Gov. Dalrymple’s Op/Ed on DAPL Offers Finger Pointing Instead of Leadership

Recently retired North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple
Recently retired North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple

I read with sadness retiring North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s Op/Ed piece in the Star Tribune “Dakota Access pipeline: Mob rule triumphed over law and common sense.”

In the piece, Dalrymple reduces the story to one of North Dakota as victim to environmental agitators and outsiders “that have never before shown much interest in our state.” That is a convenient political frame, as it reduces pipeline opponents to “other” or “enemy.”

Despite Dalrymple’s assertions, this is not a story about outside environmental agitators indifferent to North Dakota. This is a story of a people who have faced a long history of suffering, broken promises, and injustices and are facing them again. This is a story of national concern about the Dakota Access Pipeline that involves everyone from religious leaders to Wall Street.

And that’s a story Dalrymple apparently doesn’t want to discuss.

What is needed now is not a fictional story blaming outsiders for all the problems. What is needed now is leadership to bring about dialogue, understanding, and healing.

That is a role I wish Dalrymple had chosen to play.

Let’s take a look at his analysis. It has a very familiar ring.

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