What The Hell is Wrong with Kristi Noem?

Kristi Noem wrote a book. I read an Associated Press article about it. And almost cried. I pulled my dogs, Atticus and Gatsby, onto my lap. I would never hurt them. I would kill anyone who tried to hurt them.

Apparently in her book “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” Noem recounts the tale of Cricket, a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer she was training for pheasant hunting. (I won’t even address the grossness and cruelty of pheasant hunting here.) When Cricket turned out to be a dud at pheasant hunting, she admits she hated her and thought she was untrainable. By her own account, she led Cricket to a gravel pit and shot her.

When we had to put my first dog, Channing, down, I was in the room with him. I stepped away so he wouldn’t see me cry. Weak and sick as he was, he lifted his head to see where I’d gone. In that moment I felt all the trust he had in me hanging in the balance. I went back and knelt in front of him, holding his gaze until the light in his eyes went out.

I cannot imagine how Cricket felt in that moment when her human turned a gun on her. Then threw her in a gravel pit as if she was trash. We cremated Channing. One day his ashes will be mixed with mine and scattered. This is what humanity looks like. This is how you treat a creature who trusts and depends on you.

To add insult to injury (or perhaps to convince us she is indeed a sociopath) Noem goes on to recount that that same day she shot a male goat she characterized smelly and fond of chasing her kids. She shot him; he survived the first shooting, so she left him—no doubt in pain—while she went to her truck to retrieve a second shell to finish him off. She tossed his body into the same gravel pit as Cricket’s. According to the Guardian, Noem wrote that she included these horrific stories to show her willingness to do anything “difficult, messy and ugly” if it has to be done. My parents taught us that when people tell you who they are, believe them.

Imagine what Noem would do to Social Security for the elderly who have outlived their "usefulness;" or poor folks who need healthcare. She is a typical representative of today’s Republican party for whom enforced cruelty is a perk of being in power.

The questions I have for Kristi Noem—the questions all voters should have—are: If your child acts out or fails algebra, will you shoot them and toss them into a gravel pit? If a constituent is unruly at a town hall, will you shoot them, too?

I don’t need to read her doubtlessly ridiculous book to answer the inherent questions in her laughingly long title. What is wrong with politics is that it is full of soulless, cruel people like her. How do we move America forward? Simple: we just stop electing sociopaths and charlatans and liars.

Photo: Channing in 2000


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