Oh my. Jensen advocates bringing back Jim Crow Laws?

Senate Bill 128 was bad enough, which obligated the Attorney General to get involved in the middle of fights over denying services to people based on sexual orientation.

But the author of SB 128, Senator Phil Jensen, reveals something really, really scary about the beliefs that spawned his measure; that he thinks you should be able to deny services to people based on race or religion:

Jensen goes so far as to say that businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer’s race or religion – whether that’s right or wrong, he says, can be fairly addressed by the free market, not the government.

And..

Jensen supported another bill this session, killed last month, that would have required drug testing for welfare recipients. He said he believes that taxpayers have a right to know that their money is being spent appropriately.

But asked whether he thinks recipients of other forms of government assistance should be drug tested, like farmers who receive subsidies, Jensen wasn’t so sure.

Read it here.

“Jensen goes so far as to say that businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer’s race or religion”

Wow.

Am I the only one who thinks Phil Jensen thinking it’s ok for businesses to deny services to blacks or Catholics because a shop owner says so is bordering on insanity?

For crying out loud, it’s 2014, not 1914. For a Republican legislator to actually give voice to what sounds like blatant discrimination and bigotry should trouble party members deeply, and make Jensen’s voters question just “who in the hell did they sent to Pierre?”

73 thoughts on “Oh my. Jensen advocates bringing back Jim Crow Laws?”

  1. Phil Jensen has gone nuts. NUTS! I’m glad he supports raw milk but he’s nuts. I wouldn’t support him or anyone else he supports based on something like this.

    1. Could we “deport” him back to Kansas? Good guy or not, anyone who thinks in these terms should not be ALLOWED to open a business!!

  2. Oh c’mon at least be respectful enough to Phil to post the whole story, and not just the parts that make him look bad. I don’t necessarily agree with Phil on this but overall he is a good guy who has the courage of his convictions, and someone who is willing to stand up for his constituents.
    I would encourage all to read the whole story.

    1. Did you miss the ‘Read It Here’ hyperlink? If one clicks it, one can read the whole story about Jensen and see him for what he is.

    2. I wonder if black people outside of the GOP would agree that he would stand up for them? Words matter and he’s acting like an idiot.

      1. It’s not just Phil Jensen but every single legislator that sponsored and supported bills like SB 128

    3. Why not post the whole story? Uh, how about copyright laws?

      And I read the whole story. It doesn’t erase the racism and bigotry he’s advocating.

      1. Sorry Pat but I think you are wrong. Part of the story stated what Phil said, “If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks . . .” He stated that he would find it detestable.

        1. But not detestable enough to prohibit such behavior?

          Phil is either a bigot, or a complete moron. Take your pick. We need fewer of each in the legislature.

          1. Well, when you find that Jensen did not support racism you resort to name calling. Really a good comeback. I applaud you for your very intelligent response.

          2. Not everything that is detestable, much less that an individual considers detestable, should be prohibited in law.

            Some people think not washing one’s hands after a pit stop is detestable. Going to station cops in bathrooms to make sure everybody washes their hands?

            Some people think liver is detestable. Should we ban it?

  3. The whole story is there, if you hit the link. The rest of the story is not flattering for Phil. The fight against racial and religious bigotry took the US Supreme Court, the interstate commerce clause, and courageous civil rights lawyers to slow down the impact of bigotry. Even then, watch the Jackie Robinson movie for a sense of why the market can’t, by itself, respect the rights provided for in the US Constitution. So somebody needs to sit down with Phil and explain history and the US Constitution to him — and by the way, Reagan would not have agreed with Phil. He is adocating an anti-Constitution, anti-Reagan view of America. Phil, one thing about the Klan is they were equal opportunity haters — hating Catholics with nearly the same vigor they showed for Afro-Americans. One more irony, the Klan was largely Democrat and the other group they hated – you guest it – those carpet-bagging Republicans (even had seperate cemetaries for them). Phil, you need to get on a better side of history.

