Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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I withdrew as a District 3 candidate for the South Dakota House last week.
As is usual with political announcements in South Dakota, the Ministry of Truth has taken over the announcements concerning the District 3 slate and applied its malicious creativity. It never misses a chance to malign and slander. It's too bad the party sponsoring the Ministry of Truth is not as successful at building the state as it is tearing down personalities.
When petititions were due in April, I made clear that I had some family circumstances that took priority and might intrude on my ability to give a campaign the time and energy it needed. I have been out-of-state attending to family illnesses about half the time during the 2006. I have a contract to do some work as a member of the editorial board for the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, and that work got seriously behind schedule.
Later this spring, other members in my family developed health issues related to aging. As I am retired and have a flexible work schedule, I am the one depended on to attend to family matters for those who have jobs that require their presence. The deadlines for my editorial obligations, which have been extended for me, coincide with the November election. In order to meet those obligations, I simply would not have the opportunity to conduct the kind of campaign that needs to be waged in District 3. I will have to be working at the editorial research and writing full-time for the rest of the year.
The article in the Aberdeen American News does not accurately portray the circumstances behind the shift of the Democratic ballot in District 3. However, in South Dakota politics, facts do not much matter. I will not be more specific about the matters besetting my family because it does not deserve or need to be exposed to the malignancy that possesses South Dakota politics.
My first-priority issue as a candidate was open government. South Dakota ranks absolute last in the U.S. in open government and access by its citizens because of its inadequate and repressive laws and the consequent government-by-subterfuge. I regret that I may miss an opportunity to try to introduce appropriate legislation to open up government commensurate with the standards in other states. A state government that operates by private treaties and secret plans cannot represent the people. It represents the interests only of an inside clique. I have no delusions that any legislation that would implement democracy by the people for the people will ever make it out of committee as long as Republicans are the majority party. Still, it would put the facts of repressive and devious government on the table.
There are other ways to approach the problems of South Dakota government, and as opportunity permits, I hope to pursue those approaches. But I will always put service to my family above politics.