In an article this evening, "North Dakota Democrats criticized for donating money to man accused of vandalizing senator's office," the news did what so many justly accuse it of doing—it avoided talking about real issues in any serious manner.
As correctly stated by Kylie Oversen, chair of North Dakota's Democratic Nonpartisan League Party, every person in our country has a constitutionally guaranteed right to a vigorous defense against any criminal action by the government. Yet, in what appears to be a not-so-pleasant reality, the so-called Republicans of North Dakota are criticizing Oversen for donating to a fund to support the defense of an individual accused of a crime. Where are our Republican friends who (perhaps in my imagination) used to envision a government restrained by law, and that protected the civil liberties of the scorned and oppressed?
Likely, they are not with Drew Wrigley—an oppressive prosecutor who has overtaken the bounds of federal law to try to incarcerate individuals for traditionally local crimes; nor our oddly silent attorney general, who seems to prefer randomly signing off on to briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court about matters that he has apparently neither especially studied, nor is willing to be committed about. What happened to North Dakota's conservatives who used to care about the right of citizens to be free from oppressive state surveillance? The right to require the police to have a warrant before kicking someone's door down?
And, lest you think I'm being hysterical, let me be personal for a minute about these issues. When I was a humble graduate student at the University of North Dakota, I wrote a letter to our then Gov. John Hoeven about arts and literature in the state. I worked a long time on that letter, and I thought I would at least get a form letter from one of his staff in response. Instead I got silence. Now that feeble politician is one of two federal senators for North Dakota. Where is the GoFundMe page for dethroning such ineffectuality? And, in a nod to our proud and rugged prairie independence, where is the proper outrage in North Dakota that used to respond to such political incompetence?
Michael Lopez lives in Fargo's District 44.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.