Sandy, Sandy, Sandy

Some people are just not cut out for politics. Take me, for example. While I certainly have the ambitions and narcissism required to make a run for office, I know that even in the unlikely event of a win I would be a disaster. I wouldn’t be able to handle the lengthy meetings, the rigid rules, or the constant attention from clems begging for consideration of their pet projects. I shiver at the very thought of dealing with these people.
But that’s my own psychosis. For many people, it’s the simple fact that everything you do or say is going to be put under a microscope. Almost every politician, and almost every vote, is going to be opposed by at least 40% of the populace. Those that aren’t used to criticism are bound to have a tough time while in office.
This is why I actually feel bad for Sandy Jerstad. She’s an outstanding citizen who somehow decided that she could make a difference for the citizens of her state. Despite the odds, she defeated two icons, Hal Wick and Bill Earley, of our state’s majority party. I congratulate her for these two major upsets.
Yet in my eyes she has been a disaster as a state legislator. She’s the queen of “nanny” laws; unnecessary bills that do nothing but infringe on our personal rights. Twice she has attempted to create bans on underage tanning. She co-sponsored a bill that made it illegal for an adult to not have health insurance. She was an outspoken proponent on expanding the car seat law to include children up to 8 years old. This year, her big move is to redefine seat belt laws as a primary offense, thus giving police a potential excuse to pull anybody over.
Her reasoning for these types of bills? “Sometimes we just don’t do what we should do unless there’s a law against it,” she recently told the Mitchell Republic. That kind of rhetoric doesn’t play well in this state, and thankfully most of these types of bills haven’t made it very far.
These inane bills are not the cause or today’s rant, though. My main complaint began a few months ago when her personal crusade against a certain adult toy store in Tea led her to a screamfest inside the store. When she denied an exchange took place, security camera footage proved her to be a liar. Honestly, it was my favorite news story of the year.
Things haven’t improved for her this year. After a legislative gathering at a Pierre bar, Jerstad was seen backing into another vehicle and leaving the scene without notifying the police. After pleading “no contest” last week, Jerstad somehow became the victim. Life in Pierre has “absolutely been hellish”, she told the Argus. “I’m a big target - partly I believe because of my gender…I'm all about doing the right thing, and that's why this was so devastating."
Um, no. Your gender has nothing to do with the various controversies that surround you. I would laugh at anybody who would cause a scene in a vibrator store. I would criticize anybody who believes that teen use of tanning beds is a major problem in this state. On the other hand, I’d probably feel a little less angry at somebody who admitted they made a mistake by not reporting a minor fender bender. Instead, the attitude is that it’s those mean men who don’t like powerful women that are plotting against your every move.
Sandy, it’s time. Thank you for attempting to serve the fine people of our jurisdiction, but you just don’t have thick enough skin for South Dakota politics.


Anonymous said…
I can't think of anything in this commentary that I disagree with. You get an A+ for your essay. Which leaves us with our long standing problem. Who are we going to recruit for public office? We need some candidates that speak the same language as prudent citizens. If you're not running for office - then who?

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