Weekend before last, John Thune’s fatuous weekend column noted Native American Day. His latest column recognizes the opening of pheasant season as “South Dakota’s Unofficial October Holiday.” His approach to these two holidays shows our senior Senator’s priorities.
Thune’s Native American Day column shows no personal connection to the holiday or the culture it celebrates. His pheasant hunting column is chock full of personal observations:
For me, hunting has always been more about the experience than the number of birds I bring home. Sure, limiting out on ringnecks is great, but it’s the memories I’m able to create along the way that matter the most. As long as I’m walking the fields with friends and family, an empty hunting vest never bothers me. I’m blessed that I’m still able to enjoy hunts with my siblings and my dad who is 97 years young. My sons-in-law have also taken up pheasant hunting, which is exciting for me to be able to pass this tradition on to the next generation [Senator John Thune, weekend column, 2017.10.12].
Thune’s Native American Day column reads like a combination grade-school Thanksgiving lesson and Chamber of Commerce flyer talking up Native American groceries like Tanka Bars and Lakota Popcorn (“These are just a few examples of how tribal traditions are living on today”). He can’t even think of policies he might advocate in his policymaking position to promote Native interests.
But if we’re promoting pheasants and hunting, Thune is ready to talk policy:
For a lot of hunters, when they hear CRP mentioned, they think of pheasants. The popular and well-respected conservation program provides incentives for landowners to set aside portions of their property that can serve as nesting and brood-rearing areas for pheasants. This year’s low pheasant population and low commodity prices are great reasons to increase the number of available CRP acres. This is why I’ve introduced legislation that would boost the CRP acreage cap to 30 million acres in the next Farm Bill, which represents a 25 percent increase. I’ve introduced additional bills in Congress that would authorize a shorter-term (three-five years) conserving use program that would complement CRP, and expand the sodsaver initiative nationwide, which is something I first authored in the 2008 and 2014 farm bills [Thune, 2017.10.12].
Thune’s consecutive “holiday” columns show the Senator is more tuned in to the interests of his gun-toting companions than of Native South Dakotans.