Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is one of a few state governors who have not yet placed citizens under a stay-at-home order in response to the current outbreak. 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.
To borrow from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, “Some governors are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” I am not sure which best applies to Governor Kristi Noem, but at least one, if not all, certainly does.
Charlie Kirk is the author of the New York Times bestseller The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas That Will Win the Future and host of The Charlie Kirk Show