I wish Gov. Kristi Noem would change her mind.
You’ve heard the news already, I’m sure. Her campaign announced on July 15 that she won’t be participating in South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s gubernatorial debate.
Her campaign turned down the opportunity to share her vision for South Dakota, and to give South Dakotans a chance to watch her and the Democratic candidate for governor, Jamie Smith, discuss the issues that are important for our state’s future.
Her reason for turning down SDPB’s offer – that “NPR and SDPB (have) both drifted further and further to the left” is news to me. I’ve never detected a political slant in SDPB’s coverage of the South Dakota Legislature, for example. I think public broadcasting does a pretty good job of letting our local political leaders simply state their minds in a clear, objective manner.
SDPB’s Dakota Life series recently presented “Greetings From Redfield” and I got a kick out of that because that’s where we lived and worked for a few years before moving to Vermillion in the mid-1990s.
Public broadcasting’s recent documentary, “Surviving the '72 Flood” brought back all sorts of memories. My grandparents lived in Rapid City when the flood hit. Thankfully, they were out of town at the time and, thankfully, they didn’t lose their house except for everything in their basement, which filled with floodwater.
“Girls Got Game” is another great SDPB documentary that aired earlier this year that explores the impact that Title IX has had on bringing equity to girls and women in the world of sports here in South Dakota. I really enjoyed it and I bet you did, too, if you’re a regular viewer of SDPB’s programming.
Another reason that the governor gives for turning down SDPB’s offer is, according to her campaign’s press release: On July 4, 2022, NPR eliminated its annual tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence and replaced it with a discussion on “what equality means.”
Frankly, I didn’t know NPR traditionally read the Declaration of Independence. Did you? Personally, I don’t think NPR not reading it is that big of a deal because, well, we can ALL read the Declaration of Independence at any time. Plus, I’d watch a discussion on “what equality means.” Wouldn’t you?
I must share what I think is an important observation made by a politically astute and conservative college friend. I shared the Noem campaign’s announcement of her giving a big thumbs down to the SDPB debate invite.
He replied: “The logic here is amazing. Kristi says SDPB doesn’t have conservative points of view, so her remedy is to avoid a debate where she could bring that conservative point of view.”
And that’s how we all lose out when the governor fails to participate in a debate here in South Dakota. We’re the people who will be deciding who the next governor is in November. We, the people, benefit every time we have a chance to hear candidates speak and interact with us, when we hear them respond to tough questions, when we get to know them just a little bit better, when we get to hear their points of view.
While browsing the web, I found an article posted by the League of Women Voters entitled “4 Reasons You Should Watch A Candidate Debate.”
Here are the main points of the article:
1. Candidate debates help us get informed and learn more about the candidates.
2. Debates provide us with an opportunity for us to ask the hard questions.
3. Democracy works best when we engage with it.
4. The candidates that we vote into office will make important decisions that affect you, your family and your community. We all must weigh in.
Please, Gov. Noem. Accept SDPB’s invitation to debate. We want to hear from you.