Monday, December 28, 2009

Credit Where It's Due...

Former U.S. Senator and democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton has admitted some difficulties in dealing with an alcohol problem and with depression.

If it was any other politician, I would score this as a politically-motivated spin at damage control to quell and/or even capitalize on rumormongering.

But it's not any other politician. It's Mark Dayton.

Let me explain. Back when the Red Bulls were in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, awaiting their nearly two-year deployment in Iraq in 2006, they had a going away party that was attended by many dignitaries. Among the attendees was Mark Dayton. Not only did then-Senator Dayton attend the affair, but he was working, serving steaks to our soldiers who would soon be placed away from their families in harm's way, in what was then extremely hostile territory.

If it was any other politician, especially any other democrat politician during a time when out-and-out sedition was quite fashionable among the ranks in the democrat party, I would have again chalked it up to a photo op; cheap electioneering on the part of another politician trying to gain favor among the "support our troops" crowd.

But it wasn't any other politician. It was Mark Dayton.

You see, at the time of the troop sendoff, Mark Dayton had already announced that he would not seek re-election.. He wasn't running for anything. He was just being there, working the steak line, serving, chatting with, and honoring our troops.

Despite the fact that Mark Dayton and I didn't agree on a thing that came out of his office in terms of fiscal or domestic policy, I have always respected him, because he is a genuinely nice guy. What you see is what you get. Even when Dayton drew fire for closing his Senate office for fear of security issues, there wasn't any political calculation in that decision. He was trying to protect his staff.

Mark Dayton was the only democrat politician of any stature at the time that never spoke ill of the mission of our soldiers during the height of the Iraq war. In fact, Dayton's words and actions served only to genuinely honor our troops.

That was enough to earn and keep this blogger's respect.

We all have our personal demons that we need to wrestle with. I wish Mr. Dayton well, and pray for his continued recovery.

Godspeed, my friend!