Times of crisis cry out for leaders with wisdom, compassion and common sense. Sadly, President Donald Trump has failed the country at every turn, and Gov. Kristi Noem continues to walk in his shadow.
Good leaders prioritize the health and safety of the people. Both Trump and Noem denied the COVID crisis as long as possible, then failed to make hard decisions that wise leaders in other countries and states made to minimize the spread.
When Trump trumpeted the untested drug hydroxychloroquine, Noem was the one governor who bought his snake oil, and even managed to suck our hospitals into the hoax.
Trump’s campaign was built on racism, his “big beautiful wall” to keep immigrants out; Noem hurled empty threats at competent Lakota leaders who, in the absence of leadership from the governor, made tough decisions to keep their people safe.
Trump held the taxpayer-funded rally in South Dakota that edged Noem over the line in our election. Now Noem reciprocates by reviving the Mount Rushmore fireworks show for him with $350,000 in tax dollars. Experts warn that the Trump/Noem show threatens our forest with fire and our land and water with pollution. A gathering of 7,500 tourists with no safety precautions will doubtless spread COVID-19 across the state.
While the nation mourns the murder of George Floyd and seeks sensible reforms, Trump and Noem want us to focus, not on the real issues of racism and police violence, but on punitive measures to intimidate protestors demanding changes we need.
The governor who adopted the slogan “Meth: We’re on it,” continues to demonstrate the lack of wisdom, compassion and common sense this age of crisis demands. A growing number of Americans see that the emperor in Washington has no clothes, and his lieutenant’s camouflage hat doesn’t hide her failure to lead.