Plenty to be thankful for

This year above all others, we can be thankful to live in South Dakota and the Black Hills, far from the insanity of unlawful limits placed on Thanksgiving family gatherings in other states due to COVID-19. States like California and New York that have had so many restrictions and lockdowns are now restricting Thanksgiving holiday gatherings to no more than two families or 10 people.
Gov. Gavin Newsom in California and Gov. Andrew Coumo in New York have both imposed draconian restrictions on their citizens with strict mask mandates and business closings in the wake of increased virus cases. Newsom has even imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on people for some reason, as if the virus was more active during this time than during others.
Newsom is receiving some serious blowback to implementing an evening curfew with residents in towns all over the state defying his edict. Add that to the incident where he was caught out on the town having dinner with at least a dozen people with no masks in sight and ignoring social distancing. The fact that these states have had strict travel and other restrictions in place for some time indicates that whatever they are doing isn’t working very well. Lockdowns do not cause the virus to go away.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has taken her share of shots across the bow from critics in the media and at home who can’t stand the fact that she and some other governors have not locked down their states. Most of us understand that Gov. Noem allowed her constituents to have the freedom to make their own choices based on common sense decisions, taking into account the elderly and the infirm who needed to be isolated.
We have to develop herd immunity and we can’t do it by being locked down constantly. South Dakota officials led by Gov. Noem deserve our thanks for the freedoms we have experienced since this entire virus situation reared its ugly head in our country earlier this year.
The more than 700 deaths our state has experienced since records started being kept are not anything to be taken lightly, but we have to wonder how many of these deaths were actually due to the virus itself and not exacerbated by other underlying medical conditions, or merely reported as virus deaths. How many of these 700 died with the virus instead of because of the virus?
In this column’s space last week, the state laid out its case after being singled out in the national news media. Statistics debunk claims being made by a USA Today writer who said, “The Dakotas are as bad as it gets anywhere in the world.” That simply isn’t true and another example of some really bad journalism. Tests are increasing in number both here in Custer and in Rapid City, so cases are bound to increase, but deaths should be dropping.
When your families gather around the Thanksgiving table this Thursday, be thankful for the abundance we enjoy in this great nation. And be thankful that our state  does not limit holiday gatherings to no more than six people inside or outside, as some states are doing.
The Seven Dwarfs would be GRUMPY about that six- person limit and certainly would not be HAPPY. They would think it was a really DOPEY idea. So do we.
Have a great and blessed Thanksgiving!

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