By Ellie Shockley, Bismarck Tribune
I recently had two experiences in which folks reached across the political aisle. Respect and patience were displayed. Assumptions were minimized; stereotypes were not enlisted. These experiences did not occur in some exotic place, or even in the eastern, purplest part of North Dakota. These experiences happened in central-western North Dakota — namely, in Bismarck and Dickinson.
One of said experiences was my participation in a panel on the New York Times’ 1619 Project, held by the Dickinson State University College Republicans. My fellow panelists were Dr. Eric Grabowsky (the club’s faculty adviser), Dr. Donald F. Johnson of North Dakota State University, and Casey Buchmann, a 2018 Democratic-Nonpartisan League candidate for the Public Service Commission. The 1619 Project’s writers argue that the arrival of African slaves to American colonies should be considered the true beginning of our nation. I am sure you can imagine how a panel like this could go horribly wrong. Yet, the College Republicans and their adviser ensured that it was professional, open and interesting.