Think Maxine Waters has ever set foot in St. George Township, Minnesota?
Unlikely: The Democratic member of Congress has been representing parts of Los Angeles for close to three decades, and keeps pretty busy. She commutes across the country from her district to Washington, D.C., leaving little time in between for stop-overs in a tiny central Minnesota town that (fun fact!) was named not for a Christian martyr, but because three early residents were ... named George.
Try telling any of this to Shane Mekeland. Mekeland, a Republican, is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives seat formerly belonging to Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker), soon to be lamb to DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's slaughter.
Mekeland's DFL opponent in the strongly conservative district is Karla Scapanski, a dairy farmer and instructor at St. Cloud State University.
Mekeland, a convenience store owner and general contractor in his private life, was meeting with potential voters at a restaurant around 9 p.m. Friday night when his speech was brought to a violent, unceremonious end.
Mekeland was "blindsided" by a "much, much bigger person," he tells the Star Tribune. The attack left the candidate suffering from a concussion, and seeking to press charges. The Benton County Sheriff confirmed his office is looking into the incident, which not only had numerous witnesses, but may also have been captured on surveillance tape.
The suspect in Mekeland's alleged assault was interviewed and released without arrest, and no charges have been filed.
Mekeland says before the sucker punch, this large person made a "typical politically charged statement," something to the effect of "politicians not caring about the middle class." As Mekeland conceded to the Star Tribune, the statement was "not necessarily one way or the other."
No kidding. As candidates, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump each devoted metric tons of breath to championing the "forgotten," "screwed," or "cheated" middle- or working-class American. Seems like a bipartisan issue.
And yet, take a look at how Shane explained the assault on his campaign Facebook page.
When I chose to run for office, I expected to be politically attacked, but never physically. I weighed whether or not to share this today, but ultimately I think we all need a reminder to be civil to each other regardless of our perspectives.
Absolutely, amen, and hear! hear! my good man. Godspeed as you go about the final stretch of your camp--
Sorry, what's that? There's more?
Hey, Shane? As "the media," City Pages would like to take an official stance against violence, political or otherwise. People should not be afraid to express their opinions about "the Constitution, principles and simple common sense" without getting jumped by some big stranger in a bar.
But, confronted with an act of violence in a political lash-out, Shane name-dropped three people -- two of them black, two of them women, and two of them not holding any office at this time -- whose principal political "sin," of late, is criticizing the presidency of a man whose rallies routinely lead to some kind of confrontation, verbal or otherwise, with protesters, "the media" (gee, Shane, where'd you learn that one?), and perhaps, someday soon, a hologram of Colin Kaepernick.
And he, that president, seems to get off on it, as if he's a professional wrestling promoter spurring opposing "characters" to duke it out for his amusement.
Only this isn't fake, which makes it more like ancient bloodsport, like some wicked Roman emperor pitting peasants against one another and laughing about their fates. Saint George weeps.