South Dakota common sense is a celebrated and undisputedly grand thing, and is showcased nowhere so perfectly as our state Legislature. This session, our state Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson has decided to take a stand, proving this rule in exceptional style.

He wants everyone to know that our state constitution is “pretty sacred,” which is why he wants to make it harder to change the South Dakota Constitution.

By changing the constitution.

Well, amended: he wants to make it harder for voters to change the constitution.

By asking those very same voters to change the constitution.

As of right now, South Dakota citizens can gather signatures to put their own constitutional changes to a public vote. Mickelson's proposed amendment would remove that power, leaving only the Legislature with the authority to propose changes.

A different measure, this one put forward by Sen. Jim Bolin, would ask voters to increase the majority vote threshold required for a constitutional change to 55 percent of the votes cast. (Right now, it just requires a simple majority.)

So, the way this could go, voters amend the constitution with less than 55 percent of the votes cast to make all future amendments require 55 percent approval.

If this seems contradictory to the point of near-laughable hypocrisy, that’s only because you’re not really understanding the genius behind these proposals.

Why hasn’t anyone taken this approach before? Really, this is exactly the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we need to fix our society and economy and the ever-present lines at the Post Office. It’s so inspirational, here are some other unorthodox solutions:

  • Teach your kids how to be respectful by screaming obscenities at strangers on the internet. Whenever possible, use insults to prove your point. Especially if these people disagree with you. They’re probably not real, anyway.
  • Decrease your dependency on social media by downloading more apps on your phone. Mindfulness apps, in particular, will help you disengage from technology by sending you constant notifications via said technology. That way, you can really unplug. (My favorite is an app that reminds you multiple times per day that you’re going to die.)
  • Improve parking in Rapid City by removing all parking spots. Start downtown. At first, this will seem counterproductive, but then it will become apparent that it’s not.
  • Decrease the fire hazard during dry periods by having fire officials start fires. This way, fire officials will already be on scene and know exactly how the fire started. It will save time and resources, and eliminate the element of suspense.
  • Improve traffic flow by removing all stop lights. And stop signs. Uncontrolled intersections give the power back to the people and remove an unnecessary infringement on personal rights. “Dip” signs can stay.
  • Prepare for retirement by spending all your money. Doesn’t matter how. Forget all that talk about 401ks and savings accounts; all you really need to live on are memories.
  • Tell people you love them right before you punch them in the face. This will likely alarm and confuse them long enough to let you run away before they can counter. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more unique solutions to life's problems. Irony, as it turns out, could be the plot twist that saves us all.


— Candy DenOuden is a South Dakota native, full-time purveyor of sarcasm and part-time adult. She writes a monthly column in addition to her duties managing Compass for the Rapid City Journal. Contact her at