It will take several shovel-loads to dispose of the waste dropped on Aberdeen last night by anti-immigrant Sharia law paranoia-stoker Ron Branstner. I overdignify his rage-peddling with my digging. Understanding this no-win situation, I offer my first scoop, establishing that Branstner opened with a lie.
Branstner opened his literally shadowy presentation with the declaration that “Everything I say tonight is factual” and that the entire press “can’t dispute any of this evidence.” Toward the end of his program, he had read aloud two of my own texts, one a blog post from February 24, 2015, the other a District 3 Senate campaign Facebook page post from July 21, 2016.
Branstner said that my February 2015 blog post on Aberdeen’s efforts to recruit immigrants to fill its workforce needs showed that Aberdeen Development Corporation CEO Mike Bockorny is a racist. Far from factual, that is character assassination relying on Branstner’s word games and willful failure to understand the demographic realities behind South Dakota’s workforce shortage.
Branstner implied that my use of the word integrating in that blog post instead of assimilating shows I’m collaborating with President Barack Obama’s New Americans Task Force. That’s not factual; that’s asinine.
Branstner then turned to my July 2016 comment about my commitment as District 3’s next Senator to voting rights:
Voter ID laws are one example of how Republicans try to make it harder to vote. We should make it easier, not harder, for all Americans to exercise their right to vote. Luckily, South Dakota allows voters to skip the ID and sign an affidavit to vote. In the Legislature, I will protect that option and your right to vote [Cory Allen Heideberger, campaign Facebook post, 2016.07.21].
From that exact text, Ron Branstner said, in front of a hundred-some of my fellow Aberdonians that I am urging people to violate the law.
That’s not factual; that’s darn near slander. Skipping the ID and signing an affidavit to vote is allowed by South Dakota Codified Law 12-18-6.2.
Ron Branstner claimed everything he said last night was factual. The three statements I identify above that he made last night are not factual.
But when Donald Trump can turn his chronic lying into a political coup, why not tour the Midwest to elicit donations with your flim-flammery? The people putting money in a basket for your expenses don’t care if you lie once or a hundred times—they just need someone to say it’s o.k. to fear and it’s o.k. to hate.
But it’s not o.k. to call lies facts.