Lloyd Omdahl: Hate up, love down; time to sell
If you have anything like a "personal relationships" portfolio, it's time to dump the "love stock" and "buy hate." Hate is on the way up. The FBI announced recently that reported hate crimes were up 17 percent last year. However many hates are not reported because it is difficult to know when hate becomes a crime. I am sure hate has driven many married couples to think of homicide but only a few try it, even though the hate is there.
We have always had somebody to hate — the Irish, African-Americans, Native-Americans, Chinese and Southern Europeans. Now that we have Muslims, we can vent our overfilled spleens against new people who don't look or talk like us. With Leviticus and Deuteronomy in our Bible, we shouldn't be spreading rumors about "Sharia Law." Stoning hurts, too.
If your spleen in overflowing, I would suggest getting into politics, where you can hate with impunity. It's the first rule of the game and you won't be noticed. Otherwise, the Christian thing is getting a splenectomy.
Democracy isn't doing well either: While looking over your investments, you might consider reducing your stock in democracy. It's losing. The folks who brag loudest about defending democracy are now passing legislation to curtail it. Too many of the wrong people are voting so we need laws to discourage them. Even North Dakota has been in the game. If you want facts, ask the nearest Native-American if you can find his street address.
Only 56 percent of the American electorate voted for president in 2016, edged out of the 25th spot by Estonia. When we compare actual voters with figures of U.S. Census, we find that more people are claiming that they voted than showed up at the polls. So more than presidents are lying.
Getting out the voters: While we are on the subject of elections, I would like to ask for justification for hauling people to the polls. Of course, we should be ashamed of a miserable 56 percent in a presidential election but we must also face the consequences of dragging reluctant citizens kicking and screaming to the polls.
Who are these people who resist participating in the world's greatest and oldest democracy? They are people who have not studied the issues or the candidates. In other words, they are the ignorant voters about whom we express great skepticism.
Now some of these under informed voters are helped by party identification, otherwise they wouldn't be getting this free ride. But that doesn't always work. One election year, Democrats in Devils Lake complained because they hauled more people to the polls than voted for their candidates.
Religion is declining in D.C.: We can find little comfort in the religion news coming out of Washington. According to the Washington Post, Sacred Spaces Conservancy found that in the 10-year period 2008-2018, Capitol Hill lost 40 percent of the buildings used for religious services. This certainly suggests a decline of some kind.
The four biggest worship groups in Washington are Republicans, Democrats, Baptists and probably Episcopalians. A couple of decades ago, Evangelicals who hoped to convert politicians to a real faith flooded Washington but they found it impossible to find politicians who would commit to anything.
The president is threatening to shut down Washington to get his fence. If we shut down Washington for a couple of months, maybe the people of faith would come back.
All news is not bad: North Dakota is in the center of the North American continent, where there are no disastrous hurricanes, floods or fires. Wonderful! And we will be the last to go under when the polar ice caps melt.
Lloyd Omdahl is a former lieutenant governor and professor at UND. His column appears weekly in the Herald.