Well, the Republican-dominated North Dakota Legislature ended the special session last week, and Gov. Doug Burgum has already signed the anti-critical race theory legislation, aka, the “Heaven Forbid the Truth Gets Out Bill,” cementing North Dakota's reputation for tilting at wind towers. No one's actually teaching CRT, though, mostly because they don't know what it is. Maybe next time they'll outlaw the Boogeyman and Bigfoot and other things we can't see but know are there.
Theoretically, CRT's a way of analyzing history (as it relates to the present) through the lens of racism. However, it's not like Blacks are statistically stopped, searched and imprisoned more often than whites, or that there's workplace discrimination, health care and housing inequities, and vast wealth disparities.
According to data from The Fed, the median wealth of Black families in 2016 was less than $18,000. For white families, $171,000. So, uh, close. Blacks with a college degree still had about 30% less wealth than their white counterparts without a degree. Probably just the luck of the draw and not systemic. Black Americans have just had a few rough centuries, that's all. It's bound to turn around if we just ignore and deny it. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
Also passed was a bill hamstringing local entities when it comes to vaccine mandates because as much as Republicans hold sacred local control, what they apparently mean by that is “we want to control the locals.” It was portrayed as a pro-worker bill. That's a hoot in an anti-union “right to work” state, which is Newspeak for the “right to get canned without cause.”
Anyone who's filed a worker's comp claim with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Department knows you could stagger in spurting blood with a bolt sticking out of your skull and they'll declare it piercing and deny the claim. However, our state will defend your inalienable right to spread diseases. Including Ebola, I presume.
North Dakota's also joined a lawsuit to challenge a federal vaccine mandate for health care workers. At first blush, that might sound logical to so-called “experts,” but hey, we've got Ivermectin. This ought to go well for a state that's become the Afghanistan of ligation — a place where lawsuits go to die. Remember the failed suit to kill the Affordable Care Act that would've left thousands of North Dakotans without coverage? Clear evidence that our Republican majority's looking out for working families.
If you need more proof, there's the $350 state income tax cut enacted in the special session as part of the majority's “peeing in the wind” strategy. That'll keep 'em voting GOP. Wow, 350 whole dollars! Everyone in the car, we're going to Denny's!
But getting back to the culture war posturing over the pandemic ... for all the caterwauling about the “tyrannical” federal mandate on large businesses requiring employee vaccinations, consider this once your blood pressure's down and you've ceased hyperventilating: what if businesses actually needed a healthy workforce to function? If that were a thing, and I'm not saying it is, don't you suppose employers would appreciate the fact that this mandate provides them cover? That they're content to let Biden play bad cop? Purely speculative on my part. I can't be sure. Common sense may not even be legal in North Dakota, anymore.
This column is hereby adjourned.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.