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Nervous Nealies: Novstrup Campaigns on Fear, not Solutions

Last month, Senator Neal Tapio said every one of the 19 Senators who voted against his xenophobic Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 is “an enemy of the state.”

Today, my local paper joins Greg Belfrage and me in saying that fascist rhetoric is nuts:

Tapio upped the rhetoric in a news release issued Feb. 5 by his U.S. House campaign: “… anyone, any organization, business or political candidate who fails to support the resolution is by omission declaring themselves an apologist for radical Islam, an enemy of the state and de facto supporter of and accomplice to violent jihad on American soil.”

Let that sink in. By not supporting his resolution, Tapio calls fellow lawmakers enemies of the state and accomplices to jihad [editorial, “On Refugees, Lawmakers Lead by Fear,” Aberdeen AmericanNews, 2018.03.14].

The AAN editors recognize that Tapio’s colleague, Aberdeen’s own Senator Al Novstrup, follows the same Trumpist, fascist path in his unconstitutional call for racial profiling, which has been roundly criticized by multiple observers. The editors say legislators should ask questions about immigrants and refugee resettlement, but for the purpose of gaining useful policy knowledge, not scapegoating:

Neal Tapio and Al Novstrup, running on fear and hate.
Neal Tapio and Al Novstrup, running on fear.

…[W]e agree that South Dakota should ask a lot of questions about refugee resettlement.

But those questions aren’t about race or religion or treating people differently because they don’t look like the majority.

Questions we should ask might include: Do our cities have the capacity to bring in dozens or hundreds of refugees? Can our school systems support these families? Do we have jobs enough for these folks, and are they being trained? How about our police and sheriffs — do they have the right staffing, tools and outreach? How are we giving messages to folks just learning English? What options do we have to make people feel welcomed and part of the community?

These are questions Tapio and Novstrup do not seem to be asking.

Those are questions of curiosity and friendliness, not fear. And they are much more in keeping with the South Dakota we all know [editorial, AAN, 2018.03.14].

Keep that in mind: Novstrup and Tapio aren’t interested in providing schools, towns, and counties with the resources they need to welcome newcomers; Novstrup and Tapio want to stir fear and hatred, protect their own political positions, and bar the door to the wave of new immigrants we need to keep our local economies growing.

Real statesmen solve problems for the good of everyone in South Dakota. Fearful Novstrup and Tapio make problems worse.


  1. Bucko Bear 2018-03-14 15:59

    Great motivator, Fear. Republicans seem to rely on it as an argument.

  2. mike from iowa 2018-03-14 16:34

    We have nothing to fear, except wingnuts themselves. They are afraid of Muslim babies. You’d think they’d all jump onto mandatory abortions for all Muslim babies bandwagon.I’ll bet there are plenty minority kids wingnuts and the NRA don’t want to see armed.

    Spreading fear has been the wingnut party stock in trade since Raygun roamed the Earth back when.

  3. Jenny 2018-03-14 18:17

    Tapio is the product of a pastor’s son so I guess in a way you can’t blame his dysfunctional thinking. Extreme Christian upbringing can bring out the worst in people. The dysfunctional strictness of a Christianity up bringing has ruined many a people.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-15 06:22

    Funny—I have a Lutheran pastor’s daughter growing up in my house, and she’s not dysfunctional at all. ;-)

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-15 06:28

    A local squawker gripes on the AAN page that the editorial is, “Another hate article by a liberal Democrat”:

    Since the Dems control the media in this state they feel free to voice their bias and bigotry. Islam is not a race. I repeat Islam is not a race. Liberals only argument is always “race”. I think it is their favorite four letter word. Truth is, Islam teaches hate for anyone who does not “submit” to their beliefs. Oh, they love our milk and honey and only want our money. Why do you think they come here? Money and to proselytize [David Mehlhoff, comment under editorial, AAN, 2018.03.14].

    I suggest Mr. Mehlhoff review the statements Novstrup made in committee and crackerbarrel. Novstrup is the one who invoked race by talking about searching people who look Middle Eastern and not people who look Norwegian. Novstrup is the one who said, “…here’s what a terrorist looks like: they are of mixed racial background.”

  6. jerry 2018-03-15 17:44

    Muslims are no problem, Russians are. Remember that the next time you go to the bathroom to turn on the lights so you can read and they don’t come on. Thank a Russian for hacking the system and knocking down the grid. When Little Al and Tapioca pull their collective heads out of their fannies, they can they scare the bejabbers out of us with real facts about danger.

    What does Little Al have in mind for a fall back on when the Russians hack the electrical grid while we are in the operating room or on an elevator or banking?

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-16 04:49

    The Russians have waged war with the Muslims in the provinces and republics to their south for generations. Anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. strengthens Russia’s hand in Chechnya and elsewhere, as they know there is less chance that the United States would speak up or take serious diplomatic action against Russia for military action and human rights abuses against its Muslim populations.

    The Russians won’t hack our election system to harm Al and Neal. The Russians would hack our election system, electrical grid, and other systems just to create chaos and keep us from playing superpower.

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