I hit the golf course last weekend for the first time this year, and it was rather impressive — and I’m not talking about the chilly May weather.
I played with two other guys, and since we don’t reside in the same household, separate carts were required. Everything was strict but in an organized way with understandable guidelines. Not only was just one person allowed in each golf cart but inside the pro shop too; you also could not touch flagsticks or rakes. There was no water in the ball washers and PVC piping covered each hole.
I talked to staff before my round — from 6 feet away — and they are conscientious because “we don’t want to be shut down by the governor.” Whether sarcastic or not, they’re trying hard to maintain order because they need to make a living.
We still hear that many citizens, often young and urban, are petrified about rejoining society. They consider it a “death sentence.” This phenomenon is psychologically fascinating, and the market for doom is vast, but have they tried? If you are healthy, under 70, and maintain social distancing, there is little to fear.
The problem is regional governors like Tony Evers, J.B. Pritzker, Tim Walz , Gretchen Whitmer and Tom Wolf apparently don’t trust us to make decisions. They instead move goalposts, operate in short-term crisis mode, play favorites and impose draconian measures.
Lockdown isn’t a strategy; it’s a dangerous tactic in lieu of a plan. It’s essentially saying, “We can’t do anything about this so go inside and hide.” The safest place to be during this pandemic, of course, is outside.
The aforementioned state leaders should take a page from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem or Doug Burgum next door in North Dakota, who this week reminded the president that 93% of his state remains open, including elective surgeries, agriculture and their vital energy sector.
Want larger states? Try Greg Abbott in Texas — nearly 300,000 fewer cases than New York despite 10 million more residents — and Florida’s Ron DeSantis on for size. Governor Brian Kemp in Georgia was called a murderer three weeks ago, yet is proving critics wrong.
Legacy media had a spasm and predictably smeared DeSantis and Noem for their intrepidity. Yet the first-term executives were judicious in their moves and have every right to be indignant with the risible press.
“We need to focus on facts and not fear. They said Florida was going to be just like New York or an “Uber Italy” when it came to hospitalizations and fatalities. This was wrong,” DeSantis recently tweeted. “It’s time to focus on the facts and follow a safe, smart and step-by-step plan for recovery.”
Meanwhile, the precocious former rancher, who represented South Dakota in Congress even before she earned a college degree, stood up to the mob. Noem didn’t close her state, took on troublemakers and rightly trusted her constituents.
“People have common sense and are more than willing to take personal responsibility for themselves and their families,” Noem said. “My integrity and credibility are important, and I think the people of South Dakota recognize I will continue to protect their freedoms and liberties for generations to come.”
With a low death rate and the fewest job losses per capita among other achievements, Noem deserved the impromptu parade recently thrown in her honor. Like North Dakota, the Mount Rushmore State still has about 40 deaths. Even adjusting for population, that’s infinitesimal.
I trust myself, my wife and neighbors to do the right thing. I also believe the overwhelming amount of Americans are responsible enough to find a safe balance and begin life anew, while also using science to mitigate risk.
As Mary Katharine Ham recently opined:
“We were never going to stay at home as a society until there is a vaccine. That’s unreasonable and irresponsible policy and a violation of the flatten-the-curve bargain most Americans happily made. It also has ruinous public health consequences of its own. Pointing this out is not heartless or a dismissal of the real consequences of COVID. It’s actually pretty normal.”
Just as we cannot do a one-size-fits-all policy for this massive, diverse country, we cannot in Minnesota. We also cannot wait for a vaccine that may not arrive. We must be resilient and adapt, as Americans always do.
For Pete’s sake, if Europe can do it, so can we.