FARGO — Let us plumb Stygian political waters for bad ideas.
My mother was a widow at age 40. She became the sole provider for my sister and me when my father died of alcoholism and smoking-aggravated heart disease. He'd had a heart attack at age 39, and several more before he died weeks short of his 41st birthday. It was a tough time. He was a hard man when he drank. A "functional alcoholic," he was violently abusive and frightfully mean. When sober, he was charming, witty and a good dad. In retrospect and introspect and in conversations with my sister and mom, we confessed his death was a relief for us.
FARGO — Don't ever doubt Americans' love for the automobile. My April 22 column about my mother's 1963 Chevrolet Impala brought a profusion of rejoinders: stories about vintage cars, restorations, nostalgia for that first car, and opinions on the quality of contemporary autos vs. classics. Here's a sample: An acquaintance from my Devils Lake, N.D., days wrote: "Great article, Jack. The fifties and sixties were my favorite years. I rebuilt several cars in the fifties era ... and enjoyed all of them.
NEAR MEDORA, N.D. — The North Dakota Badlands looked bleak and colorless. Winter was reluctantly letting go, but spring had not yet asserted herself. Ancient junipers and the occasional stand of ponderosa pine had not yet brightened with warmer weather, instead were hunkered down against the chilly wind, their branches dark with the muted green/black of winter. Gray thickets of twisted and broken ash trees in the bottoms showed no new leaf buds, even as snowmelt from mottled drifts on the north and east slopes of the canyons burbled in the deepest draws.
FARGO — I overheard a conversation at a Fargo coffee shop. Two oldies (like me) watched a vintage 1957 Chevrolet pull into a snowy parking slot outside the window. Beautiful machine. They gazed in awe as the car glowed in the winter sunlight. I silently joined their admiration for the marvelously restored classic. "Don't make 'em like that, anymore," said one. "They don't," said the other. "Great car. Takes me back." "Yup, don't make 'em like that, anymore," the first historian repeated. And that's a good thing.
GRAND FORKS — Observations in the wake of the North Dakota Republican Party endorsement convention in Grand Forks: Secretary of State Al Jaeger's defeat for the endorsement by Mandan businessman Will Gardner was a blot on the party. At the convention, Gardner ramped up his campaign of misrepresentations and untruths about Jaeger's office. For example, he quoted one of Jaeger's "employees" as saying technology needed upgrading. But she's not worked for Jaeger for three years, during which time tech upgrades were funded and implemented — to be operational this summer.
Interested in good government, North Dakota style? Curious about how political bent distorts definitions of good government? Concerned that governance has been corrupted by hyper-partisanship and big money? Think "good government" is an oxymoron?
FARGO — North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger always expects a re-election challenge. The Democratic-NPL party endorses a hapless candidate. Jaeger wins, usually in a landslide.
Attacks on media are old news. They go back to Thomas Jefferson, who was arguably the most passionate freedom of the press champion among the Founders. Yet, even Jefferson criticized newspapers when they were used against him by his enemies. History is replete with examples. Abraham Lincoln was savaged by both Southern and Northern newspapers before and during the Civil War. He had little good to say about journalists. When CBS's Walter Cronkite turned against the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson famously said he'd lost middle America. He had.
Republicans who believe they have souls need to do some serious soul-searching after the political earthquake that jolted ruby-red Alabama last Tuesday. For the first time in 25 years, a Democrat, Doug Jones, won a U.S. Senate seat over a Republican candidate, disgraced judge and accused pedophile, Roy Moore. The repercussions for the Republican Party and the party's leader, Donald Trump, cannot be minimized. It was a slap in the chops heard across the nation. Jones is not just any southern Democrat. He's pro-choice in a pro-life Republican state.