It deeply saddens me that U.S. House candidate Kelly Armstrong and Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert have decided to embrace divisiveness and racism as political strategy for the upcoming election. In Armstrong’s current televised political ad, both Armstrong and Heinert can be seen speaking about the need to support our law officers, while showing images of Native American “out of state protesters.”
While I would certainly agree that our law enforcement officers need our support, I would argue that our state has more pressing issues than those presented in the ad (including being near the top of a national list for hate crimes per capita). The ad seemingly only seeks to capitalize on the current ugly and divisive political climate in our country. There are no statistics, no mention of any actual real crimes that are occurring in our state, only statements and images intended to further divide the citizens of our state. Armstrong may as well be saying, “I deserve your vote because I am against Native Americans and the sheriff here agrees.” Both men should be ashamed of the message and tactics being used in the ad, especially Heinert, whose job dictates that he be seen as impartial and fair to all citizens of the county he serves.
The voters of North Dakota should reject such low political tactics and demand that the officials running for office in our state do so based on actual issues and not just on ideologies that further the divides between people. Our state needs leaders who will help to create a positive future for all citizens and not just keep us in a continuous cycle of reliving the unfortunate past.
Ron BlackCloud, Fort Yates