In today’s lesson in civil discourse, Libertarian blogger Ken Santema posts a photo of Joop Bollen talking with me in front of the Brown County Democrats’ booth at the Brown County Fair Thursday evening. Santema deems that picture the “oddest picture of the Brown County Fair.”
I have reported numerous facts and documents pertaining to Bollen’s management of South Dakota’s EB-5 program. I have criticized him very harshly and listed several criminal charges that I believe Attorney General Marty Jackley could file against the former state employee in addition to the five felony charges of fiscal monkeyshines that the AG has lodged against Bollen and to which Bollen has pled not guilty.
If anyone in Aberdeen has cause to get in my face and cuss me out, it’s Joop Bollen. Yet Santema accurately reports the conversation “lasted at least fifteen minutes and seemed quite civil.”
Compare that with the reception I received at the Aberdeen Ramkota several days ago at what numerous voters visiting our Democratic booth have referred to simply as “the meeting.” I stood at the anti-immigration hate-fest to correct a misportrayal of a local official as a racist by pointing out the plain demographic fact that with baby boomers aging out of the workforce and South Dakotans not making babies fast enough to replace them, local employers need to look to immigrants to fill jobs. I alleged no criminal activity and made no personal attack. Several Aberdonians who had never met me prior to “the meeting” interrupted me, messed with my camera, called me an expletive, threatened me (I’m trying to figure what “You’re going to be under cover, that’s where you’re gonna be” meant), and tried to expel me from the public meeting.
EB-5 czar Joop Bollen faces real criminal charges, a real threat to his livelihood and reputation, yet he is able to have a civil conversation with the South Dakota blogger and candidate who has written the most about EB-5 corruption. A few privileged white folks at “the meeting” hear one pinprick in their comfortable bubble of Fox News fantasy, and they start screaming. This is not a sentence I expected to write at the beginning of the month, but some Aberdonians could take a lesson from Joop Bollen in how to disagree civilly with their neighbors.
Of course, Bollen is a Dutch immigrant, and the Netherlands have lots of Muslims, so Bollen and I are probably in cahoots with the United Nations-controlled Lutheran Social Services conspiracy to destroy America. You betcha.