Voter Appreciates What This Candidate Isn’t Saying

I came across this news with surprise, as I knew Emory Dively and his deaf sister Val, 25 years ago when I lived in Batavia, NY and Emory worked as a Chaplin at NTID. Dively is now running for political office in the Twin Cities. I no longer have contact with Emory, so I cannot vouch for his political or personal ambitions or beliefs. I certainly would not vote for a candidate merely because he is deaf. I would hope no one does so! I’d want to know his goals, beliefs…. his stance on a wide range of issues. His website, unfortunately, does not provide much insight into Dively’s beliefs, although Dively’s long-time profession as a Reverend in the Pentecostal Assemblies of God church would appear to indicate he is staunchly conservative, which is in direct opposition to my progressive beliefs. The editorial opinion below tongue-in-cheekily urges support for Dively because, unlike his opponents in the district he is running in, due to his inability to speak, he’s not been able to go on television and engage in the traditional political pastime of mud-slinging. -Ken @ bibliomarket

Wed, Nov. 01, 2006

Emory Dively, who is running for a House seat in 64B against a careerist in Highland Park named Michael Paymar, received a nice splash of coverage in the Pioneer Press on Tuesday. Dively is a Republican, which made it all the more surprising that he received any splash at all in a Twin Cities newspaper.

Emory Dively
What’s more, Dively is deaf, a deaf Republican, which is how I would imagine the intelligentsia prefers their Republicans. Dively’s lack of hearing became comically obvious to me at the State Fair, when Dively stopped by the old radio booth for a chat, and Al, one of the engineers, sprang into action and fitted a bemused Dively with the headphones.

“Al,” we said, “those won’t be necessary.”

Last Saturday, Dively was out door-knocking. He came up the driveway just as Mr. Unbelievable and I were putting the finishing touches on a clean motorcycle that was then ready to be put away for the winter. I have a list of questions for occasions when political aspirants come knocking. I didn’t need them for Dively, and he didn’t have an interpreter with him.

“Hello, hello,” we all pantomimed and Emory smiled and gave the thumbs up to the bike.

“That was interesting,” Mr. U said, watching Dively move on to the next house.

“Brief,” I said.

In Tuesday’s report, I learned that Dively is a pastor, that he is 50, that he is an anti-abortion tax hawk and that, understandably, he can instant message with the best of them.

I am also to understand that Dively is using his deafness, if “using” is the term, to challenge progressives to advance his cause to elect a deaf representative so that the “deaf community” can finally have a voice, so to speak, at the state Capitol. I wouldn’t go down that road if I were Emory, but it’s his campaign.

That’s the kind of thinking that gives us the improbable push to elect Keith Ellison for no other reason than that he would be the first black Muslim congressman in America. Big deal. That isn’t enough of a reason to vote for Ellison, for it insists that diversity in and of itself is some kind of stand-alone value that trumps the ideas of other, potentially more qualified candidates.

Still, I’m going with Dively. I go for anybody running against entrenched careerists in St. Paul. Besides, all my votes get canceled because I live in a house divided.

It’s just that Dively is particularly appealing this year and, I must admit, precisely because he is deaf. I have not suddenly embraced diversity as a value. I like Dively because we haven’t had to listen to him. He is, by the fate of his absent hearing, entirely attractive for what he is not saying.

The lies, distortions and exaggerations that have been polluting the TV ads and clogging the radio dials should be enough to drive the lot of us to demand that all candidates be deaf, that it should be an automatic condition for running for political office that you cannot speak. How much better off we all would be if these desperate, obsequious lapdogs on both sides of the fence would just shut up.


I find myself in a strange place every election cycle, yearning for the candidate who can leave me with the impression that he or she could live without the job.

I know, I know. I am asking for the impossible. To get elected today, you have to go on the attack. I have seen Patty Wetterling, for example, go from a position of Minnesota’s own special, trusted mom, to a yammering pro who preposterously tried to bring Mark Foley’s e-mails into her campaign against Michele Bachmann, who just as preposterously apparently has a direct telephone line to God.

Give me a deaf Emory Dively any day of the week. I am better off for what I don’t hear.

Joe Soucheray can be reached at or 651-228-5474. Soucheray is heard from 2 to 5:30 p.m. weekdays on KSTP-AM 1500.


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