    1. Mr. Schoenbeck,

      The first generation clan was certainly Democrats; mad at reconstruction. However, the Second Wave Klan was the largest in the history of the United States, and helped elect Republican and Democrats. Equal opportunity haters, all of them. In both parties. Go to Miller Funeral home in Sioux Falls. There is an amazing photograph of Kluxer funeral held at Wooflawn Cemetary in Sioux Falls.

    2. Does Jensen know much Reagan hated racism and would not have tolerated Jensen.
      I just watched the movie The Butler in which it portrayed Reagan’s part in the end of apartheid in Africa and how Reagan ensured the black staff at the White House equal pay to white employees.

      Phil Jensen is no Ronald Reagan! He is more like the dyiing Rev. Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church, also of Kansas.

      The South Dakota Republican Party would best be served if he returned to the Land of Oz.

  4. While you may certainly disagree with his position, he is emphatically NOT advocating the return of Jim Crow laws. I’m old enough to remember the “Colored Only” signs on public restrooms and water fountains at the local bus depot, where I grew up in southern Illinois.

    Jim Crow laws were government mandated segregation laws. Under Jim Crow laws, a business could be penalized by the government for CHOOSING to serve blacks.

    The irony is, both Jim Crow laws and lawsuits based on denial of service are examples of using government force to limit private businesses CHOICE in determining their clientele.

    To quote from the article: “If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them.”

    1. You really need to stop trying to put lipstick on a pig. Defending ignorance and hate is not a Republican virtue, or is it?

      1. Actually all Mr. Beal did was to properly frame the comment made by Senator Jensen, nothing more – nothing less. He actually did a very good job of that and used rational reasoning rather than the illogical jumping to conclusions based merely on emotion that so many others did.

        1. Phil’s comments transcend politics and show some deep character flaws in that he thinks it’s ok for anyone to deny people services because of the color of their skin, or how they worship god.

          I wonder if he only represents some voters on the same basis?

          I wonder if his company Saladmaster approves of selling their products to certain skin colors or religions, since that’s why Jensen is advocating?

          1. Anon 1:04, Jensen said it would be detestable to refuse service to blacks. Go read the whole article for yourself and quit taking what someone else writes as fact.

            1. Detestable, but he’d vote to allow it? So, what groups would he say it’s ok to discriminate against?

              1. I won’t speak for Jensen, but how about drunks, child molesters, coke heads, I suppose you say we must associate with all of them. Or in this case would it be alright?

          2. He did not say he thinks it is okay for anyone to deny services because of the color of someone’s skin. He said it shouldn’t be illegal.

            There is a significant difference between what is legal/illegal and what is moral/immoral.

              1. It is, however, explicitly illegal under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I do not understand why you are arguing this as if it is a topic of active, massive pushback. The case of Heart of Atlanta Motel vs. United States upheld the power of Congress and its abilities granted under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to force businesses to comply with the Civil Rights Act provisions. One cannot decide to not serve someone based solely on race, gender, creed, etc. IT IS ILLEGAL.

                1. Yes, I’m sure Jensen knows it is illegal. He never said it wasn’t. He said he didn’t think it should be illegal, even if he thinks it is immoral.

                  1. And? I’m waiting for some sort of rationalization from you. He didn’t say it wasn’t illegal, therefore tacitly acknowledging he wishes to roll back a law passed in order to prevent rampant descrimination. And this is…good? Principled? What kind of Bible so you preach from PNR?

                    1. The Bible that says we should not bear false witness against another.

                      I am trying to point out what he actually said, that is all. And what he said does not equate with racism. It does not equate with advocating Jim Crow. To say that it does is to bear false witness against Sen. Jensen.

                      There are enough problems with his statements as they are without having to twist them into what they are not.

      2. Read more carefully, it’s NOT a justification of bigotry or segregation. It’s, more or less, a history lesson I lived through, it frustrates me when people misrepresent Jim Crow or segregation in contemporary politics.

        Racism is “thrown around” far to frequently these days and it minimizes the real racism as practiced as recently as 50 years ago.

