George Orwell once wrote, “Political language, and with variations this is true of all parties………is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” This was written in the 1940s. Was he wrong or did he have the power of facing unpleasant facts? On the national level we have two Presidential candidates correctly calling each other crooks and liars. They both may be right although only one of them is obviously insane. In 2016, pessimists may become validated and optimists may become disappointed.
As disappointing and scary as the national scene is looking, let’s look at the local scene here in North Dakota. Jack Zaleski of the Fargo Forum wrote in May that the Forum had interviewed the at that time three North Dakota candidates for Governor. The way I read his column, the only one of the three candidates who gave the Forum straight answers was Democratic candidate, Marvin Nelson. Will straight answers turn into votes? Burgum’s base is Fargo. Nelson’s base is Rolla. Burgum spent several million dollars just to win the primary election. He appears to have virtually unlimited financial resources to finance his campaign. Nelson’s financial resources obviously won’t even be close to Burgum’s. Additionally, North Dakota with the exception of Senator Heidi Heitkamp is so red it could blush.
If Burgum is the overwhelming favorite to win, it would be nice to know what is his plan. He is in favor of term limits which the legislature will quickly kill. He wants to run the government like a business, but how many businesses would want the North Dakota legislature for its board of directors? He won’t draw a salary which would be merely symbolic and won’t have much of an effect on the bottom line of the budget. He will cut out waste in government. What waste? It would be good to have that defined before we vote. Does he favor a special session of the legislature to define government cuts or does he prefer mindless across the board cuts? Will he have a separate budget proposal for the 2017 legislature or merely parrot the present Governor’s budget? Will he suggest a special session of the legislature before the election so the voters know more about who they are voting for? Or will we vote and find out what our legislators stand for later? Will he give us a clear picture of his agenda for North Dakota or will we merely get more Madison Avenue fluff from his media consultants? Will the media try to pin Burgum down on the specific issues or just cash his checks and repeat his slogans? How much attention will they pay to Nelson if he isn’t spending much money on them? Why can’t we get straight answers? What harm could it do?