The South Dakota Republican Party is bucking the trend of Midwestern Trumpists not taking coronavirus as seriously as sensible people and policymakers and urging it its county branches cancel their Lincoln Day dinners and other group events through May:
Today, in compliance with orders from the CDC and President Trump, the South Dakota Republican Party’s Executive Board is asking all local county parties and affiliate organizations to postpone events that have been scheduled in April and May.
During the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is important that we put the health and safety of South Dakotans ahead of party events.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we make adjustments in light of the public health crisis.
Together we will overcome the current challenge and come out stronger.
Chair, SDGOP [Facebook post, 2020.03.18]
The SDGOP lists fifteen events in April and May, including the Brown County Lincoln Day Dinner here in Aberdeen on April 16 (although the SDGOP calendar advertised it for May 14). Brown County GOP chair Katie Washnok postponed that event yesterday:
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19; at the recommendation of the SD State Republican Party and the guidelines put in place by President Trump – the Executive Board of the Brown County Republicans have made the decision to postpone our annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Originally scheduled for April 16th.
Tentatively, all events of the Brown County Republican Party, will be postponed through June 1, 2020.
Our top priority at this time is to maintain the safety of our families, friends, and communities. We felt it would be irresponsible to hold our annual Lincoln Day Dinner, which generally garners an attendance of 350+. We hope you understand the basis behind our decision, and we will let you know as soon as a new date is set [Katie Washnok, Brown County GOP announcement, 2020.03.19].
Lederman’s cancellation announcement comes just five days after the GOP honcho scolded that Sioux Falls paper for urging stronger measures to prevent the spread of covid-19:
The Argus Leader is criticizing state leaders in an Editorial titled “The time to fight back is now,” fanning the flames of hysteria over the Chinese coronavirus claiming that “Leadership and clear messages are needed, as well as a firm hand,” because people are not running and hiding indoors at a rate fast enough to suit them.
The Argus Leader is excoriating South Dakota State Leaders over their response to the Chinese coronavirus because, among other things, the Class B Girls State Basketball Tournament has been allowed to take place. Need we remind the editors of the Argus Leader that we do not live in a police state? And coronavirus or not, people have rights under the constitution. And that any action that affects and limits people’s freedom of association and freedom of travel in our country has to be weighed against their rights?
This weekend I had planned on attending the Sioux Falls Sportsman’s show. Vendors had travelled hours to set up, investing their time and money into an event they believed would return that investment. Instead, as they finished setting up, they were greeted by an announcement that gatherings of more than 250 people were being banned for the public health.
Vendors lost their time. They lost their investment. And they now have to travel home without either. To treat that lightly and to dismiss it for a cheap angst-driven headline is just shameful behavior.
Our state’s leaders are elected by the people and are asked to weigh the interest of multiple stakeholders. Not everyone wants to immediately duck-and-cover. And leaders understand that you can’t just demand. You first have to do the least harm and see if it is sufficient. And only move forward if greater steps must be taken.
It might not be a rapid pace. But if we’re going to limit people’s rights of association in our free society, we have to first see if there is a less restrictive solution first. If the Argus can’t understand that, maybe they should go sell newspapers somewhere more to their liking, such as Russia or China.
South Dakota Republican Party [FB post, 2020.03.13]
Perhaps we can cut Dakota Dunes Dan a break with the Emersonian saw that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, especially in the midst of an evolving public health crisis. Just three weeks ago, Lederman’s party was busy posting about how socialism led to depleted grocery store shelves; two weeks ago, the SDGOP was bleating that “accepting Socialism is accepting failure” and is “the complete opposite of America.” Now they must praise their President for signing and proposing all sorts of Democratic/Socialist legislation to save America from pandemic covid-19 and a sudden economic depression.
Wow—if this sensible abandonment of counterproductive ideological biases continues, the next thing you know, Lederman and the SDGOP may next be saying government is too important to elect unqualified political hacks.