“You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by yourself, you know, and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.”
These were the words spoken by the goalie of a fictitious hockey team in the 1977 movie “Slap Shot.” The box he is referring to is the penalty box where players are sent for violations in play.
If you are a Minnesotan or a hockey fan, you have probably seen this movie. It is about a losing hockey team whose coach, played by Paul Newman, decides to bring more violence into the game to attract fans. The coach signs the Hanson Brothers, three big, aggressive recruits to goon it up. And it works, fans start flocking to the game.
Spoiler Alert: After several games of fighting and finding out the team owner doesn’t like the violence and is dissolving the team; the coach and team decide they would rather play “old time hockey” relying on skills and teamwork to win. But the decision comes too late, the opposing team in the final game has risen to the goon challenge and brings escalated violence to the final game.
Why am I invoking the philosophy and lessons of a 1977 hockey movie? Because I think at least three of our Minnesota Congressional delegation should be sent to the penalty box so they can feel shame. Minnesota Congressmen Tom Emmer, Pete Stauber and Jim Hagedorn all signed on to the specious lawsuit brought by the state of Texas to overturn the presidential election results in four other states, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Why should they feel shame about this? Let me give you just the top five.
5. Jurisdiction. Texas can’t tell other states how to run their elections. States decide the rules. The Supreme Court — and every other credible expert in the country agreed. Emmer, Stauber and Hagedorn should know better. Cross-checking. Shame on you.
4. No illegal votes. All four states’ practices and procedures have been challenged in court and no evidence of massive illegal voting has been found. Recounts of paper ballots have upheld the election results. Emmer, Stauber and Hagedorn know this. Holding. Shame on you.
3. Not in their constituents’ interests. In these four other states, the ballots contained votes for all offices from president to school board. Republicans won many of those races across the states. The illegal voter theory would suggest that all of the state and local races, not just the presidential race, could also be incorrectly counted. Opening the door to invalidating the votes for their own candidates is not a well thought-out strategy. Charging. Shame on you.
2. Not their job. Emmer, Stauber and Hagedorn are elected to Congress to represent the people of Minnesota. They make laws, they control government funds, and they have oversight responsibility of the executive branch. In this time of serious public health and economic crises, you would think that our Congressmen would have plenty of real work to do. Misconduct. Shame on you.
Like many competitions, the contest of ideas that occurs every election season has winners and losers. We have all supported a candidate that didn’t win an election. And yes, it hurts. But the proper response to losing an election is to congratulate the winner and wish them well, because we all benefit from a functional government.
If we don’t agree with the policies of the winner, there are several options. You can work with the winners to try and get your point of view heard and acknowledged. Build relationships with the opposition so you can work together. It is often possible to find areas you agree on, or are willing to compromise on, to get the needs of your constituents met. This is called teamwork.
You can do the hard work of shaping public opinion, showing that your ideas are worthy, so more people vote for them in the next election. This is called leadership.
Or you can tackle a problem from a different angle, that doesn’t directly involve the government, such as working through a charity, or school or foundation to further your public policy goals. This is called creativity.
What you don’t do is complain about the rules, rail against the unfairness of it all, or falsely claim the other side cheated. This is called poor sportsmanship.
And the No. 1 reason Emmer, Stauber and Hagedorn should feel shame?
1. You don’t attempt to invalidate the legitimate votes from voters in other states while hiding behind the good name of Minnesota.
To the penalty box, all three of you.