Bender: If we want a Rushmore so bad, let's form MegaKota

Tony Bender
Tony Bender

Every legislative session there should be kiosks in the malls to sell Lisinopril, because Lord knows my blood pressure sure goes up. In North Dakota, any maniac can propose a bill. Well, not just any maniac off the street—elected maniacs.

Take, for instance, Senate Bill 2136, sponsored by Sen. Oley Larsen of Minot, that would force schools to offer Bible classes. Hey, I drive past church just as often as the next guy, but this sure sounds like one of those constitutional slippery slopes to me. The next thing you know, someone's going to demand we teach Zoroastrianism, and who's going to even be able to spell that? They'd have to start teaching spelling again! Holy Moly, Oley! Plus, all the kids will have to learn to measure in cubits. It will upend sports—how many cubits for a first down? What's the record for the 100 cubit dash? America hasn't even caught on to the metric system, yet, which is crazy, because when you pump gas by the liter, it's super cheap. Slippery slope, folks. You know how these things work—give 'em an inch and they'll take a kilometer.

Oley and I argue over social media, and judging from a recent post, he thinks public education is a Marxist plot. Anyway, there's no way a poor speller like Oley should have anything to do with education. In fact, I'd be willing to rest the fate of SB 2136 on whether or not he can stand up on the floor of the Senate and spell Zoroastrianism. Don't worry, we're safe. When it's time to go to the Pearly Gates, Oley will probably end up in Perham.

“Is this heaven?”

“No, it's Otter Tail County.”

The upside is, if the bill passes, surely there will be no need for an Ethics Commission.

Then there's Governor Burgum's plan to build a $200 million presidential library for Teddy Roosevelt in Medora, population 132. I think Zeeland is in the running, too. Meanwhile, New York is building a monument to prairie dogs in downtown Manhattan.

I've never really understood North Dakota's adoption of this seasonal visitor. It always seemed like a desperate bid for relevance. Like the homely girl who paid for everything on the first date just to make sure it would happen again. We're so lonely. Hold me. This may explain our relationship with Big Oil.

Teddy spent more time charging up San Juan Hill than he did here. If you skip North Dakota winters, you're not riding all that rough. I've known guys who've logged more consecutive hours at the end of a bar than Teddy did here, which is why ours is one of the drinkingest states in the country. We should build a library for Anheuser Busch. I bet he flew over North Dakota a few times. Better yet, let's build a library for someone who really knew the terrain. Sitting Bull, perhaps. Or at least let's name the next pipeline after him.

Burgum called the library, “North Dakota's Mount Rushmore.” How pathetic is that? I mean, we don't call Jamestown “North Dakota's Aberdeen,” do we? A little dignity, please. If we want Rushmore so bad, then maybe we really should combine the two states into “MegaKota.”

Even if we got Rushmore, we'd have to take South Dakota's politicians, too, and I'm not convinced that it would be a step up. Gov. Kristi Noem recently hired her daughter, Kennedy, an SDSU senior, as policy advisor. Okay, how much policy are we going to get from a 22-year-old? Will it be delivered by Snapchat? And then there's her name. Kennedy. Way too liberal for MegaKota. I'd rethink that hiring unless her other daughter is named Chappaquidick. Oley Larsen is looking better all the time.