The Allure of Radicalism, Take 2

The following is the first guest post I wrote, back in the days when Trial Balloon blog was just a fledgling. I’ve updated slightly and given it a different question – only a handful of our usual readership has seen it before (I think).


A few years ago when Husband and I were on a Minnesota stay-cation, we were honored to attend a memorial service for a man who had been a real “mover and shaker”, someone who was active in many arenas and really got things done. In addition to this, he was considered a “radical.” On a hilltop overlooking the gorgeous green valleys of Southeastern Minnesota in August, people told stories about this man for three solid hours – how he kept to his principles, questioned and at times defied authority, blazed trails, and worked incessantly for environmental and community-building causes.

I grew up in a household of mixed messages: Be Different (but not So Different That You’d Embarrass Us). In the late 60s and the 70s, there were so many ways to Be Different! You could blaze a little trail by trying out vegetarianism or marching in protest to the Vietnam War. Some of us left for the East or West coasts, or abroad, hoping to find something radically different, and of course we did. When ready to settle down in the late seventies, I came to the Twin Cities, hoping what I’d heard was true – there were Radicals in Minnesota. I’ve never been disappointed – the coastal hot spots had nothing on this state!

Most of us are now more subtle in our radicalism – there are hundreds of ways to be a little bit radical. I still enjoy getting people to raise an eyebrow by telling them, say, that I participate in a blog peopled by listeners to a former public radio Morning Show.

What would you like to do that’s a bit radical? (Or have you already done it?)

61 thoughts on “The Allure of Radicalism, Take 2”

  1. I wouldn’t have ever thought participating in this blog was a form of radicalism….maybe that makes me a radical?

    I suppose i am in that when we visit daughter….whose husband is a die hard Republican and dispite that I dearly love him…(He’s a wonderful husband and father)…but I do not talk politics there. They know I’m a “liberal” and can see the Facebook posts I share. None on politics….those I message to people who share my views but I do a lot of posts concerning the environment…particularly global warming….and the horrible effects from use of pesticides. Daughters husband grew up in a farming family & community….wheat….and I’m quite sure pesticides were/are still used by many.

    I was raised to appreciate and respect all religions…to some that could be considered a bit radical but to me it is natural and just make sense…nothing radical in understanding differences while also believing out likeness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Off to Kansas for #2 grandchild’s HS graduation….then her state softball tournament and finally next Sat my 50 year HS reunion. But I will be checking in….my morning coffe and Trail Baboon simply go together!

    Gotta load and leave…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re always radical in someone’s eyes. You don’t even have to try. All you have to do is be your authentic self. If you think of yourself as radical, in whose judgement are you measuring yourself? Not your own, surely.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The word radical comes from the Latin word radix, meaning of or having roots. I regularly consume root vegetables…maybe that’s my way of being radical.

    Let’s all go out and plant a radish today.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I just bought my garden seeds yesterday; hoping it’s not too late for kohlrabi and radishes.

      PS: the lilacs are blooming and it smells wonderful. 🙂
      (Lost one lilac bush to the storms Wednesday night). 😦

      Liked by 2 people

        1. rabbits and chickens. And deer.
          I put the tall fence up when I started prepping the straw bales but I haven’t got the wire bottom fence up yet. I’m aiming for Sunday to do all that.
          I have Blake Ballet coming through the theater for rehearsals today and performances tomorrow.
          THEN I’ll get a couple easy weeks to (hopefully) finish farming and then one more dance group the first of June and THEN I’m off from the college until fall.

          PS: got an ‘A’ in my math class. But I don’t believe it. The final was HARD! And I’m pretty sure I bombed it. But figured once he reviewed my work I’d pull it up to a ‘C’ giving me a ‘B’ in the class.
          For some mysterious reason, the online class shows I got 77% and no grade on the final. The teacher says something didn’t save but that I got 90% or something on the final… hmmmm… highly suspect. And the official college transcripts say ‘A’. Well… Ok, but I don’t like it.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. As long as you don’t get recruited for the space program on the strength of your final grade, it will be OK.

