Have you entered the storehouses of the snow...Job 38:22

Monday, January 10, 2011

Core Values

Just when I thought I was beginning to get South Dakota, just a little bit, I am reminded how much I don’t get it here.  It’s been snowing for a couple for a couple of days.  It’s also snowing in Nashville.  Now to people up here, I realize it sounds ridiculous that with just the forecast of snow, they closed many of the schools last night.  I understand that Atlanta is under a state of emergency this morning because they had 6 inches of snow. 

Its fine and dandy to say that the south has no plows and therefore needs more time to get the snow cleaned up.  That’s true.  They don’t have that many plows.  However, at least in TN they were out with the brine on the road and had the salt trucks ready to go. 

Remember that heavy dump of snow in the Northeast?  They got more in the last few days in Connecticut.  I used to love those major snows in Connecticut.  I even had a job where I made decisions about closings when I lived there.  Everything would stop for a few hours, maybe a day when the snow fell in Connecticut.  The big difference there was they had enough plows and actually used them expeditiously. 

I-90 the major east - west interstate through South Dakota
I-29 the major north-south interstate through South Dakota
I’m no stranger to snow.  Someone was shocked yesterday that I used pretty and snow in the same sentence.  I’ve used that language before, they just never heard it.  Why?  Because I just don’t get it here.  I don’t get why if they aren’t going to buy and use plows to actually clean the roads when it snows, why they don’t at least close things so people can stay safe.  They do neither.

In an attempt to understand South Dakota better I decided to listen to governor of South Dakota Dennis Duagaard’s inauguration speech.  It wasn’t a bad speech.  You can hear it here.  He kept it fairly short and to the point.  He talked about South Dakotans core values.  They were self-reliance, persistence, and frugality. 

Governor Duagaard did help me understand.  He talked about how the settlers who came to South Dakota were self-reliant.  He also said the natives before them were also self-reliant.  I think he was wrong.  I’m not native nor do I think I know that much about native culture.  However, I think community is important in native culture.  He went on to talk about not being dependent.  I guess that’s part of the reason why the state feels no responsibility to clear the roads in a timely fashion or close the schools.  It is up to you to be safe.  It is up to you to be able to afford a 4-wheel drive.  If you can’t afford one, and you die on the road, that’s your problem-self-reliance.  After all it was your fault if you do. 

Duagaard talked about helping someone who has fallen but if they don’t get up right away and work themselves, you should leave they lie there.  What about the old, what about children, what about people with emotional or physical disabilities?  Using the word MUST he proclaimed that South Dakota must be self-reliant.  Thank you very much Governor Duagaard, I prefer to rely on God.  Relying on myself usually gets me in trouble.  Quoting Calvin Coolidge he talked about persistence.  Then he moved on to frugality.  

Everyone chuckled as he told a story of someone who publically embarrassed some people from California saying welcome to South Dakota a state that pays its bills.  I am sure they felt a warm friendly welcome here.

No I don’t get it.  I guess I never will.  The Bible talks about caring for one another without reservation.  In all the encounters Jesus had with people in need, He never told one of them to work harder or get a job to solve their problems.  He just gave them what they needed.  Jesus fed hungry people without a means test.  

We are called as the people of God to be in community, to be one body.  We are called to sacrifice for each other just as Christ sacrificed for us.  Scripture principles call for interconnectedness and mutual dependence.  It calls for generosity, not frugality and withholding from those in need.  1 Corinthians 12 cautions us not to tell the weaker part of the body that we have no need for it.  In fact, we give it special treatment.

It is still snowing.  People will end up in ditches, some will die, others will slip and fall on the ice breaking bones.  I guess that they just weren't self-reliant enough.  I guess it’s better to save a penny then save a life. 

I know this blog will not endear me any further to some people.  I am sorry about that.  Really I am.  I would prefer you liked me.  But it’s just the way I see it.  My core values and South Dakota’s core values as declared by the Governor just don’t match.  My core values are caring about people without reservation and generosity.  What about you? What are your core values?  Snowy days are a good time to think about such things.

DISCLAIMER: Before I get in too much trouble with my blog, these views are MY OWN and do not reflect that of any other member of my family.


  1. It appears when the "good" Gov Duagaard mentioned "helping someone who has fallen but if they don’t get up right away and work themselves, you should let them lie there..." he was not considering the elderly, the handicapped, the wounded, or those who were laid off due to economic conditions at no fault of their own, etc. ... he did NOT consider the "Good Samaritans Law" (AN ACTUAL LAW!)

    "A good samaritan in legal terms refers to someone who renders aid in an emergency to an injured person on a voluntary basis. Usually, if a volunteer comes to the aid of an injured or ill person who is a stranger, the person giving the aid OWES the stranger a duty of being REASONABLY careful."

    Based on that law, it would seem REASONABLE to most that, as you mentioned, the state should "buy and use plows to actually clean the roads when it snows..." or ..."at least close things so people can stay safe."

    I'm with you on this one, sistah.



Please keep comments grace-filled and appropriate.