The Mike Parry campaign has now gone almost completely negative. His negative attacks focus on personal matters, not on policy. Most importantly, his personal attacks have nothing to do with the huge issues our country faces.
The tactics Mike Parry is employing are an important reason why our country is heading toward financial collapse. Consistently, repetitively, the political establishment refuses to debate the real issues--because they will lose that debate. They divert attention to irrelevant and personal non-issues instead.
The fact is, Mike Parry refused to participate in the only extensive debate that was proposed in the first district leading up to the primary, the proposed debate by Debate Minnesota. He has focused instead on negative personal attacks. This campaign strategy is destructive to our ability as a country to move forward with the genuine change we must make if we are to survive the crushing debt that faces our nation. Why is Mike Parry afraid to engage in a genuine debate?
We face a critical choice today in the First Congressional District. Will we contend with the real problems, with real solutions, and hold our candidates accountable to address them? Or will we allow slick personal attacks to sideline what's important? This is where the battle for our country is being fought. If we lose this battle, we have lost our country.
Unfortunately, some media outlets have decided to pick up Mike Parry's negative line of personal attack. Therefore, I will respond here to three personal attacks that may be worthy of mention.
The first is the allegation that, twenty four years ago, as a state legislator, I entered the Mankato adult bookstore in disguise to check out whether it included a serious public health risk. Parry's distortion of my response to an important constituent complaint--that the bookstore posed a serious public health risk--is shameful. All I did was fulfill my responsibility as a Minnesota legislator.
Having first asked the Department of Health to investigate the matter (they did not) and being unwilling to allow an alleged public health risk to continue, I checked it out myself. Not in disguise, as my attackers would suggest, and not in sunglasses that suggests something to hide. (The reporter involved later went to work for the DFL caucus in St. Paul.)
I entered the adult bookstore dressed normally in shirt and blue jeans. The real story that won't be printed is that I did the right thing. There was in fact a huge public health risk involved--a problem that was immediately remedied because someone had the courage to bring the issue to the light of day.
In fact people may well be alive today because I did my job. Distorting the facts and then attacking someone for having the courage to do what is right is destructive to our nation.
The second allegation relates to a statement I made 18 years ago that I believe there is natural order to the family that is part of the genetic code. This negative attack is being taken out of context because I was speaking of religious beliefs, not public policy--beliefs that have no part in political campaigns or political discourse. In addition, I was not speaking of what the Bible says directly, but was speaking of inferences based on the Bible, inferences that others may not agree with. But the point is that the First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees freedom of Religion--a separation of church and state. To attack a political candidate for his religious beliefs is an affront to our all-important First Amendment freedoms. The issue is not relevant to the important issues we face.
In fact, my high regard for women in business, politics, and the community is obvious in many ways, among them my support for Michele Bachmann for President and the prominent and influential role my wife, Julie, has played in Minnesota politics and education activities over the years.
The third allegation is that some 24 years ago I compared a gay counseling center to the KKK. I have no memory of having said anything like that, but apparently I did. In light of that evidence I now offer my apologies. The words were poorly chosen. I would not say anything like that today.
How many of us can remember all that we may have said 24 years ago? The Parry campaign had to dig pretty deep and pretty far back to find something to attack. But those attacks are a shallow substitute for addressing the serious issues facing our nation.
Three years ago, Mike Parry put Democrats and pedophiles in the same category. He also said President Obama was a "Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man." Either of those statements is at least as serious an anything I may have said. Parry's defense is, "That's so long ago that that's past history" [three years ago]. Yet he is attacking me for statements I made, or may have made, 24 years ago. Parry wants to hold me to a much higher standard than he holds himself. The double standard here is obvious.
The real question is this: Will we allow ourselves to be sidetracked by personal attacks about things that may or may not have been said 24 years in the past? Or will we have the courage to deal with the real problems of today, and with real solutions? As I said before, if we lose this battle, we have lost our country. We cannot contend with the serious issues of the day if we are sidetracked by personal attack.
I am calling on all patriotic Americans to join me in this fight. It is a battle we must win! This same battle is being waged in numerous races all over our country.
Every generation of Americans has had to fight the battle for freedom. This is our fight. This is our time.