A Ghoulish Display Of Political Theater At The State Capitol


DUI policy will be a hot topic in this legislative session thanks to the Fargo-centric media sensationalizing a few tragic DUI crashes. As I’ve written before, the DUI problem in North Dakota a) isn’t nearly as bad as some would have you believe and b) certainly isn’t being solved by “get tough” enforcement policies.

But things like data and rational analysis don’t often matter in politics. Perception and emotion matter more, which is no doubt why the car in which a West Fargo family was killed by a drunk driver is parked at the state capitol today.

My good friend Scott Hennen took a picture:


“What a disgusting exploitation of tragedy,” one friend wrote me from the capitol today. I agree.

Consider this the North Dakota version of President Obama surrounding himself with children at the White House today to announce tougher gun control laws.

This sort of political theater should be condemned no matter how worth or unworthy the policy it is in pursuit of may be.

This stunt – and I think that’s probably too kind a word for it – isn’t an appeal to calm, reasoned, cool-headed debate. It is intended to incite passion, and knee-jerk legislation. The perpetrators should be ashamed of themselves. We shouldn’t make policy based on anecdotes, however tragic they may be.