I was reading the final issue of The NDPEA Advocate today and I found a supposition in Executive Director Stuart Savelkoul’s commentary that humored me enough that I wanted to share it here. For those of you unfamiliar with NDPEA it stands for – North Dakota Public Employees Association. This is the final issue of The NDPEA Advocate because it will be replaced by North Dakota United Magazine a publication that reflects the merger of NDPEA and the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) to become North Dakota United (NDU). This merger created the largest union in the state of North Dakota – 10,000 strong.
The folks in this union are a vocal lot. They don’t mince words – they take firm stands and make it known when they are not happy. It almost sounds un-North Dakota-like doesn’t it? Speaking up…fighting for workers’ rights…questioning the powers that be – who would have thunk? They really are becoming a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fighting for the rights of public employees and educators.
You know I just have to be a part of this group. Not merely because I am one of the folks they are fighting for, but because I believe in the power of a dedicated collective to create change. And I like this collective – they are a great bunch.
Samuel Adams once said, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” Even as the largest union in the state, NDU is still relatively small relative to the entirety of the state’s population – but they are a tireless minority the likes of which Samuel Adams spoke of. And after the recent legislative session – they are definitely irate.
Which is what causes me to write about this in my blog this evening – Stuart’s supposition on why the folks in District 41 keep re-electing two legislators who historically have held positions that are viewed as anti-education – Al Carlson and Bette Grande. He acknowledges at the outset that we cannot know why this happens, but ponders that perhaps the reason is that the folks in District 41 “like having 80 days every other year that they don’t have to deal with Al and Bette.” By George, I think Stuart is on to something there!
Think of some of the elected officials that you look at and say aloud, “How the heck did that person get elected?” I know you’ve said it before – perhaps you’ve said it often. I know I have said it and then I look around at the folks who voted the person in and think they just cannot be that foolish – they surely did not mean to vote for such an utter boob. But now I am starting to understand what is going on (thanks to Stuart) – folks are trying to get rid of them for awhile. Finally, it all makes sense.
So District 41 – let’s make a little deal shall we? The next time Al and Bette come up for re-election, vote for the other guy or gal and let Al and Bette stay at home. They deserve a break – and so do the rest of us.
Day one thousand four hundred and ninety-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da