Tag Archives: MPLS

How spontaneously getting involved in a Grassroots Political Campaign helped me discover the most important thing in the world, let me explain

I am going to tell you what the most important thing in the world is in this post, are you ready?  Accordingly, by the time you are done reading this post you will have learned one of the most important concepts that there is to learn in life, it will feel good.  You will be improved and feel positive.  Let me start with by saying, I found this valuable idea by volunteering for a political party, doing grassroots campaign calls and giving surveys in my spare time.  That is where I found this important idea and why I want to share it with you.

I have never been more excited to share something that wasn’t a sales pitch.  Do you ever get this line from people?  I digress…  That is not what this essay is about, it’s about talking with random strangers on the phone about random strangers who may in a sense rule them and getting something actually human out of it.  Our country is divided into how many parties and there are people out there talking on the phone and reading scripts and sharing ideas.  (And people listen!)  Voice interaction, the old calling someone up and saying “Hello, is (person’s name) there?…  Mind answering a few questions???”

Calling, communicating, asking questions, these things leave an impression.  Impressions are called impressions because they they are pressed on the brain, indelibly hard to forget.  (When someone thinks their ideas matter that makes them feel good.)  I give them a name, tell them more names–familiar recognition, and even if they don’t want to speak to me or take the survey, they hear kindness and associate that kindness with me, with that party.  They hear my voice, some moniker that is a very familiar one–like John or Dan, and they remember that encounter at the voting booth.

For starters, I believe that is what this nameless grassroots campaign wants to happen.  I have read a few books on persuasion, and I realize that unforgettable first impression is exactly what they want to happen.  Blank canvas, hello, think, names, ok, yes, goodbye.  However, it can be difficult; cold callers have the hardest jobs out there because voices give away everything.  Nervousness, confidence, snark.  It’s not a Facebook post, it’s an interaction, in real-time.  The campaign manager wants to be blurt out the names as fast as I can, new names, old names, take a survey, etc.  Think on those memorable names.  And after that, I am surprised people say “yes” because I often say “no” to such surveys.

Remember, this is important.  Doing things in your free time for what you believe in is important, whether that be getting your candidate elected or helping to mentor someone in literacy.  Doing a social experiment for science is important, getting into politics or marketing with persuasion is important.  Going above and beyond a Facebook post or an ad-hoc spectacle or holding a sign proves that you realistically want to do something to make change, like, perhaps writing legislature.  (We’ve all been there.)

Sure, we can all make waves in a group, that is impressive as well, yet we can get carried away from what is deep within our hearts as individuals.

I thought about my little social experiment and it doesn’t matter the party, it doesn’t matter the ideas because they are all for political effect; insomuch as Thomas Sowell said about “rent control”, in Basic Economics:  I paraphrase, it’s all hot button issues, that’s it.  But aside from the hot button political issues, in the end the underdog is the ultimate American.  The one that believes in their values when the popular majority throws them out and calls them dogs, doubts them infinitely.  That is the time when believing in yourself and doing what other people call “stupid”, “idiotic” or “wrong” on social media is the most important.

In conclusion, the most important thing is to do what is most important to you, not what’s important to everyone else and what they think about it.  Don’t worry about a sea of vehement passionists screaming accolades so you fall in line, or shaming you so you steer off course.  Stick to your plan.  Believe in your goals.  Believe in yourself.  If you can change the political color of a state, or someone’s mind, and not need to feel endorsed by everyone with their Twitter likes or their Insta-approval then it means that you are doing something right and that is important.  Even hearing “No, I would not like to take your survey…” is important because that person is telling you how they feel and making a point for what matters to them.  That is the most important thing in the world.

More information:  https://ballotpedia.org/Minnesota_elections,_2018

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Minnesota bars and restaurants to manually disable cellphone reception in order to counteract the lack of general interest in society

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Monday, September 15th. In a surprise move the MBARA has decided to run a test trial of a new, clandestine program that will limit, and otherwise completely restrict cellphone reception in all Minneapolis bars and restaurants. Starting this week, and throughout the upcoming weekend, locals with “important phone calls” to make, “email checks ” to have, and “status updates” posts, will be completely out of range within their favorite establishments.

The MBARA (Minnesota Bar and Restaurant Association, similar to MMBA) has decided, like their sister sect, to limit the use of cellphone service in local businesses; while limiting the freedoms of American citizens by outdated law, akin to Sunday Sales Restrictions. This trail comes on the heels of public outcry over lack of attention in those dining rooms of your proxy. “People just don’t seem to care about those around them anymore.” says an unreliable stranger. Recently, establishments have cited a lack of conversation at the table due to excessive “selfies”, “updates”, and in general “scrolling”, of social media hotbeds by patrons in attendance.

This decision to act by law has been in the process for some time; initially, when pay phones inhibited restaurant goers of meaningful conversation, duels, and wagon races, back in the 1700’s. The lack of conversation, viz-a-viz, has been a growing epidemic of recent, brought on by smartphones, tablets, and the vanity crisis facing the human race, specifically Americans.

The MBARA is staunch in their stance against people’s freedoms when it comes to being shut-off in a social setting, and liquor sales. With this law they have one objective, that being: all people within a restaurant- or otherwise social, setting, should engage with those in their presence, or have no option to do such activity at all. “Human contact and communication is of the utmost importance; it conveys ideas, histories, and cultures.” says Barb Toto. The increase in personal smart devices has rendered a society of able bodied individuals irrelevant in the age of technology, undermining its tact and thought process at the most basic level.

