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North Dakota Democrats took a statewide beating Tuesday, very much including in Grand Forks. Voters turned out thoughtful, respected incumbents such as Mac Schneider, Kylie Oversen and Connie Triplett, with Schneider and Oversen among those who serve in leadership posts. Two thoughts: First, sincere thanks to the candidates for their service—and congratulations, too, for their good fortune in serving as lawmakers in America.
A comment heard on National Public Radio early Tuesday evening stuck with us. "No matter who wins," the analyst said glumly, "the country will be worse off on Wednesday that it was on Monday." The reason, of course, is that the national divides are so deep and so stark. And they're showing up not only in the split between Red and Blue, but also in how Americans talk with each other and think about each other. Most important, neither presidential candidate has shown much inclination to bridge those gaps. Above all else, that's what must change.
A long tradition in newspaper editorials is to use Election Day to celebrate America's system of voting. But 2016 is a troubling year, because the widespread unhappiness with both major presidential candidates makes the system seem creakier and less reliable than in previous years. How about fixing it? Maybe it's time for reforms that could boost Americans' satisfaction with the system. And maybe Election Day is the perfect time to start thinking about them.
North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer doesn't need hearings to learn why Donald Trump has fared poorly in media accounts. A glance at the Herald's Sunday editorial page will tell him all he needs to know. On that day, the Herald recapped the endorsements of Forum Communications, the Herald's parent company. And in the category of "U.S. president," readers found the words, "No endorsement." There's your answer, Congressman. Donald Trump lost Forum Communications. And that's not something he or anyone else can blame on CNN.
Endorsements in state and national races represent the views of Forum Communications, the Herald's parent company. The Herald endorses in select local elections—including, this year, Grand Forks' vote on whether to increase the local sales tax by ¾ cent. Here are Forum Communications' endorsements for the 2016 election: National races U.S. president: No endorsement U.S. Senate, North Dakota: John Hoeven U.S. House—North Dakota: Kevin Cramer U.S. House—Minnesota, District 7: Collin Peterson
In a recent column, North Dakota author and speaker Clay Jenkinson described events at Standing Rock as "part Woodstock, part Lexington and Concord." The communal spirit of Woodstock fits the scene well. But here's the thing about Lexington and Concord: They had a villain—namely, King George III. The Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord and the entire Revolutionary War were waged by colonists against a monarchy. The English king and an unresponsive Parliament ruled, and the colonists had no real say.
On Facebook on Saturday, a reader responded this way to a Herald story about the conduct of two top Alerus Center officials: "Do you really think writing an article about someone's 'erratic' behavior in the workplace is appropriate?" Fair question. Here's the answer: Yes, it's appropriate. It's appropriate because the Alerus Center officials work for us—meaning the people of Grand Forks.
The outline of a compromise is emerging in the Dakota Access Pipeline debate. It's visible in Herald columnist Mike Jacobs' column on today's editorial page. Here's hoping the parties spot this outline, start to negotiate, and reach an agreement before more protesters and police officers get hurt. The bare bones of an agreement would be these: 1. This pipeline gets completed. 2. Federal, state and tribal governments change the process for approving the next pipeline (or bridge, highway or other infrastructure project) to make sure tribes don't feel the need to protest again.
They started as protesters. They prefer to be called protectors. But a better word is pretenders, because the claims being made by the people trying to block the Dakota Access Pipeline's construction are based more on pretense than in fact. That ruins the protesters' credibility, and makes it very unlikely that they'll gain majority support from the voters they need to convince. The activists near Cannon Ball, N.D., say they're peacefully protesting. But that's not the whole truth, at least not at the key moments over the past few weeks, including Thursday.
Funny thing about the First Amendment: It's a law. It's a law that the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters depend on, as they exercise their "right to peaceably assemble" and to express themselves, both of which the amendment guarantees. Funny thing about restrictions against trespass, riot and disorderly conduct: They're laws, too. And the protesters depend on these as well. Right now, the police are lined up facing the protesters, especially when the protesters trespass on construction sites.