By Sarcasmo Jones
Politics and technology have had a strange relationship develop over the last century. The widespread use of radio allowed politicians to get their message and aspirations to their base constituents en masse. Television allowed us to get to know our leaders on a more personal level by giving us the opportunity to judge body language, gestures, and make that all important eye contact. Modern computer technology and social media provide accessibility to these folks we have elected to represent us.
However, the golden age of information has not always been kind to politicians. Indiscretions and political missteps become viral in an instant. Online petitions are started daily by the score. We are able to research our leaders from our phones in high def detail, and this should scare the living shit out of many politicians who would prefer for the huddled masses to believe what they tell us instead of what we see with our own eyes. This accessibility can be a political death sentence for the unprepared and insincere politician.
I wrote an article several months ago called “The Monster of Red Lake Falls” about a friend of mine in Minnesota having trouble getting the help he needed. This man had suffered a heart attack as a result of years of exposure to paint and chemical vapors which had also affected his respiration. This was a man so severely ill that he could not take a hot shower without having his breath taken away. A man so sick that he needed a six hour nap to recover after a 2 block walk to the store for toilet paper. The county social services stopped his financial assistance of $202.00 a month and went so far as to cancel his rides to the cardiologist, whose office was 2 hours away. If this man was not gravely ill enough to receive medical and financial assistance in Minnesota…then who was?
I sent my story to the Red Lake Falls Gazette, who graciously published it as an editorial. A man by the name of Dave Mills, the director of social services in Red Lake Falls, printed a rebuttal in that same paper advising my friend to talk to his elected officials as there was nothing he could do.
We took Mr. Mills advice and did just that. We contacted every elected official in the state of Minnesota, as well as those representing Minnesota in Washington. I am pleased to report to the good folks of Minnesota that you have chosen your officials wisely, especially those two people who have been sent to Washington as senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
The offices of these two elected officials displayed amazing intelligent compassion for one sick man and quickly cut through the red tape to get his benefits reinstated and get him to the doctor. We were able to meet some incredible people, like Janet Nelson, Dusty Trice and Clara Haycraft, whose dedication to the people of Minnesota was not lost on a redneck writer from Texas, or a heart attack victim from Red Lake Falls.
The merging of technology and politics has worked well for Minnesota. I wish that more Texans would research political candidates instead of voting for the guy with the best hair or who looks best standing next to the Texas flag. If we voted like Minnesota, maybe we could be represented like Minnesota…wouldn’t that be something?