So, where do we go from here?

Whines & Roses



This column started out different. I had a whole column written to decry Wayne Stenehjem’s decision to involve our state in the doomed lawsuit with Texas to overturn the presidential election result.

I wrote in frustration of those expressing the idea North Dakota had nothing to lose by supporting the disenfranchisement of 20 million American voters.

I listed the many examples of violence aimed at public servants upholding the validity of election results in their jurisdictions.

I pointed out the failure of 58 suits by the Trump campaign, rejected by judges of all stripes, both elected and appointed.

And I ended with the statement: It’s over. Let’s move on lawfully.

There’s a few problems with that idea, however, not that I don’t believe it’s what we need to do.

I am filled this Sunday ahead of an Electoral College vote I assume will award 306 delegates to Joe Biden with the belief even that won’t be enough to convince millions of people Biden won, fair and square.

I thought about taking the tack of writing a column based on what might happen had the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Texas suit and uphold it, but musing on what chaos might ensue if they’d done so is even more scary than the reality we actually have.

But what really gave me pause to spend a second weekend afternoon writing, was a message from a conservative columnist: That people who believe the election was stolen are just as sincere and just as patriotic as the people who think they are wrong.

So where do we go from here?

How do we put this Humpty Dumpty of disparate beliefs back together again?

I may not have the answers, but I still think we all have to try, despite my worry more words won’t do any good.

Often when I sit down to write a column these days it feels absolutely pointless: Pointless to argue, pointless to share views so many of our readers reject, pointless to even involve myself in the conversation.

And yet, she persisted . . .

It doesn’t feel courageous to take unpopular positions. Most of the time, it feels dumb, like I am just asking for trouble. What keeps me writing is one standard: If I am not willing to tell the truth as I know it, I don’t know how I can expect anyone else to. People today are standing up for what they believe, but how much of it is fact?

And that brings me back to Wayne Stenehjem — someone I have met and visited with on a number of occasions over the years. Someone I have respected and liked, though not always agreed with.

While there are plenty of people who like what he did last week, there are plenty of people, like me, who were shocked by his decision to support the Texas suit. Several people either called me to commiserate, or like Gene Nygaard, wrote a letter to the editors of newspapers (see below, left.)

Because I do actually know Stenehjem and his lovely wife, Beth, a native of Divide County, I felt myself wanting to reach out personally to try to understand what he thought would be accomplished. I did not, in part because I felt it would be overstepping the thin acquaintance we share and also, because the public decision of taking that step must stand on its own.

Regardless of his intention, it’s in the history books now.

I think it’s highly likely just about anyone could have foreseen the failure of this lawsuit — and I also think it was foolhardy to believe another Supreme Court decision would put the election to rest. Because it hasn’t and it won’t.

Nor do I believe the Electoral College vote will bring closure.

Since rounding up everyone who voted for Biden and locking them up is impossible, there’s a very real chance violence and threats will escalate; fundraising off of these beliefs will continue; and our democracy will remain on the brink.

If you believe judges in 58 different venues are in cahoots — or you’re not even hearing about Trump appointees rejecting these suits — I don’t know how to meet you halfway. We aren’t swimming in the same information pool.

The election is over. Biden won, handily. The highest court in the land has dismissed the case. Fighting the outcome may rise out of patriotism, but it’s not based on any evidence 58 judges have accepted. Let’s move on lawfully, peacefully and respectfully.

Greet Steve

Crosby and Tioga friends are invited to pop in to a virtual retirement open house on Zoom Friday morning, in honor of Steve Andrist, former Journal Publishing president, who is retiring after eight years at the helm of the North Dakota Newspaper Association.

If you’d like to receive a Zoom invite, please email .

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.