About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Government Employees Deserve Love, Too

Government employees don’t get much love these days. During Minnesota’s Gubernatorial debates, Republican candidate Tom Emmer often described government in terms of “excess and bloat,” words that call to mind acid reflux disease.

County government employees in particular don’t get much love. As a reader of news, I find county stories lacking the high profile of state political news and the gut-check immediacy of local news. For me, county government is a gray and oblique area. Plus, county e-mail addresses have too many periods.

The UpTake has been down the recount road before, and I'm helping out in case it happens again. For my part I have contacted 25 counties, some of which I had never heard of before. I enter the canvass totals, or official vote counts, into a spreadsheet. Counties with official totals identical to unofficial totals are highlighted in robin’s-egg blue. As county after county totaled up, a horizon of robin’s-egg blue expanded.

In a recent news conference about the likelihood of a recount, Tom Emmer used the word “process” 44 times. For many people, the word “process” is a talisman, something sacred to be revered. It was awesome to see the expanding blue horizon confirm a transparent election process. I don’t mean Valley Girl awesome but “awesome” in the word’s original intent, inspiring respect and wonder.

Like anyone who voted in this election, I have a preferred candidate. But if that robin’s-egg blue horizon revealed another candidate taking office, I would be at peace knowing that the system worked. Similarly, I couldn’t live with myself if I helped to rig an election so my candidate would win. I imagine county officials who are entrusted with ballots feel the same way. To rig an election would mean your professional life, which many people equate with their personal life, is a sham.

It’s not easy to do good work when people denigrate and disregard what you do. Especially when you do a job that’s not visible, a job that at any moment could be deemed excessive and redundant. To do a flawless job under those conditions is pretty awesome.

The opinions written here are mine and are not intended to represent The UpTake. 


  1. Good points!
    My partner was a Mpls city attorney during the last election and put in some long hours working the recount. She's now an attorney at the MN Dept of Ed, doing a whole 'nother bundle of unsung work that is "not visible, a job that at any moment could be deemed excessive and redundant."
    Which isn't to go all weepy and sentimental on her behalf about what she does as a public employee, nor to take it personally when the pitchforks and torches comes in whatever form. It's just speaking to the fact that as a public employee she does her job, and does it really well, under all those conditions you highlighted.

  2. Hi Lizzy! Thanks for reading, and thank you to your partner for her long hours. I imagine any public employee has to develop a thick skin. People say the word "government" as if it's as distasteful as...I don't know what. If not love, government employees deserve respect! Susan


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