I have a rule – it’s not always hard and fast, but it’s a rule. No one is allowed to make fun of South Dakota unless they are from there or have lived there for an extended time. Honestly, it’s an easy state to make fun of, but if you haven’t been there except on vacation, there’s a good chance you’ll simply reinforce the idea that South Dakota is merely backwards and full of hicks, rather than actually being funny. Boasting a population barely large enough to qualify for a representative, South Dakota is best known for a giant shrine to Presidents Past, and even then, most people aren’t aware which Dakota it’s in. But those from the state know our homeland well and love it. Just as a parent is only allowed to make fun of their own child, South Dakotans are fiercely proud (and sometimes fiercely cynical) of their little state.
South Dakotan liberals are a unique, small group of people who also have a fierce state pride, though it is frequently tempered by disappointment in an ongoing conservative government. There is a sense of dread any time South Dakota ends up on the national scene, because it’s usually for some horrific miscarriage of justice performed by our government.
We know it doesn’t help our image outside the state when the only national stories are that we have a three day waiting period for abortion; that we tried to propose a law that would make it legal to kill abortion providers; and that we have tried to ban abortion wholesale not once but twice (and almost succeeded, both times). This is who our government has proclaimed us to be – indeed, members of the South Dakotan Republican party have openly stated that they want South Dakota to be the state that gets Roe v. Wade overturned.
[Read the rest over at Flyover Feminism, a new project in collaboration with Jessica Luther, Melissa McEwan, and Garland Grey.]