Brett’s Letters: A Letter about the Minnesota State Government Shutdown (and beer!)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on July 13, 2011 0 Comments

Dear Mr. Daudt and Mr. Nienow,

Hi, I’m a constituent for both of you, and I’m writing because I’m already pretty darn tired of this whole government shutdown thing.

I mean, at first, it sounded like such a good idea. I was really looking forward to an absence of political ads; I figured that with no government, there would be no ads telling me what to think about government officials. How wrong I was.

By the way, can we permanently shut down those ads? Or, can we pass a law that bans those stupid ominous-sounding voiceover actors and replaces them with actors that have just inhaled a whole birthday party worth of helium balloons? And at the end of the ad, the voiceover actor would have to emerge from behind a curtain, Wizard of Oz-style and then improvise some sort of jig. That would make those ads easier to withstand. I also really dislike the garish fonts, the cheap leitmotiv soundtracks, and the silly production effects that you folks use to try to make your opponents look positively evil. (One of the TV ads here is a good example:

I mean, no matter how hard you try, it’s unlikely the opposition candidate will morph into the Penguin or the Joker.

Besides, such ads are too easy to make. It’s easy to smear somebody outright, especially when they have no immediate recourse to defend themselves. So along with the helium idea I added above, I think all so-called attack ads should be required to show the opponent in the best possible light, at least graphically. So instead of a black-and-white photo of Governor Dayton frowning, with the words HIGHER TAXES floating over his head like a cloud about to pour on poor old Eeyore, you should feature Dayton (or whomever) in a full-color shot, smiling, maybe at Chuckie Cheese’s.

I digress. Back to the budget; I was kidding when I said it was a good idea. I mean, laying off 22,000 state workers is always a pretty bad idea. I mean, most of those folks are on unemployment right now, and that’s awful, as it’s a drain on the state’s obviously strained resources, and some real trouble for those families. (Mr. Nienow and Mr. Doudt, I remind you that 22,000 people is approximately equal to four times the population of Isanti, MN, a city which you both represent.) So for their sake, please compromise with the Governor and fix this budget mess. (The richest few percent can take a hit, and the rest of us will anyway when the budget cuts are announced. That seems fair, yes?)

The real question I have for you both is: what have you done with our beer? As I understand it, MillerCoors, one of the two major beer distributors in the country, will be forced to pull their beers from Minnesota’s stores and bars in the near future. And if the shutdown is not resolved by late summer, then Anheuser Busch/InBev will have the same fate.

So let me get this straight: The shutdown puts thousands of people out of work and floods the airwaves with asinine ads, but it also takes away our beer? You have got to be kidding me. Do you realize how much we have to drink just to put up with all this political nonsense? I mean, things have gotten so bad that we make drinking games out of political speeches. (Anytime they say “job-killing tax increase” it’s a shot. Anytime anyone says “tax-and-spend” it’s two.)

So not only does the current political situation make us want to drink; the shutdown will likely cut out a good portion of our beer selection. According to the Star Tribune, MillerCoors provides 38% of the beer sold in Minnesota. And Anheuser Busch/In-Bev constitutes a pretty good chunk of the rest. So thanks to your shenaniganizing, in a short few months the normal folks of Minnesota will be without a state government—and possibly without most varieties of beer.

Mr. Nienow, Mr. Doudt—that’s really, really depressing. So please, fix this mess, and compromise with the Governor.

Otherwise, I’ll have to start brewing my own beer. And I really don’t want to see how that turns out.

Brett Ortler

Isanti, MN


P.S. Hi, faithful readers. Yes, I actually sent this letter. Will let you know what response I get, if any.

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