Nebraska Politics

Pete Ricketts, Spoiled Boy

I’m not sure people outside of Nebraska understand what a petty tyrant Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts is. To me it seems like a classic case of affluenza–the kind of personality you develop when everything was bought for you and you earned none of it. Lacking the satisfaction of your accomplishments, you try to assert your power through big and little sadisms, like a powerless boy who pulls wings off butterflies.

His big sadisms are abundant–denying mental health services to kids, cutting women’s health care, funding a reimplementation of the death penalty after the bipartisan abolition of it.


Caillou, a whiny four-year-old, gets angry and pokes a baby in the eye. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead, or living and making other people dead, is purely coincidental.

But it’s the small, pathetic sadisms that tell the whole story–and maybe “sadism” is the wrong word here, because the people he targets are incapable of being hurt by him in the way he wants. For instance, revoking the Nebraska Navy certificates from me and Courtney Lawton because he doesn’t like us–I’m sure that in his pique he intended to wound, but it’s really just pathetic and funny.

And now–get this. Ricketts succeeded in getting the death penalty back, and he is super itchy to kill somebody because he’s up for re-election and he thinks it will make him look like a man. So he is asking to be allowed to fast-track an execution because, he says, his experimental injection drugs are going to expire otherwise. You know, the way you might be like, “Honey, we should make a salad tonight while this Romaine is still good.” Except instead of a salad you want the pleasure that can only come from killing a man, and legally killing him, too, so nobody can get you for it, and legal because you made it legal with all the money Daddy gave you.

So he asked specifically that the courts let him schedule it on July 10. July 10, “coincidentally,” is the birthday of Ernie Chambers, the black man who has fought the death penalty for 40 years, and even beat Ricketts at it until Daddy’s money fixed it for him. And Ricketts can’t handle anyone beating him at something, especially a black man who has more integrity putting his shoes on in the morning that Ricketts will hope to evidence in his life. Imagine that. A working class black man who lives on poverty wages and has given his life to uplifting the downtrodden in this state. Imagine what a threat a man like that poses to the fragile psyche of his opposite, a trust fund baby whose father bought him everything, even a governorship, and still couldn’t buy him out of mediocrity, and who has to suffice himself with tweezers and butterflies as a legacy. So July 10, he says.