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Democrats Address Discrimination, Republicans Change Subject

Sioux Falls-area House candidates Clara Hart, J.R. LaPlante, and Michael Saba held a press conference Thursday to criticize the Legislature for its discriminatory actions and to vow to defend equal treatment for South Dakota’s growing minority populations.

Democrats Saba, LaPlante, and Hart
Democrats Saba, LaPlante, and Hart

“Discrimination against anyone is discrimination against all of us,” Saba said Thursday.  “And if we have a Legislature that is starting to decide that we can discriminate against people that are different, whether it’s black or white or Indian or whether it’s because of their sexual orientation, that opens the door to discrimination against many other things. We can’t allow that trend to go on” [Dana Ferguson, “Dems Hope Frustration About ‘Discriminatory’ Bills Will Fuel Success,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.07.23].

I’m not sure why Dana Ferguson puts “discriminatory” in quotation marks. The 2016 Legislature’s paranoid potty bill, the fake religious freedom bill, the anti-refugee bill (sponsored by 27 Republicans, including incumbents that Hart, LaPlante, and I intend to replace)—all explicitly, objectively discriminatory.

Ferguson gets quotes from SDGOP chair Ryan Budmayr and Hart rival Rep. Herman Otten (Hart’s other Republican opponent, Isaac Latterell, got his fill of publicity for the week with his now famous Trump-not-mean-enough facepalm at the GOP convention and did not answer Ferguson’s call). Budmayr trivializes discriminationas a political distraction:

Ryan Budmayr
Ryan Budmayr

The South Dakota Republican Party is a big tent…. The Democrats are going to stay away from issues that have made South Dakota successful—low taxes, one of the best business business climates and limited government [Ryan Budmayr, in Ferguson, 2016.07.23].

Translation: Discrimination is no big deal, as long as the rich can get richer.

Rep. Otten goes off on a complete tangent:

Rep. Herman Otten
Rep. Herman Otten

We need to deal with illegal aliens that come into the country and it has nothing to do with discrimination…. It doesn’t matter what country they come from if they come here illegally [Rep. Herman Otten, in Ferguson, 2016.07.23].

Translation: I didn’t pay attention to the question or the bills being discussed, so I’m going to talk about an issue that wasn’t addressed by any of the discriminatory bills discussed by Hart, LaPlante, and Saba. I’m just going to rail against immigrants in general, because it’s not discrimination if we fear all immigrants.

Democrats offer intelligent discourse; Republicans offer fearful distraction.


  1. Steve Sibson 2016-07-25 07:59

    Democrats offer promotion of illegal activities; Republicans offer lies.

    The cronies that run the SDGOP want illegal immigrants because they provide cheap labor. Both party establishments are unofficially on the same page.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-25 08:06

    More translation, now of Sibby: Whatever Cory posts doesn’t matter; I want to preach my false equivalency and distract everyone from matters of public interest that voters will actually consider. Let’s talk about me, me, me instead!

    As I was saying, Hart, LaPlante, and Saba represent Democrats’ willingness to fight discrimination. Budmayr represents the Republican need to distract people from their party’s enmity toward equality. Otten represents general clueless Trumpishness. Would anyone care to comment on those specific distinctions?

  3. jerry 2016-07-25 09:04

    The Republicans have a huge tent that is only occupied by those that now think the way their leader thinks. Fear, hate, privilege and entitlement will only get you a corner of your huge tent. The rest of the tent is as empty as republican ideals. Hot air, is still hot air. Shrink the tent to where it needs to be, perhaps a small dome tent. You can then easily fill it with white folks and a couple of token minorities like chocolate chips in a truck load of vanilla.

  4. Richard Schriever 2016-07-25 09:28

    My take on Herman’s reply, is that those Democrats look like immigrants to me, so, I’m going there with my answer in general. In addition, they seem to be immigrants from different places (Is one from France?), so I can use that as a way to get out from under the discrimination charge. Very visually oriented answer.

  5. MC 2016-07-25 09:48

    Let me see if I have this right? It is wrong for one group of people to force their ideas, and will on to another group of people?

    Last time I checked we all have equal rights. Including business owners.

    That mean a business owner has the right to refuse to do business with any one for any reason, just as any one has the right to refuse to do business with that business for any reason.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-25 09:53

    No, MC, you don’t have it right. Americans are free to engage in commerce as they see fit. However, if business people offer “public accommodations,” they must accommodate the public without discrimination. A Catholic can’t open a restaurant and serve only Catholics, just as atheists can’t open a restaurant and kick out all believers. We’re not “forcing ideas” on anyone—I don’t cut an idea out of a restaurateur’s brain and transplant a different idea into her brain by forcing her to respect the civil rights of all customers, black, white, Indian, male, female, gay, straight, etc.

  7. MC 2016-07-25 10:37

    If a Christen innkeeper has a motel, and each room has a cross and a bible in it. does this offend the atheists non-believes? Now because his motel is open to anyone who can pay, does he now have to remodel to hide what he believes. Does he now have to no only hide what he believes in but now accommodate, all the other faiths?

