A good deed or a slight?
That's the fulcrum of a disagreement related to free attendance for some at the South Dakota State Fair.
On one hand, Gov. Dennis Daugaard offered free state fair admission to North Dakota and South Dakota residents who were affected by tremendous flooding along the Missouri River. South Dakota residents must have valid flood ID cards, showing they have been displaced from their homes; the cards were issued only in the Pierre, Fort Pierre and Dakota Dunes areas.
But on the other hand, Brown County Commission Chairman Duane Sutton on Tuesday pointed out that residents in Brown, Day and Marshall counties, for instance, have experienced significant flooding problems as well, but weren't invited to enjoy the fair for free.
We can sympathize with both parties here.
A tip of the hat should go to Daugaard for extending the offer. Surely he understands that some people in his state won't qualify for this freebie, but that most would surely take this as a friendly gesture. In fact, we made a similar suggestion in an earlier editorial.
Daugaard was obviously trying to do a good thing, reaching out to those in need and trying to bring a little relief. The water that those residents experienced was fast and unforgiving, with hundreds being evacuated. That is a traumatic experience. They could use some good news.
The issuing of the flood ID cards themselves tells us that some higher level of severity was reached in that particular situation.
North Dakota residents, too, got a double whammy in some ways with the cancellation of their state fair.
Northeastern South Dakota, however, has also experienced flooding. Unfortunately for us, it was more insidious, rising slowly over years, then made worse by heavy rains. It's an emergency situation that was an emergency long before it was widely recognized as such. Frankly, it's harder to get help for long-term problems such as ours when there are immediate emergencies that need dealt with.
Daugaard, a father of three, should know that if you get a toy for one, you should get a toy for all. He's made the innocent mistake of overlooking this area for a little perk when residents here are already a bit sensitive. Months ago, when Pierre, Fort Pierre and Dakota Dunes were being evacuated, it was clear that priorities and resources shifted from dealing with our flooding problems up here.
The state fair snub, for some, was not the final straw, but certainly another straw.
But where do the perks end? Some areas of the state had no flooding, but are probably dealing with hardships we know nothing about. Does everyone get a turn?
We don't envy Daugaard in this instance. No good deed goes unpunished or unquestioned.