David Lias

I am by no means a soothsayer. Please keep that in mind as you read this.

As I write this Tuesday evening, I have a strong inkling of what’s going to happen tomorrow -- besides the usual Wednesday stuff.

Wednesday is production day here at the Plain Talk, in which I feel like what little hair I have left is on fire as I play “Beat the Clock” all day in hopes of getting the newspaper’s pages built in time to hit my deadline. But I digress.

Just moments ago, Ian Fury, the press dude to our state’s chief executive, sent out a press release, as press dudes do, announcing that the governor is holding a press conference at 1 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 18).

Here’s my prediction of what will happen at that press conference:

Gov. Kristi Noem is going to announce that during her pre-election travels and campaigning for President Trump, where she visited some of the most COVID-19-rich places in the United States (besides South Dakota) -- places like Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, the White House, the president’s Mar a Lago resort in Florida and Air Force One -- she contracted the illness but didn’t tell anyone.

She instead decided to recuperate at home -- wherever home is for the governor. The Governor’s Mansion? The Noem farm near Castlewood?

Anyway, at Wednesday’s press conference, the governor will announce she has recovered from COVID-19 and that her being ill and subsequent recovery now mean she is naturally immune … AND:

That’s why she never wears a mask. Anywhere.

This explains why if you see photos of her at large public events or at rodeos and such where she’s riding her horse around a ring while waving a large American flag, you’ll never see her wearing a mask.

It’s why she’s also maskless in all of the photos with well-wishers that eventually are posted onto Facebook and Twitter and Tik Tok and other social media and even the evil mainstream media once in a while.

It’s the reason why, during her recent time spent actually within the borders of South Dakota visiting places like Belle Fourche and Buffalo and Bison and Groton and Webster and Parkston, she wasn’t the female equivalent of Johnny Appleseed (if Johnny planted COVID-19 trees instead of apple trees).

It’s why in that recent photo of her at the 3M Plant in Aberdeen that shows her sitting outdoors with Rep. Dusty Johnson, Sen. John Thune and Sen. Mike Rounds, she is doing absolutely nothing wrong, even though the three men are wearing masks and she’s not.

It’s especially heartwarming to know this since Sen. Rounds’ wife, Jean, has been battling cancer for nearly a year and had to have surgery in September when doctors discovered the malignancy had returned.

The governor’s decision to not wear a mask -- at an event at 3M to celebrate the plant’s expansion that allows it to ramp up production of, of all things, masks -- means South Dakota’s former first lady, who likely has a weakened immune system -- wasn’t put at a risk of catching the COVID-19 virus from Gov. Noem.

It also means the charade that the governor was forced to undertake when she and her entourage entered the DakotaDome maskless last Thursday to watch that afternoon’s South Dakota State High School football action didn’t have to happen. Nor did the pretense intended to shore up her appearance that soon followed, which included Fury tweeting a photo of the governor and I believe himself wearing masks in the DakotaDome, only to receive several replies from South Dakota citizens that include photos of the governor NOT wearing a mask in the Dome.

It’s an embarrassing spectacle that wouldn’t have happened if South Dakotans knew in advance that the governor is immune from COVID-19 and posed no danger to thousands of people gathered in a roomy, but still enclosed place like the DakotaDome where signs clearly state that you must wear a mask since USD, unlike the state, does have a mask mandate.

I also expect Gov. Noem to reveal a change of heart Wednesday, telling us South Dakotans that wearing a mask is much less of a hassle than becoming ill from the coronavirus and feeling like crap (or worse, being hospitalized) because of it.

She will announce Wednesday that she fully endorses the CDC’s coronavirus guidelines, which include covering one’s mouth with a cloth face covering as stated in the South Dakota Department of Health’s COVID-19 page.

Gov. Noem will also state at her press conference that she will cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s plans after all to bring the virus under control in the United States, even if those plans don’t agree with her personal political philosophy.

Now is the time, she will say, to “put our positive pants on,” push politics aside and work to ensure a healthy future for all Americans.

Again, I could be wrong. The governor may actually announce that she’s accepting Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s resignation, or reveal her plan to leave office in late December to accept a private sector job in Trump Tower.

But, I really, really hope my initial prediction for Wednesday is correct.


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