They say writing is all about starting and finishing strong, so when South Dakota’s state representative Betty Olson (R) penned an article on the local news from Rapid City, she knew she had to end with a flourish: a racist, insane, anti-Obama flourish.
Olson wrote an article for the local Rapid City Journal letting readers know about the small town news around her community. She began by noting how the “weather [had] really cooled off” and warned local green thumbs to watch out for the morning frost nipping at the tomatoes.
It all seemed so innocent. Her nearly 1000-word column mostly hovered on the mundane with long passages devoted to reminiscent musings like this one:
The Labor Day parade in Eagle Butte was Monday morning so I got up early and drove over there to participate.
I was a little early so I got to have a long visit with Al Aberle and we solved a lot of the world’s problems.
Al knows a lot of people from this area and was interested in the fact that Father Dan Juelfs and Father Kerry Prendiville grew up just north of our ranch.
I also got to help Charles Wallowing Bull and his daughters, Raven and Cheyenne, decorate their float for the parade. They’re from Madison and participate in a lot of pow wows and parades. The week before they attended the pow wow at Rosebud.
I don’t know who Al Aberle is (but big thank you for solving the world’s problems, Al!), however I assume many of Olson’s readers in South Dakota do. It’s the kind of slice-of-life puff piece that would be fun to read over a cup of steaming coffee on the chilly morning the day after the Labor Day parade–like something out of a Rockwell painting. Then suddenly, it all goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Utilizing no segue, Olson moves from the high school football team’s win over their rival straight into this:
A second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, was beheaded by ISIS this week. The terrorist group has taken over most of Iraq and formed an Islamic State.
Suddenly, the feel-good small town story takes a dark turn into the intractable problems regarding international politics. Where is Al Aberle when you need him?
Olson calls for the country to start getting serious about ISIS and Islamic terrorism, saying that it is “high time that a strategy is formed to defeat them.”
To defeat them, the United States may have to step on a few toes in the Middle East, but Olson isn’t concerned if we alienate those people.
This morning ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood warned the United States that if the United States continued meddling in Iraq, Libya, and other potential hot spots in the Middle East, they intend to cut off America’s supply of 7-11 and Motel 6 managers.
If this action does not yield sufficient results, cab drivers will be next, followed by Dell, AT&T and AOL customer service reps.
Finally, if all else fails, they have threatened not to send us any more presidents either.
It’s gonna get ugly, people.
After all, if you reduce them to stereotypes, what have Arab Americans given us besides convenience stores, taxi drivers, and – even worse–Obummer?
It’s going to get ugly, people, and Olson isn’t talking about frost on the tomatoes.
According to the 2010 census data, a full 80 percent of Rapid City is white, another 12 percent is Native American, and the other eight percent is split between various other ethnicities. It’s entirely possible, tucked away in the northern sweeps of the Midwest, that Olson has never actually met an Arab American.
That lack of diversity probably makes it a lot easier to mock them or pretend that they’re contribution to America is less than hers. It may also explain why Olson seems to be confusing disparaging stereotypes about Arab Americans and Indian Americans. She can’t even be bothered to learn the correct prejudices she wants to use.
And that is how you go from the weather to Obama is a Kenyan, Muslim, socialist, atheist, chai-tea lover in under 1,000 words.