Sunday, May 12, 2019

South Dakota Democrats And Evangelicals Should Drink More Whisky And Listen To Mayor Pete

It's Mother's Day, so the best thing one should do is discuss whisky, politics, and religion. What bad can happen?

This morning, I watched two YouTube videos that I would urge every South Dakota Democrat and evangelical to watch.

One was Mayor Pete Buttigieg's speech at the Las Vegas Human Rights Campaign Dinner. It was an excellent speech. He discussed what he calls "a crisis of belonging." He alluded to the fact that many of the nation's excluded citizens are being divided by metaphoric walls that allow them to "get divided and carved up." In order to prevent divisions from continuing, Buttigieg asked the audience to be willing "to stand hand in hand with people just like you and people not at all like you." In short Buttigieg reminded people to tell person stories that welcomed rather than excluded.

Buttigieg enunciated a simple truth; politics is personal and people want their stories heard. Serendipitously, the second YouTube video I watched feature two Whisky YouTubers, Erik Wait and Daniel Whittington, who discussed "Telling the Story of Whisky." Throughout their entertaining conversation about the need for story, Whittington made two important points. First, "story doesn't eliminate information; story gives information context." A little later Whittington said directly what Buttigieg alluded to: "No one cares about your story. They care about how you become part of their story." In short, tell stories that help people belong.

During this century, I recall only a handful of South Dakota Democratic candidates who were decent story tellers  There have been some good policy wonks who had a great command of the facts and some good policy positions. There were a few entertainers who could cleverly turn a phrase,  but storytellers have been rare. Meanwhile, Kristi Noem et al. were going full Horatio Alger. Maybe it's because Democrats apparently prefer clear spirits, but if they want to reverse their fortunes in the state, they need to start telling better stories that gives information context.

It is a Sunday, and and any discussion of story makes me think of two old hymns: "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" and "I Love to Tell the Story." I do wish the evangelical folk who used to sing those songs regularly would get back to telling the story of Jesus and recognizing that Trump's lies are not coherent stories. I also wish they's recognize that every time they tell the story of Trump, people who seek to be part of Christ's story are driven away from grace.

Everybody else who is sick of politics and religion, go watch this video of the greatest whisky speech ever.


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