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TexasLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-28-06 03:15 AM
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A view from an outsider re the abortion bill
I am just visiting the SD board. I have had a hard time believing that your state government could come up with something so draconian as the (nearly) zero exception abortion ban. So I did some looking into state statistics. I thought I would share some outsider observations about SD.

I live in the thriving metropolis of Houston, Texas. In this city alone there are well over 2 million people-- immigrants and descendants from every continent in the world, and representing every religion. Lots and lots of Hindus, gays, Jews, Chinese (world's biggest "China town" outside of China), African Americans, hispanics, etc... Non-hispanic caucasians are actually in the minority in Houston, believe it or not.

I looked up some census information on SD and found how totally different SD is. SD has around 700,000 inhabitants. That means Houston alone has 3 times as many inhabitants as the whole state of SD. Only 1% of SD's inhabitants who have a religion are non-Christian.

I also read that SD is experiencing rural flight/brain drain. Your state's population has not changed much since the 1920s. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of SD'ans, half armed with SD college degrees, have left the state. SD also has a statistically older population.

I think at least one factor in the abortion bill has got to be the mono-culture SD appears to have. There don't seem to be a lot of voices to drown out the older, white, fundamentalist Christian voices. When you have a population influx, as we do down here, you get the benefit of the world-view and the ideas of the people who have decided to move to your community. (I am sure that a few of the out-bound SD'ans have ended up in Houston, where we have a vibrant economy and many jobs.)

But when you have a population outflow, things go stale demographically, culturally and politically. People to a large extent think the same, act the same, have identical values, etc. The majority tends to feel that for those very few sore thumbs that stick out-- like, say, Godless whores and murderous abortionists-- that such folks can and should be sent to prison.

Which is sad, since that would just be self-reinforcing. The more oppressive and mono-culture my state is, the more I would want to leave it as soon as I could. I would not want to live in a place that imposed its religion on me, and that treated its most vulnerable citizens that way. When SD drives out the very people who are in disagreement with its practices, it becomes even more mono-culture.

Sorry this is so long, and I don't mean to overly diss SD which I've heard is very pretty. I hope that your governor does NOT sign that bill.

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sarahlee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-08-06 07:46 PM
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1. Hi Houston!
I was born in Pasadena and lived there for a little while and then in Houston for part of my life. Spent a few years in Leakey, out in the Hill Country and then was in Dallas as an adult working as a legal assistant for a bit over 20 years until moving to SD in 1992.

All of your observations about the state are correct except for on the reservations (where I live. A suburb of Houston has more folks than South Dakota. I love it because I could build a straw bale house on my own time and have room for a huge garden and not see another house when I looked out my window.

In 1987, a couple named Popper wrote a really interesting book called "Buffalo Commons" that I read in teh early '90s. It developed as the Mrs. Popper was working on a dissertation for her PhD in Geography and noticed that the plains were depopulating. She consulted her husband, who I think was an educator dealing with land use, to ask what one would do with masses of land in this situation. They did a lot of research and figured that the best use was to give it back to the Native Americans and the buffalo. Created quite a stir with ranchers from the Texas panhandle to up here.

I am not a Christian and live in a place where I love and participate in the traditional expression of spirituality - but it is a strange mix. If you look at the map of SD voting that some of the news agencies have had (I think CNN still has them from 2004) you will see some blue counties - those are the reservations. Some are lighter blue as most of the reservations are kind of checkerboarded with deeded land surrounded by trust land. That is thanks to the Dawes Act.

The blueest is the Pine Ridge reservation, which has fewer non-Indians living there. I live on the Rosebud, which has a pretty large Catholic population. When the US govt. decided to fullfill its treaty obligation to provide education to the people they put on these reservations by handing them over to churches, we drew the Catholics. We now have a regular county school system and the Catholic boarding school got taken over by the BIA and is no longer run by the church and no longer operates as a boarding school. But the Catholics don't want to give up the land they were given in exchange for providing education and programming those years ago, so they are still here and they still own the only radio station we have - which broadcast community news sandwhiched in between religious broadcasting. Pine Ridge is larger and managed to maintain more traditionalists that we have, but we do have them.

So the Governor signed the bill because they have an outsider willing to put up a million bucks to take the thing to the supreme court. I drove up to the Capital one day just to register my opposition in person before the Senate signed it. The land outside my door is still wonderful and I get to get an opposition view published in a paper now and then. And I will be here to help run young women in need across the border if it comes to that... well it already is that way since we have but one abortion clinic on the east side anyway.

I am urging on the boycott of economic interests in the state.

Choice is an issue I've been involved and working on for years - escorted women into clinics for years before leaving Dallas - had personal interactions with the asshole Randall Terry. But it is not my only issue. Living simply and as sustainably as possible is also key and may be even more immportant in the near future. So I am not going to leave right now anyway. Your interest and concern are appreciated.

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Broca Donating Member (524 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Another non SD opinion ventured
Good to see some discussion on this. Sarahlee, I was thinking about the boycott thing recently as I travel through SD once or twice a year and last year spent a couple of days at the Badlands National Park. I have a hybrid car that gets over 600 miles to the tank so I can drive through without even buying gas and am willing to partake in such a boycott. Should I send a letter to the SD Governor on my decision or perhaps they don't care about a few hundred dollars a year in gas and motel stays?

I can post the letters-to-the-editor email contact for a couple of Wisconsin papers if you want to urge this boycott. Your post above would make the core of a good letter.

Is the Rosebud the area north of Valentine, Nebraska?

On the land issue, the Catholic Church owns a lot of 5, 10, 20, 40 acre parcels of prime land here in Wisconsin as well. They don't have to pay property taxes so it is a free ride for them and the chances of them giving it up is zero even though they do benefit from the services taxpayers provide.
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