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Minnesota GOP Thinks Depression Is Hilarious

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Parry’s comments drew a stern rebuke from Dayton, who’d taken the high road for most of his term.

“In this era of gutter politics, something like that — especially, somebody who probably thinks he’s losing an election in six days is going to reach for anything he can and try to make an issue out of it and blow it up and see if he can get an advantage with it,” Dayton said. “To me it says a lot more about him than it does about me.”

Parry ultimately lost to former state Rep. Allen Quist in the primary, but as Peterson’s joke and Emmer’s videos demonstrate, it wasn’t because of Republican outrage at his statement. The Republican Party of Minnesota has taken Dayton’s illness and turned it into a punchline at best, and a danger at worst.

I don’t think people talk that way about people they respect.”

Will Morgan, Peterson’s opponent in November, criticized her for mocking Dayton’s illness.

“I think making jokes about mental illness is unacceptable for public figures,” Morgan said. “As a teacher I know there are likely hundreds of students in the families Ms. Peterson serves as a school board member who deal with the challenges of mental health issues every day.  I think they deserve better than to be a politician’s punchline.”

Morgan worried that the continuing personal attacks will continue to erode the relationship between parties.

“I don’t think people talk that way about people they respect,” Morgan said. “Just like any workplace, when the attacks get personal, it becomes much more difficult to accomplish anything together.”

The Peterson campaign did not respond to a request for comment on her statement, and that is perhaps unsurprising. Parry’s statement was hammered when it came to light in August by moderates and liberals, and even by a few politically savvy conservatives. Nevertheless, Republicans continue to attack Dayton’s illness when speaking to fellow travelers. Mitch Berg of Shot In The Dark attacked Dayton just last week, complaining about the lack of coverage of Dayton’s “history of alcohol abuse and treatment, of mental illness and concomitant prescriptions for various psychotropic medication [sic].”

An Attack on the Depressed

The stigma of mental illness still runs deep in our society. Too many still view mental illness not as a medical condition, but as a moral failing.

When Republicans attack Dayton for being “unbalanced,” “crazy,” and “scary,” they also attack all those who suffer from mental illness, and yet manage to live productive, stable lives. We have a long way to go in perfecting treatment of mental illness, but we have come a long way, and most people who suffer from depression can live healthy, happy lives with proper treatment. Similarly, millions of Americans have gone through recovery, including former President George W. Bush. It is not easy, obviously, but we have rightly decided that people who beat addiction deserve to be able to build their lives free of opprobrium.

The attacks on Dayton do not simply minimize his office, nor do they only harm his reputation. They are a slap in the face to anyone who starts their day with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, to anyone who goes to a therapist, to anyone who is dealing with a mental illness. Unfortunately, in their zeal to take Dayton down however they can, Minnesota Republicans have done a great deal to make things worse for hundreds of thousands of their constituents. It will be interesting to see how their constituents respond.

Watch the Videos

Tom Emmer’s “Crazy Dayton Eyes” video:

Roz Peterson at the GOP district convention:

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Image Credit: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton

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3:42PM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

Jeff Fecke's article did a fine job of making these politicians accountable for their hateful attitudes toward people with mental illness.

3:38AM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Ignorance feeds this particular breed of monster.

8:40AM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

pretty sad. damn elephants

10:32AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Whoa, "we all know how scary Obama is"????? We do? What exactly is it that makes him scary?

Seems the GOP crowd is totally in denial about their own delusional paranoia that's teetering on the brink of psychosis.

1:53PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

What kind of a person votes for these people??????. think about it, they have to know what they are voting for, do they not"??????. as I have said these are not the republicians we used to vote for, and voters are so wrapped up in hate they can not see it!!!!, so republician voters you need to "save" your party, not BY voting for THEM, but by not VOTING FOR THEM!!!!!!. in four years maybe this ayn rand disease will be out of ther systems and maybe yours as well, what do you know about the AYN RAND PARTY, well we know republicians and teaparty is infected!!!!. look up the republician party history go back to when the party started, MAY be...........FUN!!!!!!. and it may change your vote!!!!!, for now only". just reseach, read. go online see how gop was years ago up til now, and look up AYN RAND, Then vote not for a corrupt sick party but for our country RUINED by this party. Diana.

12:31PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

I assure these idiots that Depression is no laughing matter.

10:50PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Not surprising coning from a repub. Until iy happens to then, it is merely malingering for evertonre rlse, Dame with avortion, they oppose it yntil a mistress needs to be quiwtly flown to a private clinic. The party of 'do as I say, not as i do;.

2:07PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

It is amazing at the number of people who still think of mental illness as something to laugh about. How can we fight such ignorance when the majority of these people can't claim ignorance, only stupidity!

1:41PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Aren't all Republicans ,uncaring and cruel!

1:17PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

In response to this paragraph: Powerline’s Scott Johnson demanded that Dayton release all of his medical records, because “one would have to be a fool to take his word that depression is the only mental health issue Dayton struggles with.”

I must suggest that Dayton does struggle with another mental issue, as do many of us. That so-called mental issue is consternation over how and why the GOP is running Mitch Romney (with apologies to David Letterman) and Paul, Lyin' Ryan, for President and Vice President.

It is no wonder that people are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Those new Democrats will more than make up for the illegally disenfranchised Democrat Voters. And, were those afore-mentioned DEMs to regain their right to vote, the Obama-Biden win will be even more lopsided.

So long as Romney keeps opening his mouth and inserting both feet, as does Ryan (remember, even Fox news said they had never heard so many lies in one speech, as in Ryan's speech to the GOP Convention).

No, it's not a done deal, or a 'gimme,' but the Republicans are making it increasingly easier to win, by not reining in their Big Lie machine.

The American People are now better equipped to know the difference between how Republican Politicians see the world, and how the world really is.

Lest I forget to acknowledge the elephant in this virtual room, I hope those GOP hacks, who lurk in the comments' sections, have picked up their paychecks for their name-calling

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Thank you Anita M. for the article. I did a search for it and I will read it.

For shame, Canada! We in the US expect you to set a better example than some of our homegrown politicians…

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