Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Democracy versus theocracy

Last week (3/21/12) spring got underway without much fanfare – probably because the winter of 2012 was one of the nicest on record. Despite all this, many of us natives struggled with this odd northern malady that requires us to complain about the weather, and wouldn’t you know, the weather was pretty dang nice.

For those of you from outta town, the weather around here is either too hot, too cold, too windy, too dry, too wet, too cloudy, too sunny, so we locals become rather apoplectic when our weather reaches the “too nice” domain. Thus, we look for substitutes and we seem to have focused our complaining on abortion, gay marriage, and birth control… and I for one sure wish we’d go back to complaining about the weather.

Yep, since the weather’s gone by the wayside we’ve now turned to politics… and those of us who’ve spent most of our career in politics fully appreciate that politics is a full contact sport.

Today politics have gotten much nastier, and it seems to me we Americans are going to have to decide whether or not we are to continue being a democracy or slip closer to becoming a theocracy… like Iran and such. Folks who know me know that I do the best I can to be a Christian but I also fully believe that there are a myriad of ways to get to God not just the Christian way. Each of us has the right to choose our own path… our freewill is God’s gift to us… and our founders wrote that into our Constitution which gave each of us the right to choose our own path to God.

I am not an evangelical, just a kid raised on the northern prairie who’s wondering how the Republican Presidential candidates managed to make us think that not only are abortion, gay marriage and contraceptives the most important issues facing America but they seem to think they can legislate cures for all three of these issues, and that’s craziness. The reality is that we can’t do much about the weather, abortion, gay marriage, contraception or God’s plan… except maybe complain.

So it seems to me that the Republican presidential candidates have veered a tad from the real issues perplexing the American people. What about the wars, what about our right to privacy, what about the farm bill, what about the deficit, what about our 50 million uninsured neighbors, what about our environment, what about unemployment, what about highways, what about Iran, North Korea, our dependence on China, what about the most ignored continent in the world… Africa? What will prohibiting abortion, gay marriage, and contraception do for those problems? Methinks the Republican contenders have lost track of what they can really resolve. Trust me, in a true democracy laws will never resolve the aforementioned moral issues, but a theocracy could and it wouldn’t be pretty. There are many choices that each of us makes that are just between ourself and God…

Here’s hoping that whatever choices you make leave this place better off than you found it…