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Jackie M. Stebbins, Bismarck, Published March 18 2013

Letter: Republicans create conditions for intolerance to raise ugly head

Recently, three Grand Forks Red River students wore KKK garb at a hockey game. Their actions gained local and national negative attention. The issue in North Dakota then turned to how we as communities respond to racist and intolerant acts and how our government should protect us from the same.

It is unclear why these students did what they did, but what is clear and sad is that the outfits those students wore stand for hate, violence and intolerance. What is sadder is that our very own Legislature has proven to be intolerant and discriminatory this session.

This state is governed by a Republican supermajority. Of the 142 legislators in this assembly, there are 23 House Democrats and 14 Senate Democrats. The Republicans are in complete control of the Legislature. The Republicans also control the executive branch, from the governor’s office to the auditor’s office. Unfortunately, the Republican supermajority has closed its ears and eyes to intolerance. Republican legislators are actually perpetuating intolerance with their votes this session.

A bill introduced to prevent discrimination against the LGBT community was first amended to discriminate against people based upon age, and ultimately voted down. A bill to provide milk to poor children at school was also voted down. Gender discrimination bills have also surfaced in the name of “protecting women.” Voter identification bills are being brought forward to discriminate against minorities and the elderly.

These examples prove that the Republican supermajority is acting with intolerance and indifference toward homosexuals, poor children, women, minorities and the elderly. How can communities expect that intolerance will not raise its ugly head when it is perpetuated by the state government? If you find yourself outraged by the actions of the Red River students, you should also find yourself outraged by the actions of the Republican Legislature.

Stebbins, Bismarck, is vice chairwoman, North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party.