    Being forced to do something that you don’t believe in means someone is forcing their Idea on to you.

    Obamacare attempted to force the idea of contraceptives on to Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby being a christen based company fought back and won. They are doing their business they way they seem fit. If you don’t like the way they do business no one has to work there and no one has to shop there.

  8. Richard Schriever 2016-07-25 11:40

    MC, the inn keeper can keep his rooms in any way he wants – so long as hey comply with health department rules, and he will rent to anyone without regard to race, religion etc. He does have a right to refuse to rent to people with dogs, pigs, and so on. He may refuse to rent to people he suspects of engaging in ILLEGAL activities. He may not allow smoking. Again, the focus is on public HEALTH.

    By being an inn-keeper, he obviously “believes in” participating in business/commerce, which the constitution permits government to regulate.

    The Hobby Lobby case revolved around the idea that the employer didn’t want to PAY FOR contraception, which they believed to be an abortive. Even though their beliefs were proven in court to be erroneous, they were allowed to opt out of PAYING FOR contraception for employees – but not out of OFFERING IT (paid for by someone else). They agreed to that COMPROMISE decision.

  9. Douglas Wiken 2016-07-25 11:44

    And many women have stopped shopping at Hobby Lobby.

  10. MC 2016-07-25 12:36

    And you know what Mr. Wiken? That is clearly their choice. I fully support their decision to shop or not shop where they choose. I support the government not telling to shop or not to shop there. Just as I support the government not telling businesses who they MUST hire, what products they MUST sell, What price they MUST sell them at and who the MUST sell them to.

  11. mike from iowa 2016-07-25 12:51

    Hobby Lobby is a perfect example of wingnuts demanding and wingnuts getting special rights from a biased Scotus,which is no longer in service because Scalia smothered himself.

    I have sincerely held religious beliefs. I believe I shouldn’t have to share America with wingnuts. Go away!

  12. Craig 2016-07-25 13:12

    MC: “That mean a business owner has the right to refuse to do business with any one for any reason…”

    Surely you see the problem if this were actually the case don’t you? Would it be ok with you if the only grocery store in a small town refused to do business with anyone who was black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American? Should the business owner have that right to refuse to sell them food?

    Should a business owner be able to refuse to sell their products to women? Should a business owner be able to refuse to do business with Lutherans? What about a business owner that refuses to do business with anyone who is heterosexual?

    Because that is exactly what you’re advocating for. Thankfully we have anti-discrimination laws so that if a business wishes to be open to the public than they must be open to all of the public for any protected class. That doesn’t mean they have to sell alcohol to minors, but it does mean they need to be willing to serve legal customers regardless of gender, race, color, religion, sexual preference, etc.

    Imagine a world where discrimination was perfectly legal… is that really in the best interests of society?

  13. David Hubbard 2016-07-25 20:15

    “The Democrats are going to stay away from issues that have made South Dakota successful”

    Like being 51st in teacher pay or being 47th as one of the most corrupt state governments in the US, those Republican successes?

  14. Herman 2016-07-25 23:12

    Seriously Richard,
    I had never saw that picture when the Argus called with some questions.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-26 08:19

    MC, there’s a key difference between the choices of customers and the choices of business owners. An individual shopper can buy or not buy from shopkeeper X for whatever reason, even bigoted reasons, without drawing the heavy hand of government, because the individual shopper is not offering public accommodation. The shopper violates no one’s civil rights by not setting foot in a grocery store because of her personal loathing of the store owner.

  16. MC 2016-07-26 20:51

    Craig, that is exactly what I am saying. But think about this for a minute. What business would willing turn away a paying customer?

    with today’s social justice system, I doubt the business would be in business much longer, most likely the owner would be in fear for his life.

    From I read here the barber and shop owner made more than reasonable accommodations, plus the fine. Was this sexist? The Man Salon in Sioux Falls will cut women’s hair. however the establishment is geared to men. just like some boutiques are geared to women.

    There are some craftsmen who may want to maintain some level of prestige. They may refused to sell to someone feeling their product may be misused or abused.

    In the end, it is the business owner who has put it all on the line to offer their wares and services, in hopes they will be compensated fairly. in the end, it is the consumer and the shop keeper who makes the deal. either one should be walk away for any reason.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-27 09:48

    MC, you still miss the point about disparate responsibilities. The business owner is not sanctified by “putting it all on the line.” That gutsy move doesn’t permit the business owner to discriminate against Indians or LGBT customers any more than it obligates me to buy her stuff. The business owner, in choosing to offer goods and services in the marketplace, has an obligation to meet certain requirements of public accommodation—i.e., not discriminating against any particular class. Only the customer, who does not offer public accommodation, can walk away from a deal “for any reason.”

  18. mike from iowa 2016-07-27 11:25

    What business would willing turn away a paying customer?

    Most any wingnut run store that has decided their religious values take precedence over governmental regulations.

    There are all sorts of right wing outfits eager to try to get religion into everyone’s lives.
    Thomas More Society is just one of many.

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