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Benjamin Franklin once said, “We have a republic, if you can keep it!” I contend that we have lost it.

What made it a republic was that we had a fixed set of laws and rights that we were to live by and govern by. We elected representatives to enact these laws. We were not a democracy. A democracy in its true form is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner!

We are no longer governed by the laws of our republic. We are now governed by boards, commissions, committees, lobbyists, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), political appointees and career bureaucrats, who hand down their rules and mandates along with fines and penalties as though they were the rules of our nation instead of servants of the people. The American concept of self-government, from the grassroots up, has been turned on its head. What we have now is government imposed from the top down!

An example of this occurred in November 2017. Gov. Doug Burgum swept into town with a grand vision for a new and different kind of Valley City. He sold the so-called leaders of Valley City on the idea of widening the sidewalks on a certain street in the middle of the city. He sold this idea with a promise of more than a million dollars of state money. Check out the word “bribe!” Now, he could propose this sort of thing in his budget and then this budget could be approved by the Legislature. But it wasn’t.

In October 2017, our Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, with the stroke on a pen, withdrew the rules of the Grain Inspection, Stockyards and Packers Act. GIPSA was put in place in 1921 to protect farmers and ranchers from unfair trade practices, the same reason North Dakota has a state bank and a state mill and elevator! It could be repealed or replaced by Congress, or by the Supreme Court, but not by the stroke of a pen by the appointed head of an agency! Where is due process?

That’s why I say our republic is dead.

Barry Borg, Valley City

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