Don’t let politics get in your way



Maybe you’ve been living under a rock and have not heard multiple and multiple times from media and social media that today is the Iowa Caucuses. . . .the first step in whittling up the candidates that will lead to the upcoming 11-month process in selecting our next President.  So, brace yourself for almost the complete remainder of 2024 to hear nothing but political talk.


I had another article scheduled for today, but yesterday when I went to church the pastor, during his sermon, asked us to think about someone who might have prayed for you and that prayer made a difference in your life.  I don’t know why, but the first person I thought of was Jenny, a far-left leaning, politically active, advocate in my community.  As far as politics, Jenny and I didn’t have a whole lot in common, but I’ve always felt that Jenny, and her advocacy for me, made a difference in my life.


Even though it has not been written yet, my obituary will probably tell of my experience serving as a Regent for the University of Minnesota.  I have a long history with the University of Minnesota and I applied to be a board member not because of academics or athletics or politics.  I applied simply because I wanted to see the University of Minnesota hospitals continue to give life-saving and life-improving medical treatments to children and I felt that particular aspect of their land-grant mission was slipping away from the institution.


Being selected to the Board of Regents in Minnesota is an exhausting process in which the application/confirmation path goes through citizenship committees and eventually the Minnesota State Legislature.  I made my way through the process of all applicants to one of the final two applicants which is narrowed down to the eventual position by the totality of the State Legislature made up of 201 Senators and House members.


And, the year I was selected, 2015, the Minnesota Legislature was evenly divided — the makeup consisted of 101 Republicans, 99 Democrats, and 1 vacancy at the time of my selection — so, a regent candidate from either party had a chance to be selected.  The other finalist had worked in the George W. Bush administration in Washington, DC prior to this time. . . so I’m fairly certain that both of us came from the right of center politically.


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

Where am I going with this?  Well, during that selection process I ran into Jenny on the street in my hometown.  She asked me that day, if the regent selection process was over.  I said, “No, it has another couple of weeks to go before the final vote.”  Then to my surprise she said to me, “I’ve called every Democrat legislator in the state and told them how good you would be at that job”.  I said, “Thank you” and then walked away wondering why she would be doing that for me.


Well, at the end of the day, my opponent and I pretty much split the Republican votes, although I had a few more. . . . but when the Democrat votes were tallied, I carried that group 98-1 which gave me the position on the board.


Jenny has passed away and I never saw her again after that day on the street.  I’ve always wondered why she advocated for me like she did. . . .However, I think I know —  when Jenny’s son had died years earlier, I was there and I was the one who helped with all the funeral arrangements. . . . Jenny never identified me as one with a different political viewpoint than hers, she identified me as the person who was there for her in her time of need — her funeral director who was fair, honest, and just when he helped walk her through the funeral process.


I’ll always be grateful for Jenny and others like her who may have advocated for me. . . .because I enjoyed my time on the Board of Regents and felt I made a difference in how the hospital viewed benevolent care for children with special problems. . . .and I’m pretty sure that Jenny was grateful for this funeral director who helped guide her when she needed the guidance.


So, it is the Iowa Caucuses today, but I’m pretty sure that most of our national politicians on both sides have lost their way in their quest for individual power over the thought process of political compromise to help our country move forward.  My point today is “Don’t lose your way” in how you work with the families who ask you for help. . . . be fair, honest, and just  — they will appreciate that more than you ever know.


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  1. Danny Jefferson on January 15, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    Well said Tom! It confirms your “why” to still be in Funeral Service and trying to make the difference that you do! Thank you!!!

  2. Darrin on January 15, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    This is a great story about genuine relationships, which are becoming increasingly rare. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Kent Dorsey on January 15, 2024 at 11:25 am

    Maybe I am behind in the times, but I was taught to keep politics out of the funeral home. The funeral home is neutral on issues and does not involve itself in political endorsements. I used to think that was a downside to being a Funeral Director, now as I watch the political disagreements cause problems in family and long time friendships – I have got quite comfortable in keeping my politics to myself. I have served families that I am quite sure we don’t agree politically – but everything went well and we never had to bring that stuff up.
    What I am shocked at is funeral vendors, who will throw their politics out there on LinkedIn and other places, with no concern of offending a potential client. I have wrote several off in the past couple of years because their opinions on social media were more important to them than getting new customers, or offending current customers. Amazin’…

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