. He then laughed. “As you probably do.”
“I guess I don’t get fired up too much. If you don’t have the money to play the game, you are pretty much on the sidelines, no matter what party you are in. What I like to say, ‘we are just peons out here in rural America,’ “ he said.
Edblom grew up in a Democrat family. However, his father later turned into a Republican after Jimmy Carter. Edblom said President Carter’s grain embargo against the Russians angered his father.
Edblom has been active in politics for more than 30 years, losing a race for state House 20 years ago.
“It was a great learning experience. The people are the best part. I think that year, there was only one person who rubbed me the wrong way. He got in my face. But people are so nice out here, whether they agree with your thoughts, your opinions or not.”
Edblom said he started to see the bitter divide between parties after the Al Gore/George Bush Florida recount. He believes the problems President Bill Clinton had during his second term didn’t help. He also blames the 2014 Supreme Court campaign finance ruling.
“All that dirty money, nobody knows where it’s coming from,” he said. “But you know the Democrats are doing it too. It’s a two-way street. Both are playing the same game.”
But the biggest culprit, according to Edblom, is the internet. “Do we like our freedom on the internet? Dang right. But anyone can get on there and say anything, and you know the story. If enough people say it, oh my gosh, it’s got to be true,” he said. “Yea, it’s great freedom, its great information of change, but people have used it for bad purposes.”
I was curious if Edblom has political arguments with his Republican father. “I’m hard-headed, my dad is hard-headed. We don’t bend anybody’s opinion. They are pretty well made up,” he said.
Then his hearty laugh came out again.
“My step-mother says no politics in the house.”
That’s a good rule to follow. Here’s a few more.
Watch fewer news shows on TV. Also, surf less on the internet, but read your community newspaper more.