The lazy game of opposition politics

Our state’s governor seems more concerned with arguing Democratic policies rather than pursuing his own policies to help Nebraskans


Photo courtesy of Denver7

Over the course of the past two months, Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts has engaged in opposition politics with Democrats. Rather than pursuing his own policies, he acts out of blind opposition to ideas others push forward.

Edison Geiler, MWHS Wildcat News Editor-in-Chief

From the beef industry to marijuana to gun control, Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts attacked anything threatening “traditional” life in the Cornhusker State. If Democrats have pursued a hot-button issue recently, Ricketts has been there to discuss his distaste.

Our state’s governor mainly concerns himself with opposition policy. Rather than creating his own policies and political goals, he bases his course of action in blind opposition to local and Washington Democrats — regardless if it hurts Nebraskans.

Notably, Ricketts launched an attack on Colorado governor Jared Polis after the latter proclaimed March 20 “MeatOut Day,” claiming the day would adversely affect the lives of Nebraskans and responding with his own “Meat on the Menu Day.” 

Ricketts clearly concerns himself with the economy, yet Colorado agriculture commissioner Kate Greenberg stated the “MeatOut Day” was non-binding, meaning it would not affect those wanting to produce meat. Our governor’s reactionary policy to have Nebraskans eat more meat directly goes against the nutritional advice of many professionals and ignores how the day is non-binding. The Environmental Protection Agency states animal-related agriculture contributes to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, and the American Heart Association describes how too much red meat intake can lead to heart diseases. This act of blind defiance does nothing more to enrich Nebraska’s economy and potentially puts our citizen’s nutritional health in danger.

Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts’ opposition politics work against Nebraskans. From the beef industry to marijuana, the governor will ignore facts for the sake of opposing policies coming from his Democratic counterparts. (Photo courtesy of TIME)

However, it was the governor’s comments about marijuana that show how willing he is to ignore facts and science for the sake of opposing Democratic policy.

In a press conference covered by USA Today, Ricketts said, “This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids. If you legalize marijuana, you’re going to kill your kids. That’s what the data shows from around the country.”

Ricketts cited two studies showing an increase in teen suicides in states that legalized the drug. Yet, unlike Colorado, California or Oregon, the proposed legislation he was opposing restricted the use of pills, oils or smoking, and it only allowed for legal cannabis use if prescribed by a health care practitioner. Regardless of plenty of studies and reports from the Centers for Disease Control showing how marijuana has little risk, the proposed bill would not allow for recreational use, only specific medicinal use for Nebraskans that may need it to help medical conditions. Rickett’s anti-marijuana policy looks little at facts, and disadvantages groups like army veterans — many of whom use medicinal cannabis — who Ricketts has long claimed to fight for.

Both the meat and marijuana debacles took place in mid-March almost one month ago, but Ricketts is still firing on all cylinders.

After a string of mass shootings in early April, the governor aimed at President Joseph Biden’s efforts to curb gun violence, saying how he will not let the president shred the Second Amendment. Biden’s actions included cracking down on homemade firearms that lack serial numbers, pushing for background checks and tightening restrictions on gun attachments like pistol braces. Though none of the proposed actions seek to outright ban a large variety of firearms, Ricketts decided to make more inflammatory comments not based in any facet of fact, just to try to stir up a reaction of Republicans in Nebraska. Even though Harvard in 2017 found universal background checks were associated with lower homicide rates, Ricketts simply aims to oppose his Democratic counterparts instead of pursuing noble legislation.

The governor has had a fiery string of oppositional comments and policies that do not aim to better the lives of Nebraskans, rather push his personal political agenda. His stances on beef, cannabis and firearms are based in little fact, yet he still speaks with ultimate authority on the issues. I recommend Ricketts start creating policies to benefit all citizens of Nebraska — not only the ones that fit into his political party — yet I doubt his misguided policies and less-than-truthful statements will end any time soon.