Minnesota Legislators have agreed with restricting citizen’s rights in the past, with Sunday Sales Restrictions in Minnesota, proper. Now is the time again. If this test trial goes well, prepare to shut-off and be in a “dead zone”, everywhere, whenever you enter your favorite bar and restaurant, it is high time we all brush up on our in-person social skills. The MBARA wants people conversing and laughing aloud in bars and restaurants, not just on social media, and that should be the law.

A Safer Campus Commute? I think not…

          Day one on campus; nothing has changed in respect to commuting.  Well, if there was any change at all it was in the increased number of dangerous pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists on campus.  As the U stated last year there would be changes on and around campus, still I see inattentive pedestrians, still I see people biking where they are not supposed to, and still I see people in cars, buses, and semis intimidating other commuters.  Little has changed since the idea contest for making traveling around campus safer, and the only thing it takes to notice this event is your eyeballs. 

          Let me explain: some people at campus have been in rodeos before; trying to bike, attempting to walk, and potentially driving safely around campus.  Others just got on their way this morning, and have amassed little concern with the rules of the road.  The latter have never been to their first rodeo. 

          First rodeo situation:  if you haven’t biked on or around campus in the midst of thousands of excited students on the first day of fall semester, it would be your first rodeo.  Watch out, be mindful, and know your role.  Put your stupid smartphone away and make it from point A to point B.  -Safely.   

          Upon biking to the university this morning for class, I took extra precaution, mentally preparing myself as I do regularly, as I suggested in my concept for a safer campus commute, as the U has so generously used in their emails/slogans:  be aware of your surroundings.  I’ll take the credit, but I won’t win the award, or be cited, (an award that was presumably never given out- how shrewd).   

          Arriving on campus, past the new Target, and the face-lifted Dinkytown, how economic- (oh) progressive, I found a vast amount of amateur bicyclists mingling in packs, not following the paths, wearing helmets on handlebars- abrasive, while generally having small regard for their surroundings.  I took note of a driver maneuvering a car while texting, and an aimless young athletic male (BRO) biking, weaving his way through the bike lane and into the street while on his phone, fedora affixed atop his blond hair streaming back, held down by a bandana. 

          I have no positive words for the kind of idiocy I have seen on campus when it comes to getting around.  I predict a record number of transit related accidents, injuries, and worse (other euphemisms here), this year, 2014.  This is not because people genuinely like putting themselves in danger, or under buses so to speak, but because the life within their phone is evidently more important than the life in front of their bodies. 

          I am not being pessimistic, I am being honest.  Whoever won the contest to make the campus safer deserves a gold star, because they persuaded it/sort of didn’t win it, and slyly.  I applaud you.  I would have done the same but I am more of an outsider when it comes to making friends high up; I won’t do the photo shoot if I don’t like the cameraman (metaphor). 

           The U is no safer now for commuters than it was a year ago.  As a matter of thought, it is most likely more dangerous because people feel that it is safer.  Telling individuals this and that without actually having them observe the act does not prove a point.  Take a seat in the grass and watch.  In time one will see this conundrum acted out over and over again.  The situation is somewhat entertaining, if you aren’t involved with it.

          When I sat taking in the sun between classes, near Coffman Union, I noticed one obvious sign of the times; something that’s been there, but seemed more prevalent today, people were engaged more with their electronics than anything else, they were living in a virtual world which exists in their hands.  They seldom took in the views before them, they noticed little in their path.  On such a beautiful day it was sad and dangerous, heads down; stuck in a box- dangerously isolated.   

          If the campus wants change they must cite people for walking brazenly down the center of the bike lanes, while texting, or not- just being ignorant.  They must position public safety attendants at problem areas, to direct students, until they can finally read signage and adhere to the brightly painted traffic instructions.  They, the university, must do their best to capture the attention of those on the go. 

          When I left this morning, I was nervous for the first day of school, as are most.  That exhilarating feeling of taking in knowledge, and expanding my experience with education had me trepid, something I live for.  Yet when I came to campus I was more shaken because of my safety and the safety of others, the safety directly related to the lack of attention and ignorance/apathy people put into their movements.  A safe campus requires thoughtfulness, and a conscious mindset.  If I am worried about selfies and notifications I am not worried about crosswalks and lines on the ground; appropriate signals, on my inevitable journey to and fro. 

Which is more important? 

Also see:  Woman fatally struck by Green Line train was Mpls. attorney

Letter to the Editor: What’s in a Name; The Redskins and Lake Calhoun

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I wrote this piece to MN Daily 11/11/13, it was never published.  The Redskins were to play the Vikings, just as they did last weekend. 

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11/11/13 (previously unpublished)

In recent news proponents arguing for the name change of the Redskins rallied outside of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.  This rally was set in place on the basis of a name change, the namesake of an NFL team, this team, the Washington Redskins.  This specific argument of change is very important, and central to the nation’s growth, and progressive equality for minorities; however, those same activists who went out to advocate the name change of an NFL team have overlooked the name change of a city landmark that is racially as disparaging, the name change of Lake Calhoun.

What are the true motives for those rallying against the name?  Is it a national hot topic that brings people out?  Why not try to fix something local?  Something as detrimental for minority groups as the name of an NFL team.  Lake Calhoun is a city landmark named in honor of a promoter of slavery, a confederate general from the South, and a person who slighted the ideas of abolitionists.  Yet we do nothing to change the name.  We stand outside of the Metrodome taking photos behind signs while the name of Lake Calhoun sits safely in the midst of our city. 

For living in this progressive city I feel this name an embarrassment.  I believe we as citizens have a right to protect the idea of equality within our community, not just those of nationwide spectacles. 

For the past 3 years, since I found the true origin of the name of Lake Calhoun (from an ambitious History Professor at MCTC, Matt Carhartt) I have seen nothing change.  I have heard nothing of the idea since.