I’m disappointed. You should be too. This isn’t about partisan politics. No, this is about being a decent human being. It is about running an organization that understands sympathy. About upholding the true values of North Dakota and the people that call it home. Today, the North Dakota Republican Party, a blogger, and a news organization failed to uphold those values. I think an apology is owed.
In North Dakota, we put to rest our differences in moments of family sorrow. We join our neighbors in their reflection and celebration of life. We empathize with those saying goodbye knowing that at any given time it will be ourselves in that moment. Simply stated, we support one another.
Today, while the Heitkamp family celebrated the life of a strong woman who raised an impactful family, we saw the collapse of that good judgment and lack of decency. It was blindly bolstered by a blogger at Forum Communications, echoed by Valley News Live, and amplified by the North Dakota Republican Party. All because of partisan politics. We’re better than that.
The NDGOP shared the above link to Facebook and then deleted it once they were publicly called out. Shortly after that awareness was raised, Congressman Kevin Cramer shared his sympathies on Twitter. Cramer should be recognized for his empathetic conduct much like Heitkamp was when his family mourned a very difficult loss.
I want it noted that Mike McFeely of Forum Communications pointed out this disconnect from a coworker earlier today. He was the first to call out this unacceptable behavior. I also heard Governor Doug Burgum and the First Lady were in attendance showing their respect toward the Heitkamp family along with Senator John Hoeven. They likely don’t need or necessarily expect gratitude for their kindness but it is important to recognize it.
The fact the NDGOP shared and then deleted a post isn’t enough. I believe Rick Berg, Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, owes the Heitkamp family an apology. Perhaps the executives of the other outlets should consider spending a moment reflecting on today’s actions as well. There are good, decent, honorable people working for them who I’m sure expect a higher standard during a moment like this.