          Liked by 3 people

  5. i remember those 69’s and 70’s and my turning vegetarian and sitting in in front of the rotc headquarters in front of northrop at the u of m, blocking washington ave and university ave. i remember my philosophy teacher in high school shaking his head and saying “why don’t you go and lead them? their leadership is terrible! always look at the leadership.”
    he was right the leadership was a bunch of odd folks who later got arrested for having an arsenal of weapons in their house.
    my radicalism today gets disheartened by the feeling of being a teardrop in the ocean but i do feel like all i can do is all i can do. i try to do it every day.
    i am pleased that my wife and children are all politically vocal, involved and passing on the ripple in the water effect. my quiet daughter informed me she has been asked to be a coleader of the amnesty group at school. she is also in tree huggers and marches at the capital with her mom and sisters for women’s right and other timely matters. my ripple will hopefully continue to spread

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There was a time when I thought I was radical. Then I discovered that I only seemed radical when examined through the eyes of the society in which I’d grown up . . . a conservative, buttoned-tight sort of community that favored conformity over originality. It wasn’t hard to see that I was just another Midwestern kid who was beginning to shed some of his provincialism.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    My family considers me radical, having left Iowa and rural life to live in the “Big Cities Up North.” And then there was my divorce and my weird kid (who is now creating medical simulation technology which will solve their medical problems, thank you very much). Although my brother was divorced, too, and he seems free of stigma from that. And they wonder why I don’t want to hang out with them. A lot less judgmentalness would make some of them more alluring to spend time with.

    I like Bill’s comment that you are always radical to someone. Very true.

    Baboony-ness suits me, I think. I am a non-radical Baboon Trail denizen.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I agree with Bill, once again. Over the years a lot of different people have considered me a radical although I never have. I was never a hippie, and because I never smoked pot was considered suspect by some of the people I hung out with in college. They thought I was an informer. Yet I participated in the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that turned violent and destructive after the Kent State shootings. I personally never participated in the violence, nevertheless being part of the peace movement put me in conflict with “the establishment” and conservative friends.

    I’ve always been a feminist, and that has been a source of conflict with some people, both male and female, for as long as I can remember. I don’t think of myself as strident, but damn it, if I don’t speak up for myself, who will?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just got mine, tim. If you end up being too late to the game, I have two, and will be glad to sell you one.


    1. thanks to your post i got my two also
      (great minds)
      i am guessing the 900 sale time had the phones ringing off the hook at the book store so they changed it
      at 910 i gave up
      when pj posted i went and they were available

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t call the bookstore, I called Brown Paper tickets. And while I was on the phone with them, it was activated.


        1. going to make all the people who sent their timers for 9 o’clock Pacific time as per the directions on the site very angry that they missed out on it


        2. when i hit your link it took me to the deal that said the tickets would go oin sale at 9 so i set my alarm. the clocked ticked past 0 and i kept trying at 910 i posted on bpt i was upset and then i noticed it said tickets would go onsale at 9 pacific time. i am used to this form ebay postings. they work on pacific time too so i reset the alarm and came back to the trail where i saw your note and went back and was able to get the tickets

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Daughter is considered somewhat of a radical by our acquaintances for “moving so far away from home”. I detect a certain whistfulness from many of the women, as though they wish they would have done what she has done.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Like others here, at the time I thought I was radical I was doing a little pot, marching against the war, saying ugly things about Nixon and embracing some of the more conservative elements of the hippie culture. Years later it occurred to me that what I’d done was exactly what other people like me were doing, which means I was being conventional. Again. It smarted a bit when I realized that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There is a paperback bookstore here, used and new books, that is Winona’s only independent retail bookstore (if you don’t count Target and Walmart). It is going to change hands in the next year or less, and it needs a buyer. If a buyer doesn’t show up, there is a group of us who are wondering if it could be co-operatively owned. That might be a radical enough idea for a while.


    1. reminds me of the boone and erickson show when the lottery started and boone was asked what hed do if he won. he said id buy a farm and i would farm until all the winning were gone.
      thats how i feel about bookstores today. amazon and ebays have killed the business.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. if you do it study the 1/2 price books model and get the book people to bring their used books to you. then they know where to come to get the books they want. i thought seriously about doing it myself but amazon is such an ugly competitor.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I became a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party several years ago. The LP is seen as radical by many people, especially Dems and Reps who see any third party as a threat to their gravy train.

    In reality, Libertarians and libertarians are some of the most reasonable, non-radical people I’ve met. Our ideas are radical only because they don’t usually encompass generally accepted beliefs and political thought.

    If minding my own business and not trying to tell (or force) everyone else how to live their lives, or force them to support, through taxes, the coercion of citizens by the government is radical, then paint me purple and call me Larry the Likable Libertarian.

    The LP is all about fiscal conservatism, personal freedom, social tolerance, and limited government control of our lives and money.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 1 person

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