        1. Precisely. The Constitution rightly protects individuals from government sponsored racism. It does not protect anyone from experiencing bigotry when interacting with non-government persons or entities. Laws that prohibit the free exercise of non-government mandated discrimination are unconstitutional. The question here is not whether or not racial discrimination is detestable (it is). The question at hand is whether or not private (i.e., not governmentally managed) persons or businesses have the right to discriminate on whatever basis they choose (they do).

    2. Most likely a KKK bakery in Rapid City would do an astounding business, just like the bakery in Colorado that had their business thrive by anti-gays when the news broke about their discriminatory practices. They couldn’t keep up orders for quite awhile.

  5. Let’s be clear, he’s advocating that the US Constitution be ignored – specifically the 14th Amendment. That’s not throwing around “racism” as a label, that’s exactly what his words say — if you believe and care about the United States Constitution and the protections it REQUIRES for all Americans, of every race and religion.

    1. The relevant part of the 14th amendment (which also enfranchises Black citizens, bans former Confederate officials from government, etc.) reads:

      “…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

      The argument is whether permitting the kind of discrimination we’re talking about constitutes a “law which shall abridge…” or if the laws banning it do this.

      That’s a legitimate question.

      So, no, he is not advocating ignoring the 14th amendment but he is assuming as true what is instead a debatable assertion. Then again, so are you.

  6. The problem for the GOP is bigger than Jensen. Rand Paul, who claimed in 2010 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was unconstitutional, is running only 5 percentage points behind the current frontrunner for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

    Not to mention that Paul is a leader of the Tea Party wing of the GOP which has defined and led that Party over the last few years.

    Whether you agree with Jensen or not as a member of the GOP, the silence of fellow members of the GOP over the last couple of years towards the Tea Party wing of the GOP has made this silence both implicit and complicit to their 19th century view of the world…. The seeds you sow can bare bitter fruit….

  7. I think we are seeing what happens when we take philosophical arguments to their logical conclusion. Whatever views he espousing, they are not Reagan Republican. I think every US Senate candidate should be asked if they agree or disagree with Jensen.

    1. Real life – which includes politics – is not a place where philosophical arguments taken to their logical conclusion function very well.

      This, I think, is part of the problem the GOP has with holding together.

  8. The True Invisible Empire and something called traditionalistamericanknights.com likes Phil Jensen and endorses Phil Jensen’s politics.
    That from the comment section on the Jensen article on the online Rapid City Journal. He calls himself freedom1865.

  9. Just for the record, I don’t agree with Jensen.

    That said, I don’t think his commentary is racist as much as it shows either an insensitivity to being a minority or naiveness regarding the abuse tha majority is willing to inflict on those who are at their mercy.

    While not a racist, they do disqualify him from one I would want to represent me. Sometimes public service is as much about the example you set as it is about your policies.

    Just as Obama’s rhetoric against the successful feeds class envy, Jensen’s rhetoric will feed racial distrust and discrimination.

  10. Make no mistake about it, Jensen’s SB128 was an attempt to legalize discrimination.
    His past and current advocacy in stating that businesses have the right to deny service to anyone they choose is discrimination is racist.

    He has no regard for the 14th Amendment and is suggesting without saying so, the repeal of 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    I salute the Republicans in our state that have the courage to stand up against the likes of Phil Jensen, he and others with the same mindset are doing serious damage to the Republican Party.

    1. The non-sequiturs in your comment, Coyote, are legion.

      1. Discrimination is already legal (“no shoes, no shirt, no service” discriminates against the unshod shirtless, for instance). It is a question of what BASIS of discrimination should be legal.
      2. To say something ought to be legal does not mean one approves of it. Freedom must entail the freedom to do things the majority disapproves of or it is not really freedom. This is not the same as racism. Not even close.
      3. His regard for the 14th amendment is not indicated in the least by his public statements on this question.
      4. I’m quite confident he would readily assert the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has outlived its usefulness. Others have said so, too, and not merely those you might consider “right-wingers.” (Some Black Americans assert the quotas both required and forbidden by that act are unworkable and contribute to perpetuating racism, for instance.)
      5. Whether people like Jensen are damaging the GOP or not remains to be seen. Certainly the gross misrepresentation of their statements and views is damaging the GOP, but then, that’s to be expected from Democrats in the same way that GOP partisans often misrepresent statements of their opponents to damage them.

