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Rick Weiland: The Ghost of Jim Crow

by Greg Belfrage

Rick Weiland is blasting Republicans over legislation that was debated last week in the state legislature. Weiland is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

I realize Weiland's views are in line with South Dakota Democrats, but I fail to see how any of his campaign positions are going to win support from Republicans in a general election. I just don't understand why he thinks running as a liberal in South Dakota is a path to state-wide victory.

Here's the text of Weiland's latest fundraising email:

I had a strange experience while campaigning in Pierre last Friday.  I ran into the ghost of Jim Crow roaming the halls of our South Dakota State legislature.

He was just as ugly, just as mean, and offensive to the idea of America, as he was when Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, and four innocent little Alabama girls met him in the 1960's, or when hundreds of Oglala Sioux were massacred by his identical twin at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890.

Some things you can walk on by. Others you cannot.

Here is the exact language of SB 128, a bill introduced by Republicans in my state's legislature.

'Section 2... The Legislature finds that any federal recognition of any specific sexual orientation as a protected class does not apply in South Dakota... No person or entity may bring suit against a business for refusing to serve a person or couple based on sexual orientation.' 

And here is what I said to a joint Caucus of my party at our State Capitol just after learning of this latter day Jim Crow legislation.

"As a candidate for Federal office I normally would not weigh in on a bill in front of our State Legislature, but SB 128 is so offensive, so extreme, so potentially damaging to our state, and to every person in it, that it must be opposed."

If you are gay or lesbian, and you walk into a business run by someone who objects to your sexual orientation, you will be refused service if this bill is enacted.

Substitute the words 'gender' or 'race' for the words, 'sexual orientation,' and a bill otherwise identical to this one would legalize discrimination against African Americans, Native Americans and women.

Incredibly, at least two of my five Republican opponents for South Dakota's United States Senate seat support this terrible legislation, and the other three, as of this writing, have made no comment about it despite my specific public request that they do so.

If you agree with me that this extremist agenda has absolutely no place in the United States Senate, then please, if you possibly can, lend me your support today.

Thank you. 

Greg Belfrage is heard mornings 6am-9am on KELO Newstalk 1320 AM / 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com. Please follow him on Twitter.