Living as we do in Minnesota, we can count on four seasons to track the year’s progress. In the political atmosphere we live with now, it seems another season has been interwoven relentlessly into our daily life.

This is the season of the demagogue and easy answer merchant. Pick your brand of politics and you can hear just about anything. The next two years will try our patience. Whether you are liberal or conservative, undecided or confused, you will hear just about any simple-minded solution to questions that can’t be answered absolutely. For hidden in each dim-witted reply is a denial of the complexity and diversity of life.

Walk out into your backyard and you get an introductory lesson in diversity. I have never been able to grow the perfect lawn. Part of it is time, part of it is the financial investment I would have to make to get the job done, and part of it is wondering what all the chemicals poured on the scraggly grass might do.

As I walk around the half acre, I count 30 trees, including Norways, Spruces, White Pines and Birches, five different types of shrubs in various states of trim and a vegetable and flower garden that begs for weeding. The lawn is 90 percent grass, 5 percent dandelion, 2 percent plantain and 3 percent other plants I couldn’t possibly identify, with a healthy sprinkling of ant mounds. This in an area the size of three city lots. If I wandered a little farther out of town, I would find the area I live in very complex. There are forests, swamps, rivers, lakes, and animals I share space with.

When a weekend trip takes me to a large shopping mall, and the family hits all the stores I don’t want to go to, I’ll sit in some central court and watch people as they rush by. There are thin ones, tall ones, chunky ones, Black, Hispanic, White, Native and Southeast Asian. They are quiet, noisy, well-dressed, casual and unkempt. They are all there.

Of a Sunday morning in most towns, people make their way to religious services. The rituals they engage in are as diverse as their creeds, acknowledging a central truth, a dependence on something larger than ourselves. There are many pathways to this reality.

When psychologists make their living they frequently give tests. These examinations when written into a report that the layman can understand, point out individual differences. We are the same, but we are also different.

In the season of the snake oil salesman/politician, simple solutions are offered to us in a way that negates the world around us. The resolutions to complex issues they would have us believe, fit into a seven second sound byte or catchy phrase. The narrowness of the answer is in the minds of the speakers, not the places we share with its richness and diversity.

When political discourse takes into consideration the intricacy of our incredibly bountiful world, then real solutions to real problems might happen rather than some preconceived one-size-fits-all. The demagogue and naive or manipulating answer merchant won’t have an audience. Wouldn’t that be just awful?

More of Doug’s writings can be seen at