      1. PNR

        Welcome to Club Jensen.

        The more you keep trying to explain and justify Jensen, the more you sound like him. Jensen said what he said, it is in black and white.

        (note; refusal of service to those not wearing shoes, shirts, is not a Civil Rights issue, it is public health issue.)

        1. Didn’t say it was a civil rights issue. I said it was discrimination.

          I know what Jensen said – or rather, what the article reports him saying. It is in black and white. And it does not advocate a return to Jim Crow, nor does it advocate racism or justify the accusation that Jensen is racist. Dumb, maybe. Ignorant, almost certain. Thoughtless, yup. Racist, no – not from those statements alone, anyway.

          1. Wrong again PNR.

            Requiring people to wear shirt and shoes is not discrimination and does rise to the level of discrimination based on color, sex, or religion. It is a public health issue.

            If Jensen is not suggesting a return to Jim Crow, when is suggesting with his comments thats businesses should be able to refuse service to anyone they choose? You do know what would happen if the Civil Rights Act were ever appealed, don’t you?

            Senator Phil Jensen is a racist!!! Why are you so intent on denying it?

            1. Because it is not possible to conclude with any degree of certainty that Sen. Jensen is racist solely on the basis of the comments reported in the Rapid City paper. To accuse a man unjustly I find objectionable. But perhaps you have had other experience with him that I am unaware of?

              Jim Crow laws were not about allowing discrimination against Black Americans. They were about requiring it. Rather like the misogyny laws of the time. A White man was not merely permitted to not marry a Black woman. He was required to not marry a Black woman. So also, a restaurant was not merely permitted to have segregated dining. It was required by law to enforce such segregation. There is a difference between allowing someone to be a bigot and requiring him to be one. Jim Crow did the latter. Jensen is suggesting the former.

              Discrimination is the act of discriminating. When I pick the blue car rather than the green car, I am discriminating. When I pick one steakhouse over another, I am discriminating. That, in the one case (no service in the absence of shoes and shirt), the discrimination is on the basis of public health concerns does not make it any less discrimination. The word “discrimination” does not and has never referred solely to discrimination against (or for) human beings on the basis of race, gender, or creed.

              Discrimination on the basis of public health concerns is legal and unobjectionable (in most instances, although sometimes the health concerns are blown way out of proportion). Discrimination on the basis of race is both objectionable and illegal. Jensen thinks this latter is objectionable, but should still be legal. You, for what I find cogent and persuasive reasons, think it should remain as it is – objectionable and illegal.

  11. PNR is right in that discrimination is legal and Coyote is intellectually goofy.

    Discrimination isn’t either a bad or a good term. It is neutral. It depends on the context.

    Just as clients discriminate on who they choose to hire, lawyers discriminate on the cases they take based on whether they want the case and the rationale runs the gamut. Don’t like the cause, say no. Don’t like the case, say no. Don’t like the client, say no. As people discriminate on the jobs they will apply for, employers discriminate based on skill or how well the applicant will fit in the culture or how well they do in the interview.

    Virtually every law passed is a statement about what is moral. Whether it be murder, theft, or parents not taking their kids to school, there is a moral component.

    SB128 is a bill to decide whether a business gets to discriminate with regard to sexual orientation when providing a service or good (they already discriminate for other reasons as I described above) or whether the “customer” can force them to provide a good or service they don’t want to provide (analogous to a form of slavery).

    Both sides have legitimate rationales depending on your own personal morals.

    On one hand, a restaurant shouldn’t be able to deny a seat at a table to someone who is gay or has any other attribute they don’t approve of so long as the customer is dressed according to the dress code and behaves as expected. Whether they know it or not, they have been serving gays, adulterers and fornicators virtually every day.

    At the same time, the restaurant should be able to reject a catering job to a reception where the environment violates certain values of the owner or employees. As owner they can protect their “brand” however they choose or protect their employees from an environment they might consider “hostile.”

