Friday, March 20, 2015

Dennis In Wonderland

    Come again, Governor Daugaard?  That was you, Governor Dennis Daugaard, who last
Why Is This Man Laughing?
Cuz He Gets To Change The Meaning Of Words?
(photo from theconstantcommoner.blogspot)
January told the Pierre Capital Journal that
  changing the minimum wage law that was put into place by a referendum last November "would be a little bit of an affront to the voters who just adopted it," wasn't it?  I mean, there's no other Governor Dennis Daugaard in the state is there?  Or is there?  I ask because a guy named Governor Dennis Daugaard just signed off on a legislative bill that did, indeed, change that very law, with no apparent concern about affronting the voters of this state. I suppose you could cue in the theme to "The Twilight Zone" here because we have one weird situation in place.  There's a Governor Daugaard going around telling folks that he's sensitive to the will of the voters, then there's that other Governor Daugaard who doesn't give a damn about what the voters want.  One of those Daugaards must be an imposter, because that second Governor Daugaard just changed the minimum wage law.  He reduced the minimum wage for workers 17 and under by a buck an hour, to $7.50.
     The text of the measure that was passed in November--Initiated Measure 18--was clear, straightforward and simple enough.  The wording was plain and direct:  it said "Every employer shall pay to each employee wages at a rate of eight dollars and fifty cents an hour."  The referendum was specific--it said "EVERY employer shall pay to EACH employee" the minimum wage established by the referendum.  It didn't say anything about age differentials. So what is it about the word "each" that Daugaard and those youth-bashers who passed this bill in the legislature don't understand?  When used as an adjective, "each" means "every one of two or more considered individually or one by one."  Get that?  "EVERY ONE
Lewis Carroll Gets It
Words?  Meanings? They Matter Not In South Dakota
(drawing from
OF TWO OR MORE."  It's an all-inclusive word that doesn't leave room for equivocation or interpretation. Unless, of course, one's cognitive impairment is caused by excessive kowtowing to special interests and lobbyists like the South Dakota Retailers Association, which seems obsessively committed to jerking around young people who want to work. Either that, or they subscribe to the Humpty-Dumpty theory of language:  "When I use a word,"  Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."  "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master--that's all."

     Enough said.  Lewis Carroll would be proud of Dennis Daugaard, whose Humpty-Dumptyish relationship to the words "affront" and "each" are pretty well-demonstrated.  It's a question of who's the master of the meaning.  Meanwhile the Governor opines about the shortage of workers in South Dakota and thinks he can do something about it by organizing show summits around the state that ignore the question of wages altogether.  There's a great story here.  Maybe we can call it "Dennis In Wonderland."


  1. YUP. Daugaard is now telling us we only voted for a minimum wage for older folks. Younger people don't count as everybody. Republicans value a fetus highly, but don't give a tinker's damn for children from 0 to 21.

  2. I agree with Douglas that the Pro Life people just care that the fetus is born and care not at all how it survives after birth but I don't paint with such a broad brush as to condemn all Republicans to that mindset. I do agree with John that The Governor seems to have difficulty remembering the words he has spoken and the pronouncements he has made. He seems to blow which ever way the wind blows and it can blow pretty hard and from a variety of directions here in South Dakota.

  3. According to the Republican Reps who crafted this bill- " the voters were completely ignorant and lacked full understanding of what "minimum wage increase" for every worker in S Dakota detailed"- so they are now correcting the ignorant voters big mistake at the ballot. The take away here is to remember that those Reps and the Gov who signed this bill just stated in full force- "the public vote does not matter and".

  4. I wonder how long it will be before the Governor announces he is canceling the next election so that he and all his friends can continue to stay in office forever! Why spend tax payer money to have elections and votes on issues, when those elected officials ignore the will of the people. Government by the people, of the people, for the people - Not in South Dakota! Robin A. Page, March 21, 2015.

  5. I think this can be used to bring about a more intelligent era in South Dakota politics. IF we all get off our duffs and do something about it. I'll be the first to volunteer to carry petitions for a referendum and to raise money to vote out the legislators who thumbed their noses at us. Anyone with me?

    1. rwb, Cory Heidelberger over at his blog Dakota Free Press has posted a tutorial on how to get going on this. (Sorry, you'll have to C&P, the comments section doesn't support links)