RYAN BAKKEN: Persuasive Kenmare kids earn some praise
The Kenmare, N.D., second-graders' influence-peddling machine has steamrolled another victim. Me. My Friday mail included a brown manila envelope (sounds creepy, huh?). Despite high anxiety, I opened it, finding propaganda about making the ladybu...
The Kenmare, N.D., second-graders' influence-peddling machine has steamrolled another victim.
My Friday mail included a brown manila envelope (sounds creepy, huh?). Despite high anxiety, I opened it, finding propaganda about making the ladybug the North Dakota State Insect.
Yes, it's those Kenmare second-graders.
Rather than send my reply in the mail, I'm opting to send it here, saving me 43 cents.
Dear Kenmare second-graders:
Early in the legislative session, you convinced the House, by an 88-6 margin, to name the ladybug the State Insect. Getting such a lopsided margin is quite an accomplishment. For instance, a group of Williston students couldn't even get a simple majority when they asked House members to ban smoking in vehicles if children younger than 13 were present.
So, our state leaders found ladybug proclamations more important than children's health. You definitely were more persuasive. Way to go.
Or maybe you are just cuter than the Williston kids. You sent me a photograph of a few of you and I can attest that you're darn cute. In fact, you're as cute as a bug.
But, obviously, each one of you is more than just another pretty face. You're smart, too.
That was obvious by the number of documents you sent. Among hundreds of factoids, I learned that the official name for the ladybug is the Hippodamia convergens, which is very hard to pronounce and spell for 59-year-olds, much less second-graders.
Your documentation even included endorsements from an entomologist at Virginia Commonwealth University and bug experts in our state. They all touted the outstanding qualifications of ladybugs, which are as useful as they are cuddly.
Icing on your pitch to me was artwork of a ladybug inside an unfolding flower, an artistic and engineering success.
The bonus art was very kind of you since I mocked your efforts in an earlier column. I noted the House approval with the sarcastic: "As the Saturday Night Live church lady might say, isn't that special?"
But, I stand corrected. You now have my endorsement when the Senate considers your ladybug initiative.
My change of heart is not just about your overwhelming evidence of the ladybug's worthiness over my State Insect favorite, the mosquito. It's about your strategy, too.
By the piece of chocolate candy in your envelope, it was clear that you are not lobbying amateurs. Most lobbyists try to ply support with gifts of booze and ladies with questionable moral standards. But you have done your research, learning that I'm more susceptible to chocolate than those other vices.
But, I'm also issuing a warning to state legislators. I'm telling them to be wary of you go-getters trying to replace North Dakota's state bird, the western meadowlark.
I'm suspicious that you might try to replace it with a snow goose. After all, your school nickname is the Honkers.
Your pal, Ryan.
P.S. For future reference, I prefer chocolates without nuts.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .