Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not so very 'Minnesota Nice'

"In truth, politeness is artificial good humor, it covers the natural want of it, and ends by rendering habitual a substitute nearly equivalent to the real virtue."
- Thomas Jefferson

I am ashamed to learn that there was an embarrassing incident at the Mall of America at the Sarah Palin "Going Rogue" book signing.

A man from this area (allegedly) threw two tomatoes, apparently with the intent of hitting Palin with them, or at the very least intending to disrupt her book signing event. The tomatoes were thrown from an upper level balcony, landing some 10 feet away from Palin, spattering two law enforcement officers.

I have not been able to find any accompanying statement to this man's actions that might explain the motives for his misconduct. It is not clear if he was against something relating to Palin, or if he was possibly a fan who had become disgruntled with the lines. There were some reports of individuals who were unhappy with their wait, however, until a motive becomes clear it is more plausible this was a man who disagreed with one or more of Palin's positions.

If political opposition was the cause, I would hope that anyone who has respect for our political processes and traditions, or who has a sincere regard for civil discussion and reasoned differences would join me in repudiating this man's behavior. Heck, join me in repudiating it for whatever reason --- there is NO good reason for this kind of behavior, no justification.

It is an embarrassment to a state known for "Minnesota Nice" to have this occur. I can only hope that the person who thought it was clever to lob those tomatoes will get a good, large dose of Minnesota justice for those actions, and that the subsequent justice might receive as much attention as his actions.

To former Governor Palin, from those of us here in the Minnesota blogosphere who DO care about civil discourse, however much we might on occasion take issue with you -- I hope you will accept our apologies for this rude treatment. We do not support or condone it; it was wrong. It is not representative of the kind of people most of us are.

The words polite and politic appear very similar; but they derive from different root words historically. Despite the differences in derivation and meaning, the two should be more synonymous in our conduct, whatever our place in the political spectrum.


  1. While I don't actually approve of anyone assualting someone, I don't feel compelled to, or agree with, apologizing. This woman has made many comments which were highly offensive to many people. She's not fit to serve in any national office and if someone took offense and threw a tomato (or a shoe) at her, other than the physical danger - which is why I don't aagre with it - I think she deserves to have the book and everything else thrown at her rhetorically. In short, she brings much of the derisive conduct out because she is so divisive.

  2. All the more reason not to succumb to provocation.

    Every time I see the word 'polarizing' used in connection with Palin, I cannot help thinking that it is a euphemism for her being divisive, as you point out.

    As a Minnesotan, I still am appalled this happened here,and I DO think an apology for it is important. It isn't about what Palin does or does not do; it is about who we are and what we hold is important.

  3. Oh, here we go again with "Minnesota Guilt Complex." My response: