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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


One wouldn’t think it should take until age 66 to fully appreciate the subtleties of my Lutheran family indoctrination. The realization came to me in a dream featuring my Aunt Doris and Uncle Art. I had been visiting them in Thief River Falls, Minnesota and had began my venture back to Grand Forks but was quickly confronted with what looked like waves on the ocean… a rainstorm, and subsequent runoff, that reflected my yearning for experiences at sea as well as the excitement and apprehension that such a journey could conjure up.


Upon driving back to Doris and Art’s home (rather than drown in the deluge), I was strangely thrust between them in their large bed. Art almost immediately grumbled and left the bedroom (he was a paratrooper in WWII and spoke less than Clint Eastwood in an Italian western). I explained to Aunt Doris that I should probably sleep on their couch and that, for me, it would be most comfortable. As I kissed her goodnight on her temple, she giggled in her normal way and smiled. Whether Art returned thereafter to the marital bed is for a future dream sequel.


The dream ended, I began to ponder the way my mother and dad referred to their siblings and their spouses. For my mom, who grew up on a farm near Rosewood, Minnesota (and moved to Hoople, North Dakota to live with her older sister Esther and her husband after her father died when she was 16) it was:


Her sister Alice… and Tom.

Her sister Esther… and Henry (Tom’s brother… the “Republican”).

Her brother Ray… and Opal.

Her brother Harold… and Myrt.

Her sister Doris… and Art.

Her brother Harvey… and Venice.

Her brother Johnny… and Joyce.

Her brother Arnold (the converted Catholic “Black Sheep”)… and Marian (the converter).

Her sister Margaret… and Carl.


My mother, Lucille Evelyn (Hanson) Bergman, always placed her siblings first… adding the spouse almost as an afterthought. For my dad, it was:


His brother Jim (trained B17 pilots in WWII)… and Faye.

His sister Gloria… and Jim (escaped from Auswitch after being wounded and captured in WWII).

His sister Anna Mae… and Howard.


My dad, Carl Arthur Bergman (Silver Star recipient and veteran of five theaters of battle in WWII), who grew up on a farm near Edinburg, ND, always placed his siblings first… adding the spouse almost as an afterthought.


What was even stranger than their unconscious but selfish need to place family first was my mother’s family’s consistently reliable vote for Democrats. The explanation almost always was, “they are for the little guy”.


That “Little Guy” routine worked, along with my passion for liberal causes (clean water and air, help for the poor and disabled, civil rights), during my college years, but wore thin and disappeared as the realizations of adulthood and some serious reading during the last ten years or so have revealed, for me, “The Lie”. Some questions arise, as follows:


  1. If Democrats are for the “little guy”, why did my income taxes go up almost exactly in tandem with each raise I received during my working years?
  2. If Democrats are for the little guy, why have they approached defending freedom as if freedom was a bride and they were a “second guessing” groom? After a Democrat commits to something, he or she almost immediately begins to waffle thus extending the misery surrounding the issue, both in time and treasure.
  3. If Democrats are for the little guy, why do they embrace the Federal Reserve, who targets an annual inflation of 2% that constantly devalues the money in my pocket?
  4. Why was Janet, Yellin (current Democrat Federal Reserve Chairwoman) the first out of the blocks in the middle of Bush’s second term to proclaim the self-fulfilling prophecy that George Bush’s “economy was about to go into recession”?
  5. If Democrats are for the “little guy”, why is it always about intentions and never about outcomes?


I still love my cool-aid drinking Democrat relatives as dearly as ever… but only lately have I begun to fully realize why they were and are “card carrying” Democrats…they are first Minnesotans… selfish… they want their stuff… and they want it NOW! And future generations be damned.


Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t point to the obvious… Conservative Republicans with selfish motivations represent about 2/3 of the party in North Dakota. And therein lies the challenge for future Republicans… reverse the selfishness/selfless quotient from 2:1 to 1:2 in order to save our country from socialism…the “equality” that is poverty itself.






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