It’s Been Real, It’s Been Fun, But It Hasn’t Been Real Fun

In just over 2 weeks I will put South Dakota in my rear view mirror for the very last time. For some people, leaving this state would be a sad event. For me it will be like being set free from a prison sentence that lasted 16 years. I moved here with no preconceived notions of what I was in for, looking forward instead to a new challenge in a new place. What I found though was a state that seemingly took pride in being the Webster’s definition of an oxymoron.

 – Where else can one find a group of individuals that tout the family and family values on one hand but in another seem to take pride in underfunding their educational system?
 – Where else can one find a state that takes pride in their “business friendly” environment but yet ignores that fact that almost no businesses are willing to relocate here? We even advertise how little we pay our workers as if it is a badge of honor.
 – Where else (other than the South) can one find a group of people that tout their moral values in one breath while legislating away the happiness of a whole class of their citizens in another breath especially when it comes to marriage equality and basic human rights?
 – Where else can someone who believed that they were a moderate Reagan Republican, someone who voted Republican their whole adult life, leave a state just 16 short years later as a disillusioned Independent with a total disdain for the party that they once loved?
 – Where else can one find a state were the term RINO used often and is even more despised than the term Liberal and usually just as undefined?
 – Where else can one find a group of people so against government interference and taxation all while being one of the biggest welfare states in the country, gladly taking in many more government dollars than they contribute?

Despite the above, I can thank South Dakota and her outspoken religious right for one thing. I moved here as an indifferent Christian and will be leaving it more sure than ever that there is no higher power. I do now hold one strong belief when it comes to religion, I believe that it is the root cause of much of the world’s problems and that fundamentalism is not just a Muslim thing.

So where do I go now?

 I could say that I am heading to some wonderful place where all the problems I experienced in South Dakota would not exist and how it is some wonderful political paradise. That wouldn’t be true.

Ohio, the place of my birth and the place where most of my beliefs were born, is just as messed up in many ways as is South Dakota. Ohioans for the most part have many of the same problems and concerns as folks do here but with one major exception. The 2 party system, while nothing to brag about anywhere, is actually alive and well in Columbus so all citizens at least have a voice. Heck, sitting Presidents and Presidential candidates actually visit the state from time to time and truly feel the need to pander to our needs in search of our mighty electoral votes!

Unfortunately in Pierre where Democrats are all but non-existent, it seems the biggest issue is not necessarily doing what is best for the residents but in determining who can come up with the most ridiculous legislation to determine who is more Conservative or who isn’t Conservative enough. While in the national political arena, South Dakota isn’t even an afterthought except to mock every once in awhile.

Going forward I am not sure whether I will continue here or not. I do want to thank the few people that have chosen to read what I have written since my first blog, “The South Dakota Moderate” starting back in 2005. It’s been a hobby that more than anything let me vent my frustrations and if you found anything worthwhile in what I wrote than I am happy. If you haven’t you probably aren’t reading this anyway but either way it’s been fun.

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Governor Daugaard: Dream Big!…Flip Burgers

You really have to love it. While my daughter laments the loss of the one program that she loves here in Canistota because of his budget cuts, her school will no longer have any art classes, our illustrious Governor tells a room full of high school seniors to dream big.

Going forward my kids will have limited choices in advanced math and science, a foreign languages department consisting of a choice between Spanish or Spanish, and maybe Spanish, and no arts at all. Quite the ammunition for achieving those big dreams isn’t it?

I did hear that McDonald’s is hiring though and on our current path that will be about all our schools will be preparing our kids to do.

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Post Election Thoughts

As expected the GOP swept into power in the House winning as many as 60 seats from the Democrats while picking up a few seats in the Senate but still fell short of winning the majority. Also as expected, the 2010 edition of the winds of change blew South Dakota’s lone member of the house into her next job maybe working with her lobbyist husband.

Now the fun really begins. The Republicans fired up their base by promising to create jobs, cut taxes, balance the budget, and repeal Obamacare all while failing to explain how they will do it. Making things even worse for the GOP, Democrats still control the Senate and the White House and they don’t have the numbers needed to override any veto that surely will happen.

So what does this mean?

My guess is the newly elected Tea Partiers will hit the ground running in the House only to find that politics as usual is still the norm making passing much of their agenda almost impossible. With little if anything accomplished 2 years from now we will be talking about fixing many of the same problems and voting in a whole new bunch of useless politicians promising that they have the cure for what ails us.

In South Dakota on the other hand, can our state Democratic party be any more worthless? Democrats are now outnumbered 29-6 in the Senate and 51-19 in the House. For the first time in decades they couldn’t even muster up a challenger to run against John Thune and we again were forced to sit through another Governor’s race that was over before it began. I consider myself a somewhat center right independent that was a registered Republican for much of my adult life but must admit that a majority of that magnitude in our government can’t be good. Just remember though, if you don’t like what is and has been going on in South Dakota, you can’t blame the Democrats as they barely have a heartbeat here.

We now have a state house restocked with homophobes, religious fundamentalists, and science deniers with just about nobody to balance the scales. Can we be far away from more abortion ban legislation, marriage definition amendments, or climate change is caused by astrology resolutions from the party that touts a “belief” in limited government intrusion on one hand while doing everything they can to intrude on the other?

We have only ourselves to blame…

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