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We’re Our Own Biggest Problem

Editorial | February 12th, 2023

By John Strand

jas@hpr1.com

Our Opinion: Who on Earth would ever want to move to North Dakota?

Let’s talk about the left hand and the right hand. Or, more correctly, let’s focus on the right hand, being as there is no left in ND to speak of, or that matters, or with any influence.

North Dakota’s right hand, the Grand Old Party that runs everything and without any counterbalance or outside voice, seems to do their level best to push our state even further back into social dark ages. And it’s intentional.

While our Legislature makes headlines about how assbackward our leaders appear to be and the nasty, heavy-handed proposed legislation that would do little more than successfully embarrass us collectively, our state executive branch is espousing the huge need to grow our workforce.

Let’s connect some of these dots.

ND has well over 40,000 job openings, good-paying jobs in many instances, career path jobs. Our governor’s office has announced initiatives to address workforce shortage issues, investing tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Fine. And dandy, we’d even say.

But then our legislative branch chimes in. We won’t even bother to list the dozens of bills which do little more than embarrass our good people and do more to do harm than can be calculated.

The narrative quite frankly is who on Earth would ever want to move to North Dakota? We don’t want these people, we don’t want those people, we don’t in fact want anyone who’s not old, white and bald.

A secondary yet no less concerning narrative is, why would some of the rest of you ever want to stay in ND? We’re talking to you: our young strivers and the future of our state.

Workforce development is a biggie here. Recruiting and retaining workers is more challenging than ever. While ND has gone through brain drain before – do you recall the Buffalo Commons? – we would be wise to not contribute to national narratives that make us look like hicksville in the eyes of others looking for new life paths.

Who would want to come here? Well, perhaps those unwoke millions still looking for a place where they can shine, where their bias and hatred, their contempt for fellow humans, are worn on their lapels.

Heck, let’s send open invitations to those Q-anoners, white nationalists, gun-toting, gay-hating and trans-trampling people looking for a place they can fit right in and call home: Guns. God. Get Rid of Gays.

And, God forbid that we support women in any capacity. It’s truly unfortunate there is such an absence of C-Suite women executives, female governance and diplomacy here in God’s Country.

It’s unfortunate that there seems to be no high road, no higher ground, no place where leaders in good conscience and for the right reasons simply state: you have work to do, focus on that and not on your petty, ignorant viewpoints that do little more than show your lack of moral fabric and heart.

With single party rule we get a single party perspective. And what we’ve got is unfortunately not always good. We can all agree we live in a state with great potential. We’re just our own biggest problem.

The governor’s office, we remind you, is one of three branches of state government. We implore the governor to get out his veto pen and carry us with him to higher ground. There is no downside to showing heart, to being caring and loving, to helping all flourish and prosper.

Every piece of legislation, even if it has 90 percent support of this narrow-minded GOP legislature, deserves a veto if it does harm, does not help us with workforce development, if it infringes on personal or collective liberties or freedoms.

VETO those bills and for the right reasons, Governor Burgum. Stand up courageously for those who don’t have a voice, who don’t have a seat at the table, for those targeted and marginalized by our legislative messaging and policy initiatives that preclude the good we could choose to do instead.

The right hand has cut off the left hand despite its shared collective body. How unfortunate and short-sighted.

Meanwhile, good luck filling those 40,000 jobs.

Because like attracts like, loving, accepting, good people will be less likely to want to make North Dakota their new home. Instead, we’ll get more of what we sow: persons lacking heart and empathy. A bitter harvest, assuredly.

How sad and utterly unlegendary.

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