In what seems bizarre to many people, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been forced to defend her decision to adhere to the Constitution of the United States, rather than bow to media hysteria and revoke the inalienable rights granted by God to the citizens of her state.
In fact, many people argue that if these rights are not inviolate, and can be revoked at any time for a health ‘crisis,’ then the rights do not exist in the first place.
Not only has she not placed the order, she has been outspoken in her contention that doing so would stand against everything America is supposed to stand for. She sees her decision as empowering individuals to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.
She is also taking an aggressive position on the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating the virus, placing her ahead of many other state governors.
As a result, on Monday, Governor Noem received about the highest praise any good American could when she was attacked in the pages of the Washington Post.
The Post used the occasion of an outbreak of the virus at South Dakota’s Smithfield Foods, a pork producer located in Sioux Falls, as an opportunity to attack the governor’s non-conformance. More than 300 workers at the facility have now tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus.
For anyone just learning of the story, that might give you pause to think that the governor should have locked down the state after all.
There are two problems with that conclusion. The first being South Dakota, a very rural state, has fewer than 1,000 reported cases of the virus (10th lowest in the nation), meaning the outbreak at Smithfield Foods accounts for nearly one-third of all statewide cases. The other problem, as was pointed out in The Federalist, is that since the pork plant is an “essential industry,” the workers would have been there even with a lockdown!
Of the 988 cases reported in South Dakota as of this wiring, nearly 800 are reported in the county where the plant is located. This makes the South Dakota experience with the virus one of the most localized and minimized in the entire country. This is despite the fact that while much of the nation has been locked down for at least three weeks, South Dakota has remained open.
Governor Noem has been standing firm against the mob and their chosen talking heads on mainstream and social media, that have been demanding obedience to the collective “wisdom” of the collectivists, the “elites” and the “experts.” In a time when big government has taken control of almost everything (from fishing rights, to buying garden seeds, to traveling to a relative’s home) in most places, Governor Noem has courageously looked the mob in the eye and said, “No.”
They don’t like to hear “no.” They aren’t used to hearing “no.”
One of the principal differences between Republicans and Democrats is supposed to be that Democrats favor government intervention in nearly every aspect of our lives, while Republicans almost universally say they prefer limited government and individual rights. They say that, but these past few weeks prove that only a few of them mean it.
Governor Noem means it and she isn’t apologizing for it.
There is an important distinction to be made in my support of the governor over her refusals to lock down the state. I am not suggesting that no leader should have ordered any lockdown, for any period of time, anywhere in the country. What I am suggesting is that in the particular case of South Dakota there was and is no reason to order a lockdown.
If Governor Noem had caved in to the pressure of the national digital mob it would have been strictly for the purpose of saving face — for being liked. She could have done it to try and avoid criticism. To that point, I’m sure the governor knows that you can’t satisfy the insatiable. Most politicians, especially Republicans, cower when the media puts them in their crosshairs. Governor Noem is showing no such signs of cowardice. She is, seemingly, the rarest of all things in American politics — the real deal.
I’m sure the governor isn’t doing any of this to receive national recognition, but thanks to the Washington Post and others, she’s getting it anyway. What they undoubtedly intended as a hit piece, will be perceived by at least half of the country as a badge of honor. In fact, when her time as governor is concluded, should she give serious consideration to seeking higher office, I believe she would be rewarded for her bravery and dedication to the Constitution. I for one hope she does consider it.
During an interview on Fox News, Noem defended her decisions.
“We’ve got one issue in a pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but outside of that, two-thirds of our state has no cases or one case in an entire county. So we are doing very well as a state,” Noem explained. “We are addressing the one hot spot that we do have and aggressively testing in that area, but what you talked about Laura is exactly right.”
She continued, “We should be tracking who’s in the hospital, what the death rate is, and South Dakotans are doing a fantastic job following my recommendations, and we’ve been able to keep our businesses open and allow people to take on some personal responsibility.”
Noem addressed the outbreak at Smithfield Foods, a pork processing plant that was closed after an outbreak infected more than 200 employees. While many have blamed Noem’s refusal to close the state for the outbreak, the governor noted that Smithfield would have been open either way because it is a vital part of the food chain that is responsible for 5% of the nation’s pork supply.
“This processing plant is critical infrastructure,” Noem explained. “Regardless of a shelter-in-place order or not, it would have been up and running because it’s an important part of our nation’s food supply. So that’s what’s been happening on the national level is they’ve been not telling all the facts behind this. The people of South Dakota can be trusted to make good decisions. We have common sense.”
She added, “That’s why people want to live here, and that’s why I love living here.”
Noem noted that she does not believe it would be constitutional for her to close down the state. She explained, “I took an oath when I was in Congress, obviously to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I believe in our freedoms and liberties.”
“What I’ve seen across the country is so many people give up their liberties for just a little bit of security. And they don’t have to do that,” Noem said. “If a leader will take too much power in a time of crisis, that is how we lose our country. So I felt like I’ve had to use every single opportunity to talk about why we slow things down. We make decisions based on science and facts and make sure that we are not letting emotion grab a hold of the situation.”
Well said, ma’am.