    And this is my rub with both sides.

    The pro-SB128 seem to want to be able to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation in every case which is unreasonable. if you are open to the public, you are open to the public. The discrimination against people of color or certain religions was prevalent here in SD up until the 50’s (and probably continues to some degree).

    At the same time, the anti-SB128 people seem to want to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in every situation which is counter-productive to their cause. To explain, let me tell a story.

    Over a decade ago, I had a client (multiple owners of the company) where the largest shareholder (but less than majority) was gay. He had some personal attributes (nothing unique or related to being gay but they were attributes where I could predict his reaction described below) which if he were involved in the negotiations with the other side that would be in my mind an impediment to success. I had to say I would only take the engagement if he were silent with regard to negotiations, if present at all.

    He went ballistic. Said I was freezing him out because he was gay. I was a homophobe and threatened to sue me (even without any hint sexual orientation was to be protected). His partners knew I was right as they “managed” internally this negative attribute as he had other valuable skills for the company.

    I laid down the law on what my conditions were, he got out-voted, I took the engagement, the transaction exceeded his expectations, and I hear from him periodically when he wants some free advice.

    My point: If I thought I could be sued for refusing to take this engagement on because I had “discriminated,” I’d have never had my frank discussion but would have just passed by making my fee so high they wouldn’t take it.

    I know that the “age discrimination” law is adversely affecting older Americans from getting jobs. The reason is that on average 25% of new hires don’t work out (half quit and half are fired) and nobody wants to deal with the problem of getting sued for age discrimination.

    If people really wanted gays to be not discriminated against, they wouldn’t put up these risks for hiring a gay person. Make sexual orientation a protected class, it will only put up a barrier to them being hired. No small business can afford the cost of the lawsuits.

    1. Even goofier Troy, just keep talking and explaining away and justifying what you think Phil Jensen thinks or meant.

      Obviously you don’t understand what racism and discrimination are.
      As a Native American living in South Dakota I understand and know what I am talking about from experience. There have been opportunities in my life where I could shout racism, but was in actuality a process of selection about a job, etc.

      And than there are the blatant acts of racism, being denied service in restaurant by the not so subtle of making me wait and wait in hopes I would go away. Or a highway patrolman profiling me because my car had a reservation tag, and the list goes on.

      One thing I am sure of in my advancing age is that the cry “I am not a racist” has become the new racism as defenders of Jensen have demonstrated here. They say how detestable racism is and yet find situations that justify racism and discrimination.

      Now, explain to me again how this helps the South Dakota Republican Party? Or is that Phil Jensen’s foul mouth actually represents what you feel, but are afraid to say publicly?

      1. Coyote,
        I know racist attitudes still persist and that people feel the effects of them – including denial of service at restaurants and other service industries. I would not deny that or short-change the frustration, pain, and anger it causes. I saw it as a teenager among the Navajo. My adopted brother is Black and he experienced it full on, too (at the Christian school we attended, no less). Seeing it, I know, is not experiencing it, though.

        I also know that laws are not without cost, and I don’t mean just money. Laws impose moral costs.

        I am not interested in defending Jensen. I am merely interested in what he actually said rather than the emotional reactions to it. Neither he, nor I, nor anyone else commenting on this post has said racism is good or moral or acceptable.

        Jensen has only said (and I can’t find from the comments anyone saying he or she agrees with Jensen) that legal sanctions are no longer necessary to combat racism. Other sanctions, he thinks, can check it, and thus the moral cost of the law should no longer be borne.

        You have, I am sure, good reason for disagreeing with that assessment and considering it the assessment of a privileged White man who has no idea of what still goes on.

        That doesn’t make him racist. It makes him dumb, ignorant, thoughtless. Lots of people are dumb, ignorant, and/or thoughtless. I dare say, all of us are at least on occasion. Some of us make it a habit.

        But here’s a thought. Instead of making wild accusations, invite him to get a good tan, work some construction with you, and then show up with you at some restaurant or other where you know they’ll ignore you. Give him an education. Figure out a way to teach him – solve the problem of his ignorance. Don’t just write him off as a damnable loss.

