South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem sure has her priorities straight. When it comes to bright, shiny, jingoistic nonsense, she’s got the instincts of Leni Riefenstahl. When it comes to anything that actually matters—like, say, protecting the lives of her constituents—she’s more like Lennie from Of Mice and Men.
Somehow, despite being one of the least densely populated states in the union, South Dakota has had one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 outcomes, ranking third in total COVID-19 cases per capita and 10th in deaths.
But the state ranks first in gormless governors’ memes contrasting Joe Biden’s America with what actually turns out to be someone other than Donald Trump’s America, despite her insistence to the contrary.
What’s the problem with this tweet? There are many, but let’s talk about how the top photo is actually a composite photo from July 2015—before Donald Trump was president.
There are also very good reasons why the federal government banned July 4 fireworks at Mount Rushmore that are not wanton America-hatin’.
The surrounding area, Black Hills National Forest, contains large populations of Ponderosa pine trees. Ponderosas are undergoing an infestation of pine beetles, which kill trees and create forests full of fire kindling.
According to the National Park Service, “Ponderosa pine is highly flammable and burns with great intensity and severity in the summer season in a typical dry year.” Intensity measures fire output and severity measures the impact of a fire on the surrounding ecology.
Noem may not have cared that COVID-19 spread like wildfire both inside and outside her state after she green-lit the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last summer, but you’d think she might be concerned about burning down the forest surrounding one of the country’s most beloved and recognizable landmarks. Or maybe she thinks a bunch of South Dakotans running around like Crisco-slathered Game of Thrones extras would be more entertaining than the quotidian finger-ectomies that typically accompany July 4 festivities.
But Noem is right about one thing: Obviously, Joe Biden hates fireworks at least as much as Noem likes endangering forests.
Guess not. Never mind, then.
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