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Human Rights Day - December 10, 2017

Amnesty USA


changing the dialogue of American politics


  • Latest from the blog

    Senator Franken Resignation

      I have felt a sense of optimism from the recent wave of pronouncements against sexual harassment and in support of victims. There has long been a need for a more in-depth, broader conversation of this issue, but I realize this discussion is not forthcoming. While women have universally experienced sexually inappropriate behavior, it is also clear that women are not united in our response to this issue. I understand the desire of politicians to assume the moral high ground concerning allegations against Senator Franken, but I also understand the practical dilemma of failing to engage in the tough discussion and press for meaningful structural change in our political process and society. It is insufficient to define the issue as one of moral indignation. The circumstance surrounding Senator Franken offered us an opportunity to advance the broader discussion around gender discrimination, sexual violence, and domestic abuse. More fundamentally, it offered us an opportunity to advance the dialogue about the relationship between men and women. In its original statement of purpose, the National Organization of Women declared their intent to “…take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American Society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof, in truly equal partnership with men.” Since then feminism has been undermined - at least perceptually - by an aggressive narrative of a man-hate rebellion. Feminism has become a conflict among women over divergent ideologies, competing with men for positions of power and influence while maintaining traditional social values around childcare, education, healthcare and social organizing. By demanding consequences without meaningful discourse around the relationship of men and women, I fear we have done little but reinforce that division, inviting a backlash that only serves to undermine the value of women’s social contribution. I am dismayed by Al Franken’s resignation because I believe the ethics investigation would have placed a greater obligation on men to assess their relationship to the broader social narratives of women. I am disappointed that our most influential women leadership, Amy Klobuchar and Betty McCollum, have failed to take any public position on this issue. I do believe the ethics investigation should still continue.
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    Something's missing in our democracy

    WE ARE MISSING A KEY ELEMENT OF DEMOCRACY---One of the candidates…   There has been an interesting pattern developing in the U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd Congressional District campaign, where Paula Overby has been invited and each time has indicated willingness to attend sessions where voters are invited: Both Angie Craig and Jason Lewis agreed to participate in the Farmfest forum then withdrew when the participant list was released. Paula Overby was given 5 minutes to speak to thousands of participants. Angie Craig also refused the debate at St Olaf College organized by the League of Women Voters (a live stream event that would have reached thousands of voters). Neither Angie Craig nor Jason Lewis appeared for the Veterans’ forum, Neither Angie Craig nor Jason Lewis appeared at the Dakota County Chamber of Commerce forum, Neither Angie Craig nor Jason Lewis attended the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce forum where they have Kids Voting, Neither Angie Craig nor Jason Lewis attended the Lake City Chamber of Commerce forum (although Lewis did provide a statement that was read by someone else--- Minnesota House Representative Steve Drazkowski)   Angie Craig, Jason Lewis and Paula Overby were invited to screen with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. All three screened with the newspaper, but only Angie Craig and Jason Lewis were even mentioned in the Editorial screening. `   Many of you may have seen the Minnesota Public Television debate between Angie Craig, Jason Lewis, and Paula Overby. It was a reasoned debate that covered all of the major issues in the campaign because all of the people on the ballot were included in the debate. Oddly enough, Minnesota Public Radio did not include Paula Overby in their recent debate…   Contrast this with KSTP television debate between Angie Craig and Jason Lewis which occurred yesterday. You will notice one missing participant. Paula Overby, the Independent Party candidate, was told in advance by Tom Hauser that she would not be invited.   If any of your stations would like to invite Paula Overby to present her positions to the people who are actually voting for the U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd Congressional District, you are more than welcome to contact her at:
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