Have you ever heard the phrase, "We've never done it that way before?" It's known as the seven last words of the church. Should it also be applied to North Dakota politics in the 2012 election year?
I was very encouraged to see that one of our candidates for Congress is not afraid to challenge the status quo of our election process.
Kevin Cramer is a personal friend of mine. I can't call him a political friend, because our friendship has nothing to do with politics. We talk together, we go to movies together, we have meals together, and we do a lot of laughing together. Kevin to me is a friend first, and an honest man who is running for an important national office second.
I was proud of my friend for announcing that he was going to take his candidacy directly to the people of North Dakota, bypassing the traditional method of going through the Republican nominating process.
Because of my position as a pastor, I have always stayed away from the political scene. I never wanted to have people not listen to me when I talk about Jesus because of my political persuasion. But make no mistake about it, I do vote and I do make the effort to stay well informed of the important issues facing our state and our nation.
It has always seemed less than democratic to me to have to pay a registration fee to be able to attend a nominating convention of either party to choose who can be nominated to run for a particular office. When you add to that registration fee the travel expenses including gas, food, motel, etc., it can take a sizeable chunk of money out of our pockets. It just feels a little wrong to me.
If I was contributing my money to any candidate in this process, I would want the people of the entire state to decide who they wanted for office, not the small minority of the people attending a party's nominating convention.
Bravo, Kevin, for challenging an outdated system in North Dakota politics. I hope both state parties can do away with this "pay to nominate" system.
(The Rev. Larry G. Jahnke is the founding pastor of New Song Church of Bismarck.)