        1. Excuse me PNR, but this is an emotional issue for me and many others, all minorities, women, the LGBT community are affected by Jensen’s intolerance

          I remain curious why when you take the words Jensen said you can’t arrive at the same conclusion that I and others have. The buzz words are there, we’ve heard them for generations.

          The national media, as has been posted here, have grabbed on to this story and call it the same way I do. It is not necessary for the parse words or search for further meaning of what Jensen said, it is all there.

          I will go a step further, if anyone even remotely defends Jensen, they belong in the same group as him. He is, and should be indefensible.

          If Phil Jensen would like to sit down with me and discuss issues with me, I’d be glad to oblige him and will provide you with my contact information should that happen. He is the Senator, it is his obligation to reach out.

          1. It is obvious – and understandable – that it is an emotional issue for you and others on the receiving end of such maltreatment.

            And if Phil Jensen is reading these comments, I encourage him to reach out to Coyote, to try to learn a bit of how it looks from his angle.

            When I get emotional and vent at those who have caused me pain, I find that it rarely helps to bring healing. The emotion and the venting are, however, certainly understandable – it hurts. If your objective is merely to give voice to the hurt, then vent away. If your objective is to bring healing, both to yourself and the one who has caused the pain, a different path must be taken. So, even if it is Sen. Jensen’s responsibility as the senator to take the time to reach out and learn from you, I would encourage you still to reach out to him in hopes of teaching.

            I think he’s just dumb, not a racist. Maybe he’s both. But if your reaching out to him with an offer to teach could mean there is one less idiot or one less racist in the world, isn’t either result worth the effort?

    2. How many of your replies on this site involve a) a story about you, b) a story about Jim Abdnor, c) both, d) contradictory statements made within the same post? It has to be 80%, at least.

  12. Coyote,

    I don’t think it helps the GOP and I made my views on this clear, read them.

    Anonymous,

    I give where my perspective comes from and since I was “formed” politically by Jim Abdnor and George Mickelson, they come up a lot. Why you always seem to focus on that is obvious, little man.

  13. Coyote,

    You are right I don’t “know” it like you do but I have observed it. The acts by another to denigrate your human dignity disgust me and the people who do that are lesser for it.

    I want to acknowledge the heroism in your daily life and by bearing I hope you realize it makes you better and stronger. To the extent you bear it with grace, you are a witness of humanities greater self. It deserves more but I must get to work. I would tell a story if I had time. :)

    1. Troy,

      Thank you for your gracious comments. When white South Dakotans go about their usual day, there is little that gets in their way in terms of human dignity. When Native Americans go about their day, we are automatically encumbered with what will people think, or even worse what will people say or do.

      Most South Dakotans do not harbor racism and service at restaurants is usually good to excellent and most businesses serve us well and recognize we have money to spend.

      Sadly, there is that element here in our state that share the views of Phil Jensen, they soil not only the lives of Native Americans, but those of good decent non-Natives

      You see Troy, the curse is that fighting racism and discrimination at any level is a way of life for me and so many others.

  14. According to the Bureau of Justice F.B.I statistics, black males between between the ages of 16-44 commit 47% 0f all violent crimes. That’s 2.8% of the populace responsible for 47% of violent crimes. If those facts existed in Russia, Vladimir Putin would have that 2.8% in the gulag so fast they would not even have time to blink. Jim Crow laws were originated to protect the white population from what was termed “black rascality”. Given the horrific frequency of black-on-white crime in this country, it deserves another look.

  15. John R,

    I first thought about throwing up when i saw what you wrote.

    Since there were roughly 600,000 violent crimes committed by the roughly 8 million men in the demographic you describe, you are really serious about passing a law that discriminates against more than 7.5 million Americans because of the bad acts of a few hundred thousand. Really?

    Or do you think we should just round up a million or so Black men suspected of being criminals, lock them up without a trial, and throw away the key?

    This isn’t Russia. You go live in Russia. I’ll stay here.

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