South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is not the kind of person who backs down from a fight, something she made abundantly clear when she penned a piece for The Wall Street Journal.
In this piece, Noem delivers a fiery defense of her COVID-19 policies, discussing the difference between her decision to refuse to use the coronavirus as an excuse to intrude in the private lives of citizens and the extremely harsh restrictions being used by progressive governors in other parts of the country.
Noem started by noting that many of her peers will have to look for ways to address the budgetary crises precipitated by their lockdowns, writing, “Some will propose tax increases. Others will take on more debt, and a few will be forced to make significant budget cuts.”
Then she articulated the route she has taken, and how her government has stuck to small-government, conservative practices:
In South Dakota, as we have done throughout this pandemic, we will forge a different path. Rather than following the pack and mandating harsh rules, South Dakota provides our residents with information about what is happening on the ground in our state—the science, facts and data. Then, we ask all South Dakotans to take personal responsibility for their health, the health of their loved ones, and — in turn — the health of our communities. The state hasn’t issued lockdowns or mask mandates. We haven’t shut down businesses or closed churches. In fact, our state has never even defined what an “essential business” is. That isn’t the government’s role.
“Since March, many of my peers have attempted to stop the spread of the virus without considering their citizens’ social or mental well-being or the state of their economies. Even amid a pandemic, public policy ought to be holistic. Daily needs must still be met. People need to eat and keep a roof over their heads. And they still need purpose. That means policy makers cannot have tunnel vision. They must balance public-health concerns with people’s mental and emotional needs, their economic livelihoods and social connections, and liberty, among many other important factors,” she wrote.
“Many in the media have criticized this approach, labeling me ill-informed, reckless and even a “denier.” Some have asserted that South Dakota is “as bad as it gets anywhere in the world” when it comes to Covid-19 — a demonstrably false statement. At the same time, my critics praise states that issued lockdowns, mandated masks and shut down businesses — lauding these states as having taken the “right” steps to mitigate the spread of the virus’ Noem added, taking on her critics.
The South Dakota governor then went on to point out the negative impact that harsh restrictions have had by pointing out other states and how they have affected residents who live in those areas.
For example, Illinois “experienced a new single-day record in Covid-19 deaths on Dec. 2, and its active case counts are higher, on a per capita basis, than South Dakota’s has ever been.”
New Jersey “still has had the most deaths in the country per capita, has had a mask mandate in place since June and has imposed $15,000-a-day fines on businesses that refuse to close. Still, over the last two weeks of November, its hospitalizations increased by 34%, a six-month high,” Noem pointed out.
The governor then set her sights on California saying, “The AP recently reported Covid hospitalizations have increased nearly 90% and could triple by Christmas.”
“Until we have an effective and widely available vaccine, the virus will spread — science tells us that,” she asserted. “That’s one of the reasons why, at the outset, the nation’s goal was to manage hospital capacity. In South Dakota, we have kept our focus on this goal, and continued to ensure our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed and can serve their communities well,” she wrote.
“South Dakota won’t be taking on billions of dollars in new debt. We won’t be raising taxes on residents or businesses. And we won’t be looking to Congress to send us more stimulus money. Given the oath I swore as governor, it is my responsibility to respect the rights of the people and to manage state operations in a balanced, prudent fashion that reflects the realities on the ground here. I am confident that we have and will continue to come out ahead of many other states in important measures of public health, economic well-being and liberty,” Noem concluded.
Look, it’s obvious that measures like masks and lockdowns aren’t doing the trick. We’ve tried these steps already. Why repeat what doesn’t work? Seems sort of ridiculous to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect there to be a different result.
Leftists have used this as a means of seeing how far they can intrude into our lives before we push back. It’s about usurping more power from the people, plain and simple.