Conservatism is growing strong in North Dakota, and across the nation. Some of us thought that conservatism had gone to sleep, maybe even entered a life threatening coma since the days of Reagan. Now we have Tea Parties flourishing across the country and more good conservative candidates for public offices than we almost can handle. Good rigorous competition is good for the republic, no questions about that. We should be solid upbeat and excited about the future folks!
What does concern me deeply, though, in the current age of instant media and blogging is the seemingly constant false rhetoric, accusation and insinuations so easily thrown at the folks who are in the public policy arena. It is easy to attack, to criticize someone in the public square, but much harder to actually promote solid policy and vision. So much is being attacked without proof, and so much assumed without research just because “someone said it”. There are great opportunities for us to be involved in public policy, yet many chose to only complain about the status quo without actually being willing to join the hard work it takes to make a difference. Now, before anyone jumps all over this, I am not targeting anyone in particular, but a growing culture of negativity I fear does us all harm. I have become concerned that we are not willing do the research, but rather prefer the easy way of Fox News, CNN or blog talking points without sufficient thought or facts to back it up. We tend to take hook line and sinker the one liners about people’s character as solid fact, whether true or not. This seems to occur more within conservative ranks, and it should not! Disagreement on policy or candidates is good and healthy, but false accusations and cheap shots are not.
In recent discussion of North Dakota Republican candidates and their vying for nominations this coming weekend in Bismarck, there have been many allegations that have baffled me. One allegation is that Governor Dalrymple is pro-abortion. Really? I checked his voting record from his days as a North Dakota Legislator and they appeared to be solid on all life bills, actually 100% so. As Governor, Dalrymple signed into law a vitally important pro-life bill authored by Representative Bette Grande, a law that has now been targeted by the national pro-abortion industry for a legal challenge. Said law is sadly currently on hold (cannot be implemented) awaiting trial in Cass County. So it can hardly be said that this current Governor is not pro-life if one looks at the facts.
It is time, especially here in North Dakota, that we discuss policy and issues from a stand point of integrity and truth, not election rhetoric. The issue of sanctity of Life is so serious that I no longer think rhetoric or insinuations are enough, and frankly not even pledges assure me nor should they be “a determining factor in who we vote for” as some say. I want to see solid proof of a candidate being prolife, as in a voting record or active involvement on a grass root level if candidate has not been in public office. It is easy to say one is pro-life, quite another to put ones’ name on the record. So, as far as evidence shows, Governor Dalrymple has a solid record on sanctity of life issues and will continue to defend sanctity of life as a governor.
Another candidate under some unfair fire from conservatives seems to be Congressman Rick Berg. Why? Because we do not agree on all votes he has made as a freshman in Congress? Again, good discussion on policy is healthy, however, overlooking how he has voted solid conservative on numerous House bills, as well as taken leadership by co-sponsoring bills on issues like our First Amendment protections of freedom of conscience, or state/parental rights bills like CIANA shows a lack of maturity among his critics. Have we so readily forgotten who sat in that U.S. House seat just a short two years ago and voted in favor of Obamacare? Do we take into consideration the actual makeup of the current Congress, where Senate Majority Leader Reid (D) shuts down all attempts by conservatives in the House to pass any common sense fiscal restraint? The leadership and courage that Congressman Berg showed by forcing a vote on a balanced budget amendment, knowing well it would not fly in the Senate and the criticism he would receive at home from those who cannot seem to have long term vision assures me of leadership qualities I can trust. So often being a leader means making tough choices based on long term reform. I trust, again by his record on issues vital to me, that Berg embodies this.
How about the false accusations last year that Representative Bette Grande is not pro Military Veterans? Really? The one who cannot seem to stop weeping as she visits the war memorials on the Washington Mall ( I have seen it) and whose passion and determination wisely Chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee in Bismarck in order to do her utmost on behalf of those who deserve our honor and support? Bogus attempts again by some who are not willing to do a fact check. Representative Grande, now vying for the nomination for US House seat, is one of a few leaders who have stood the test of time, always choosing principle and truth over popularity, sometimes even standing under fire from her own party. A proven and sound record on social, fiscal/energy or national defense policy is what we need, not rhetoric or promises!
(A small personal side note; do we want to prove that the allegations of the liberal progressives, lead in North Dakota by Gulleson and Heitkamp, of a republican “war on women” is utterly false? Heck, I say we dare elect a qualified candidate with a solid record, and who happens to be a woman, to represent North Dakota in Congress.)
Shall we really only support that “perfect” candidate that will always agree with us on all issues? Wow, if we did, we will assuredly not fine one, and if we think we did, we would all frankly look like a bunch of soldiers walking the lock step march of tyranny. Anyone married out there? Well, if you are, you know what I am talking about, as I certainly do not agree with my beloved on all things, but that is part of what makes it such a beautiful gift. If you must agree on all things, you will never be able to stay married, much less vote for a candidate of ANY sorts, as they will surely disappoint you. We must look for the proof in the pudding, or fruit, if you will. Do we want the political philosophy of Heitkamp, Gulleson or Taylor/Chaffee to take the power of their convictions to Washington DC or Bismarck, supporting the radical Obama agenda and his stinky fruit of socialism and infanticide? Or do we want to sit at the table and discuss our deepest convictions with conservative policy makers who will listen albeit not always agree with all we have to say, but who will oppose, not join President Obama in a mad march towards Marxism and the downfall of the America we all love? At the end of this great process of voting for nominees, in freedom, will we stand strong together, or will we fail due to having fallen prey to personal baseless accusations, instead of promoting good discussion on conservative policy and the principles history assures us will work to restore our nation.
We must live above rhetoric and false accusations within our own party and the ambulance chasing that is occurring way too much in this current season of vying for political support. Let us all think clearly, and look for the evidence and record of those running for public office. If their fruit is good, and not full of deceit and foul smell, then let each one of us vote and support the candidate we see best fits our deepest convictions of conservatism without letting the progressive liberals watch us stab each other in the back and thereby hand them a victory in November. The times are to serious and the cost to great to engage in playground politics.
Janne Myrdal is a SAB reader and an active conservative voice in North Dakota politics.