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Guest Column: Hansen Threatens Petition Circulators with Fascism

Bob Newland, addressing South Dakota Libertarian Party Convention, 2019.06.15.
Bob Newland, addressing South Dakota Libertarian Party Convention, 2019.06.15.

I’m alarmed by Representative Jon Hansen’s plan to deploy theocratic thugs to harass South Dakotans petitioning for the right to abortion. So is guest columnist Bob Newland:

I’ve been through Dell Rapids a few times. I’ve bought gas there. I’ve browsed a store or two. The folks I met seemed like most other South Dakotans; friendly, amiable, helpful. But something is wrong. The people of Dell Rapids elected and re-elected a fascist named Jon Hansen to the SoDak legislature.

We have a problem retaining educated young folks in SoDak. There is a disproportionate population of homeless folks in our largest city. We are looking for funds to expand prison cells, while being unwilling to pay prison guards a livable wage. Our governor recently hurt her back, probably from wrestling with the truth. She can’t even seem to tolerate life in this state for more than a few days at a time.

Amongst all that, and more, Jon Hansen is worried that, if a ballot question that asks whether women should be allowed to have a measure of control over their own bodies achieves ballot status, SoDakians will say “Yes.” Therefore, he suggests that people who agree with him should stalk circulators of the petition to place that question on the ballot and intimidate them, along with anyone who is trying to converse with them.

There is no other word to describe this form of advocacy than fascism. It, in its mildest form, is reminiscent of Brownshirtism in Germany in 1933. There is no doubt that, if his followers adhere to his suggestion (and there’s no doubt they will), violence will erupt. At that point, it will start to closely resemble daily life in Berlin in 1934.

An elected representative of the People of South Dakota is so worried that women will be allowed the same freedoms as are men that he thinks they should not even be allowed to voice their opinion on the matter.

Rep. Jon Hansen
Rep. Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids)

In any bucket of deplorables, Jon Hansen might be found eating droppings near the bottom.

I quote him, from a newsletter his group, “Life Defense Fund” distributed recently: “Beginning this November, we must stand next to their petition circulators, explain to the public how radical this amendment is, and encourage our fellow citizens not to sign the petition.”

Those who accept his invitation to be that sort of creep are also the exact sort of ante-diluvians who have no sense of social boundaries. Citizens will object. Knuckle draggers will erupt with knuckles. Blood will flow.

Jon Hansen has a number of choices. He can proceed with his Brownshirt plan. He could initiate his own petition drive to promote female submission to male Christian rule. He could try to figure out a way to maintain infrastructure without subjecting SoDakians to the same socialist programs from which he obtains financial support. He could mind his own business (oh, wait, his business IS pushing you around). He could perform a socially-unacceptable act on me.

But he’s such a nice-looking boy. How could he be a fascist?


  1. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-16 05:51

    Hey, Bob, perhaps we should respond in kind to Hansen’s plan. We should encourage conscientious voters to follow Hansen around, stand next to him wherever he goes, explain to the public how radical he is, and encourage our fellow citizens not to swallow his fascist horsehockey. We should follow him around in the halls of the Capitol, when he’s not on the House floor or at the big desk in committee, and make sure we add our corrections to his statements to any lobbyists or constituents or reporters during Session. I’m sure Hansen would appreciate our providing on-the-spot counterpoint to his advocacy everywhere he goes.

  2. Bob Newland 2022-09-16 07:24

    I’m all for it in principle. Golly gee, though, what a distasteful chore! Not to mention the expense to one’s pocketbook and soul.

  3. M 2022-09-16 08:07

    This is not only undemocratic but it’s unamerican.
    My goodness, weren’t we the state that started the process of citizens initiating laws through petition drives?
    Isn’t Hansen making a threat?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-16 08:13

    Indeed, Bob, the principle sounds good, but we face the practical challenge of actually hanging around Jon Hansen all day long. Maybe we should wear hazmat suits.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-09-16 08:14

    M, yes, Hansen is making a threat, but like all smart bullies, he’s carefully stating his threat in language that we cannot prosecute under any statute.

  6. grudznick 2022-09-16 08:40

    Mr. H’s superficial attraction to Mr. Hansen aside, this Hansen fellow is one of the most dangerous in the legislatures because he will probably take the reigns of insanerism from Mr. Gosch and sit on the wooden throne of pomposity, and because he is smarter than Mr. Gosch by a long measure.

  7. Donald Pay 2022-09-16 09:26

    What we found in the 1980s was that harassment of the petitioners backfired. Chem-Nuclear’s intimidation tactics occurred after the petitions were filed, so Hansen is going a lot farther in his fascism than they did. Still, Chem-Nuclear’s tactics lost them supporters.

    South Dakotans are pretty used to the initiative petitioning process. It’s part of South Dakota history. It’s the culture and custom of South Dakota. Whether you agree or disagree with any particular measure, you understand that’s the way South Dakotans settle big political disagreements. If Hansen and his group of Brownshirts don’t like it, they can move to a state where there is no initiative process.

    The sight of people with clipboards is a part of the normal South Dakota political landscape. People are used to it. It’s different with the unshaven dreck (judging by Hansen’s visage) walking around with megaphones and bloody placards. Those kinds of people are not following the normal South Dakota way.

  8. All Mammal 2022-09-16 14:27

    Is JonJon the same guy scared out of his mind about the upcoming replacement of he and his snow boys? I know it sounds awful, but they all sort of look alike…

  9. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-09-17 10:10

    Well. Jon is a fine-lookin’ little pinhead, ain’t he? I didn’t think there were anymore Sears Portrait Studios.

  10. leslie 2022-09-19 00:47

    Watching SPOTLIGHT, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, released November 2015, about the 2002 Boston Catholic Church leadership that kept pedophilia against victim-parishioners in the dark. The institution allowed it and I criticized parishioners at large for not standing up to make the church accountable.

    Here I had an indirect exchange w/ famous young lawyer Pat Duffy (dec. May 2015). I expressed outrage when this topic came up here somehow. Pat told me I could not mean what I said and felt.

    This happened in our churches, and it is happening now in the Republican Party. Individual Republicans must take a stand against fascism Trump has spawned.

  11. ABC 2022-09-20 07:39

    Not related. Hey here’s how the Texass and Florida can avoid migrant stress—

    They can stop whining and deed their border counties to Massachusetts and NY and other responsible Blue states that follow Federal law.

    Crybaby Santis is just dumping them and letting Massachusetts and US taxpayers take care of the people.

    What a spineless whimp.

    Speaking of Spine, maybe No(em). (Opposite of poem). Can stop bitching about Biden and appreciate that Unle Sam is letting talented foreigners into the US to make sure her spine is Ok.

    Her choices. 1. Resign. 2. Rest hervspine.

    Or 1. Rest her spine. 2. Resign on November 1 or sooner.

  12. larry kurtz 2023-05-14 15:34

    About a week ago Mr. Newland asked his Faceberg friends whether that platform is still relevant. I’m stuck with it because it’s where our internet coop gives updates and outages.

    Cory’s blog really does a great job attracting smart, diverse viewpoints with pretty decent decorum.

    Thanks for what you do, Professor Heidelberger.

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