15 April 2020

NOTE FROM NORM: It’s Time to Reopen America

It’s time to re-open America.

Carefully and with commonsense.

But there’s no question that the time has come to get our economy growing again.

Throughout the nation the American people in swaths of tens of millions have answered the call of their government, health care officials, law enforcement and other local, state and national leaders to engage in active social distancing.

They have honored the pleas of frontline workers that the more they did to isolate themselves from one another the more time it would buy to save the lives of millions of Americans.

Along the way we have learned a lot about ourselves as Americans – again.

We have learned that we care deeply about one another.

That we are prepared to sacrifice for the greater good.

Our American values of standing up for one another and standing for one another have once again proven an unshakeable foundation of our nation.

While COVID-19 has not yet been defeated its grip on America and the world is loosening and with it we must begin to loosen the restrictions on our way of life, the economy and the jobs millions of Americans depend on.

Every level of government has a role to play in this effort.  There is no single force of government that has been endowed by the Constitution to command the power to dictate when and how the American economy will begin to rev up its overwhelming might.

This much the American people expect and demand, however: They expect that every level and unit of government will act with goodwill and in the common good to bring America’s economy back up to full strength even as we continue to focus on making the health of our citizens a priority.

They also expect and demand commonsense from our leaders and those charged with examining how we carefully re-open America.

In Minnesota, I think Governor Walz has done a fine job of managing a difficult task.

However, there are lapses in judgement that I think require us to re-examine decisions that have been made with respect to what is an “essential” business or functions.

I shared in a previous post the definition of “essential” truly needs to be re-imagine and enlarged.

This week the  the Governor  finally “allowed” the folks who install our docks and winterize our boats to do their job.

In less than 24 hours they went from being “non-essential” to “essential.”

That makes no sense!

There  was little commonsense in telling thousands of Minnesotans with cabins that they can’t have someone come in and install a dock or play a round of golf or partake in commerce and business where efforts can be implemented to maximize public safety.

And, frankly, it can’t be a concession here and a concession there to address the squeakiest wheel in the room.

The drip, drip, drip of labelling who is essential is not going to help Minnesotan’s who need to start earning a paycheck to take care of their families.

There must be a plan.  A bold and public plan that marries commonsense with caution but doesn’t create a paralysis in making a decision.

There are thousands of Minnesotans, and millions of Americans, who can and should be going back to work sooner rather than later.

And they can do it carefully and with commonsense.

I appreciate the Minnesota Governor has a position that he wants there to be 5,000 COVID-19 tests being done each day before he will feel comfortable re-opening large swaths of the Minnesota economy.

Yet the likelihood of that happening prior to the Governor’s order to keep the state on lockdown until May 4th is, by his own admission, very small.

Insisting that is his standard condemns thousands of Minnesotans to a purgatory of hopelessness.

So, that being the case, have a back-up plan.

And, not just Minnesota, but any other state where there is a growing demand from citizens to get back to the business of living, working and having a job in America.

If Governor’s, or the President, believe they have the primary role in determining whether their state will re-open for business then they have an obligation to have in place now – not later – a formal plan of action, with a clear set of criteria that are transparent and public, to determine which businesses can open – how they can open – and when they can open.

There isn’t an American I know that believes we should sacrifice life and safety for a job or re-opened economy.

It is a false choice.

We can and should be able to protect American lives and health while we protect American jobs and our economy.

It’s time to re-open America and put our people and our economy back to work.