Skip to main content

I have a long-standing affinity for heretics.  

When my daughter was only five, she heard me speaking about heretics, and not long after that, announced that she liked underdogs.  “Why?” I asked.  “For the same reason you like heretics, Mama. They’re interesting.”  

The word ‘heretic’ comes from the Greek wordhairesis,’ and means “a taking or a choosing, a choice.” The form haireisthai means more than a gentle decision, though: it means “to seize.”

A heretic is one who, by definition, is not orthodox, a word which comes from two Greek words meaning ‘straight’ or ‘correct’ (ortho-) and ‘opinion’ (doxa).  

In other words, heretics “take” their own opinions; they seize them, they hold fast to them, regardless of whether they square with those of the established Establishment.

That’s where heretics get in trouble with the orthodox.

Heretics, you see, are what they are and do what they do because they realize that the orthodox, the people who determine what is the “correct opinion,” are those who, for any number of reasons, have the power.  

Heretics provoke us to wonder whether orthodox power distorts orthodox opinions.  

Heretics have the chutzpah to seize moments, sometimes inconvenient moments, to challenge that orthodox power and those orthodox opinions.

Don’t for a moment, however, assume that heresy and orthodoxy clash only in religious systems.


Take a look at what is going down between Harry Reid’s powerful Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and South Dakota’s Rick Weiland campaign, and you’ll see the orthodox and the heretics having quite the row.

The DSCC does not like it, not one little bit, that Rick Weiland is the apparent South Dakota Democratic senatorial candidate.

Worse, Rick received full-throated support from former Senator Tom Daschle.  

Not only was Weiland’s entry into the race not blessed by the DSCC; they didn’t even know about it.  It happened like Archie Bunker baptizing his grandson in secret: the event happened without the powers that be knowing a thing about it.

But it happened.

When the DSCC found out, they weren’t happy--still aren’t.  

Anxious orthodox elites have a tendency to deal harshly with heretics and their supporters. Tactics range from intimidation to excommunication to (gulp) more.

But heretics have the audacity (from Latin, meaning “boldness,” or “courage”), like all good underdogs, to trust their instincts and their convictions, and they refuse to be deterred.

The powers that be, be they in the politicos in the DSCC, or be they the pundits in SD, are in fits of anger or of laughter that Rick Weiland would even step up to the plate.  

But they ought neither raise their voices too soon in howls nor in chuckles.  

Being a Democrat in a traditional Red state already means that we tend anyway to have affinity for the underdogs, and for the heretics.  

And, it should be of note, that we have a good record of underdogs who never lose sight of the underdogs: Tom Daschle.  Tim Johnson.  George McGovern.  

South Dakota Democrats have an inherent distrust of orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy says that one can only win in South Dakota if one runs as Republican lite.

That orthodoxy got us Kristi Noem.  

Orthodoxy says that with DSCC support, our candidate will win.

That orthodoxy got us Kristi Noem.

Orthodoxy says that South Dakota has been red, is red, and always will be red.

But the heretics know that we can see Minnesota from here.

I like heretics.  And I like Rick Weiland.  

He’s an underdog.  

And he’s interesting.  

And you can bet that this race will be too.  

Originally posted to Anna M. Madsen on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by South Dakota Kos and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Click here for the mobile view of the site