Tuesday, February 28, 2006
SOUTH DAKOTA AND THE OLD SOUTH
For those looking for newer and older ways to disenfranchise some mettlesome group or another look no further than South Dakota. You see they got these pesky Injuns there and heck they'd just as soon they didn't have a say in anything that might bother the local whites...as it were.
FYI: Races in Charles Mix County:
White Non-Hispanic (69.2%)
American Indian (29.5%)
Two or more races (1.4%)
(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, a well known commie mouthpiece if ever there was one dares call it racism.
A divisive proposal
Idea to split Charles Mix County, after court ruling on Indian voting, smacks of racism
Divide Charles Mix County? Because of racism?
There might be good reasons to look around our state and consider reconfiguring some of our counties - merging, taking a piece of one and adding it to another.
But racism isn't one of those good reasons.
That seems the basis, though, of petitions circulating that would divide our California-shaped county that borders Nebraska and the Missouri River.
The petitions call for taking 11 northern townships - with Platte and Geddes - and creating a new county, Hill County. The southern part - with Lake Andes, Wagner and Marty, headquarters of the Yankton Sioux Tribe - would remain as Charles Mix County.
"Basically, as far as I'm concerned (the petition) is coming out of a racist response," said Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center in Lake Andes.
It's difficult to view this in any other way.
The border of the new counties would coincide with where Charles Mix borders the Yankton Sioux Reservation. And the petitions come only a few months after U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol ruled that the three county commissioner districts are unconstitutional because there's too large a deviation in population.
In other words, the districts effectively keep Native Americans out of the political process.
Charles Mix Commissioner Keith Mushitz says a division has been discussed for 10 years. This simply is the first time a petition has been circulated, he said.
"We've got a diverse county," Mushitz said. "It's 105 miles from the northwest corner to the southeast corner. There's just different needs at different ends of the county."
Platte Mayor John Stekly agreed there are differences.
"Our weather here is different and our ideology is different, too, from one end of the county to the other."
But split the county? Stekly said that's a stretch.
Good. There only are about 10,000 people in all of Charles Mix County, and the last thing we need now in South Dakota is to create two tiny counties. We need to be looking at consolidating our resources, not dividing them.
And for racism? Perhaps the worst reason.
Charles Mix residents understand what this is all about, even if people behind the petition - who want to remain under the radar - aren't forthcoming publicly. They know it's racism, and that's why they won't be viewed as supporters.
"All kinds of people have said they would sign it, but no one will circulate it," Platte Enterprise newspaper editor Ralph Nachtigal said of the petition.
This is a foolish endeavor that would be damaging to the county as a whole - and especially its residents.
Wouldn't it be simpler just to work together?