We’re losing our civil minds.

It’s everyone’s fault, but it’s especially the fault of our leaders (on both sides) who refuse to stand up to the extreme voices in each party.

As someone who has tried to have an unemotional view for the past several years, I can’t stay silent.

When armed protesters show up at the State Capitol and Republican politicians say nothing, they are complicit.

When protesters beat the effigy of a woman reporter in front of her house and DFL politicians say nothing, they are complicit.

When Confederate flags fly and Republicans say nothing, they are enabling.

When public property is vandalized and DFLers say nothing, they are enabling.

It’s time for someone to lead, to condemn violence against people of color by police and be equally critical of the hate spewed by white Minnesotans in Stillwater.

Observing this era of the pandemic, and the social justice debate in the Trump-Omar era, would be fascinating if it wasn’t so damn disturbing. But it’s time for the left and the right, including the Facebook posters and tweeters, to understand that what they are doing by inflaming so much emotion isn’t healthy.

It’s not good for our mental health. It’s a cancer for our democracy.

Debate is healthy; violence in our neighborhoods is not.

Discussion is constructive; mocking people who wear masks is not.

We have enormous issues to tackle as a state and a nation — doing it with the current tone and tenor is a song that is easy for mainstream Minnesota to tune out. When you lose the mainstream, DFL Chair Ken Martin and GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan, you’ll be less relevant than the current caucus system that delivers us the types of candidates you support.

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Peggy Flanagan were quick to protest when a CNN reporter was wrongfully detained, but they still haven’t said anything about a Minnesota reporter’s image being beaten with a stick.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt are good at playing politics with jobs and political posturing, but they aren’t so good at calling out President Donald Trump for telling Rep. Ilhan Omar to go home.

Why are our leaders so inert? They worry about their “base,” the most vocal and activist members of their parties, and about “losing them,” all for the sake of winning in November.

You’re all guilty, every single one who says nothing about the people in your own party who are wrong.

It’s time for leaders across the country to start standing up for civility and order, and if we are so “great” here in Minnesota, this would be a good place to start.

If you’re a Republican who doesn’t criticize the president for saying he should have more than two terms, and for playing politics with the Postal Service in an election, you’re the problem.

If you’re a DFLer who doesn’t condemn the beating of the Liz Collin effigy in Hugo on Saturday, you’re the problem.

Today would be a good day to stop being the problem, and start being a solution.


Blois Olson is CEO of Fluence Media and author of Morning Take. On Twitter at @bloisolson. You can subscribe to his tip sheets at www.fluence-newsletters.com.