Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to cordially invite you, Mrs. Obama, and your daughters, Sasha and Malia, to the great state of North Dakota.
It’s a little disconcerting to me, and I hope you as well, that you have yet to visit six states, including ours, during your nearly five years as Commander in Chief.
But hey, you’re a busy guy. I understand. It’s perfectly reasonable that you took time this week to visit Africa. Though I’m almost certain a flight to North Dakota would have been a lot more affordable for U.S. taxpayers.
But that’s neither here nor there. I’m writing to try and get you out to North Dakota, so let’s talk about why you should come and see us.
I know you like to golf. If you come out here, your first 18 holes at Medora’s beautiful Bully Pulpit Golf Course are on me, though I certainly haven’t had as much time to hit the links as you have over the past five years, so you’ll likely have the upper hand on the greens.
Perhaps we can talk a little business out on the course. If you have been listening and reading, you know that North Dakota is mentioned in the national economic and employment conversation on almost a daily basis.
We can talk about some of the highs and lows that have accompanied the recent oil boom in our state. I can tell you about all the people from different states, even countries, who moved to western North Dakota hoping to escape the economic woes at home while seeking their fortune or a better way to pay off their mounting debts.
Now, I know you’re not the biggest proponent of fossil fuels, but maybe it’s the North Dakotan in me that makes me naive enough to believe that if you came here, you might actually see some of the good things our state is doing for the national economy in relation to the oil, natural gas and coal industries.
In case you haven’t heard, North Dakota is doing pretty well these days thanks to oil and natural gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing. While California is bickering about what programs to cut, we argue about how to spend — and save — our money.
While it isn’t entirely green — I know that might bug you — the companies who do the drilling here are much more environmentally sound than they used to be as they help put a reliable energy source such as gasoline and diesel fuel in the tanks of roughly 250 million passenger vehicles in this nation. That certainly beats trying to find reliable alternative fuel sources, some of which have had a history of leading even government-subsidized companies into bankruptcy.
I’ve seen some of those electric cars. They’re pretty neat, but don’t they still have to be plugged in and charged at some point? While you’re here, you could explain exactly how we’re going to keep them on the road if the coal mines near Beulah that generate some of that electricity, particularly for our neighbors in Minnesota who use the majority of it, are shut down one day.
Then again, I guess if you’re worried about the coal plants jeopardizing our air quality — routinely ranked among the best in the U.S., I might add — we could just shut them down while you’re here. Though I’m not sure how you’re going to speak to North Dakotans without electricity from one of our coal-fired electrical plants powering your microphone and teleprompter.
People around North Dakota often say we’re like our own little country here. Though if you’re worried about meeting members of the “Flat Earth Society,” we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many of us out here in western North Dakota are environmental stewards without calling ourselves activists, hippies or lobbyists.
Speaking of the environment, as a father quite literally in the position to give his daughters the world, you are doing your family a disservice if you don’t give them the chance to see such beautiful American areas as Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Badlands and Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, another state you have yet to visit during your presidency.
Now, I know you may have some reservations about visiting North Dakota. Or at least there are pundits out there who believe you do. John Harwood of the New York Times stated in a story published June 19 that North Dakota is the antithesis of your political base.
Sure we didn’t vote for you twice. But keep in mind that 141,278 people filled in the circle next to your name in 2008 and 124,827 did the same in 2012. In North Dakota, that’s a lot of people.
If you’re going to come here, we only ask that you don’t go to Fargo or Grand Forks. Sure it’s where the majority of your supporters live, but don’t you think it’s a little too cliché? I’m offering you a chance to be a man of the people and visit areas very few presidents ever have.
Plus, you already visited Grand Forks during your 2008 campaign. It’s time to come and see the rest of the state. There’s no use meeting a bunch of clamoring college kids and Minnesotans when you could see what all the fuss is about out here in the Bakken, where we are in the midst of the biggest story in North Dakota’s 124-year history.
You have more than three years remaining in your presidency, so I hope you make it a point to come and visit us here in North Dakota soon. After all, you’ve been missing quite a bit.
P.S. Keep in mind, the last president not to visit North Dakota during his time in office was Jimmy Carter. I’m sure you want to avoid any more comparisons to him.
Monke is the managing editor of The Dickinson Press. Email him at email@example.com or tweet him at monkebusiness.