TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — I Know Where Jimmy Hoffa Is Buried

There has been a lot of idle talk about who killed Jimmy Hoffa and how they disposed of his body. Well, I’m not going there because I know nothing about it … but it was a great hook to get your attention.

My sermon of the day relates to an extent about politics, decency and civil rights … or, more precisely, the lack thereof.

I wanted to write this from a bunker, but the only one that seems to be still operating is under the sole control of Tony J Bender, the editor of the Wishek (N.D.) Star and Ashley (N.D.) Tribune and frequent contributor to the Unheralded.Fish blog — which also passes on my potshots from here in The Extra.

Tony is lobbing bombs at the lack of North Dakota leadership. His shelter must be really good because he’s still in there, safe and sound, even after landing some big ones right on target.

My wife (she’s the smart one in my family) had a great idea. She wants to see the political season be shortened and beefed up with mandatory voting education.

During primary races at every level, the candidates could specify their party affiliation, if any. The final ballot, however, would produce the mandatory voter education I referred to. That ballot should “not” disclose the candidates’ party affiliations. Only their names would appear.

That could result in two important outcomes …one good, one bad.

Good:  Each voter would have to be informed on the candidates’ qualifications and their positions on issues.

And bad: Some may not vote at all because they don’t want to study the issues as necessary to make a real, informed choice.

We all know friends or relatives who have fought to protect our liberties and allow us the freedom we enjoy. But the freedom to be uninformed is one freedom we honestly don’t need.

We have had so many great leaders at the federal, state and local levels. Unfortunately, though, we’ve also had far too many who fall into the “uninformed” category … running for office just because they can, not because they are qualified to do so.

I wish there were more politicians like John F. Kennedy whom we could look up to with respect. His book “Profiles in Courage” is a great read. Think about that in terms of the current national political climate, in which elected officials too often put the party before the people that elect them.

No one would vote for candidates knowing they weren’t going to go to work, knowing they were waiting for someone else to lead and knowing they fully intended to spend precious time in slash-and-dash of their opponents.

Civility in politics has sunk to a low I never in my life could have anticipated. In honest debate, candidates talk about their strengths, their vision and their goals for serving the public.

North Dakota candidates have kept the campaign honorable and clean, but the results are probably clear even before the election is held. In North Dakota, unlike Minnesota, the state is governed by one-party rule. It is so strong that some of the Republican candidates for state office won’t even bother to debate. Talk about buying your way into office! How about some specifics, some facts, something to give people hope that the future will indeed be brighter … without gloom and doom and character assassination?

What if we could find a way to mandate either that Election Day becomes a holiday or that all employees must be given paid time off to vote. The whole idea is to get out the vote. Holidays are usually paid full days; hence, a few hours off would be more economical.

On Standing Rock

I just read an article by North Dakota’s U.S. attorney in which he praises the glowing cooperation between law enforcement agencies at all levels in regard to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. That’s nice, and that’s true. But missing from his summary was any mention of the continued inaction of state and federal officials to meet with their Native American counterparts to see if compromise can be found.

Word has it that Ashley editor Tony Bender would allow our fearful state dignitaries to meet with the fearless Native American contingent right in his secret bunker.

If not there, where?

I can’t understand why the adults in the room can’t get together to talk about this impasse! Do state leaders consider it a sign of weakness to talk directly to the Indian nations without having the cavalry, all those armored vehicles and other machines of war to back them up?

Talk about a cop-out. Why not turn to discussion first, before launching these war games? Are our leaders so afraid of the Native Americans that they’d rather arm themselves to fight than peacefully negotiate? I know some will say, “Too bad —easy for you to say. You weren’t there.” But yeah, that’s the political cop-out.

Those peaceful folks at Standing Rock (not the very few lawbreakers who get so much attention) have shown so much courage and stamina. They’re setting up housing, schools, food supplies, water supplies and a whole lot of prayer to support their effort. There are two sides to this story, but Lord help us if state government ever actually was to get involved in negotiation or dialogue.

Hats off the the gutless national news media (with the exception of MSNBC) for placing a lid on coverage in North Dakota. Yes, I’m being sarcastic here. It’s so much easier, apparently  for them to cover a single killing than to draw attention on this attack on the Indian nations.

I’ve always known that Big Oil has deep pockets to buy government, but I didn’t know they had such influence on the media. Nor did I know that it’s apparently viewed as lawful to take away drinking water and limit access to cell communication at the housing sites.

Someone is going to get hurt or die at Standing Rock — not on purpose but because of lack of communication in medical emergencies. (Some say it will happen on purpose, but I do not think that for a moment.)

Last Thoughts

We live in dangerous times. It made me wonder about another scenario. I believe in a Creator. You can pray in your home or your religious place of worship, but taking your religious position and shoving it down someone else’s throat does not work.

I have a suggestion for the “Right to Life” folks and the local author who often proclaims their cause: Pray for life in your churches and other places of worship. Protest on the streets, before your city and county commissions and at your legislature.

But your endless protests at clinics get you nothing but adverse publicity. The way it’s been done does not speak well of your group. Peaceful protest is fine: Name-calling, shaming women and volunteer escorts is not.

Everyone values human life. But these are individual choices to be made by women. That’s been established time and again by the courts.

Perhaps if a few new laws were to be enacted that affect men, the male spokesmen might settle down. It is women who must bear and raise the children. What would happen if women passed laws to regulate the sex life of males? How about this? Commit unsafe sex, and you lose one testicle; do it again and lose both.

Now I know what I suggest isn’t likely to happen. But wouldn’t it be nice if the men let the women decide on their own health issues in? Amen.

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