How South Dakota Modeled Real Leadership During Chaos – Crises reveals character, and South Dakota has met the challenge of the day with flying colors. Join us today with Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden to hear more!
Air Date: 07/06/2020
Guest: Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
- Coupons: Use promo code WBL17 to receive 10% off your entire order on ALL WallBuilders Store Products!!
- Helpful links:
- Send In Your Questions!Â
- The Founders Bible
- The Founders Bible App
- Constitution Alive
- First Liberty
- The Courageous Leaders Collection
- Heroes of History
- Quotations of the Founders Books
- Alliance Defending Freedom
- Liberty Counsel
- Patriot Academy
- High Point Leadership Camp
- WallBuilders’ YouTube
- Wallbuilders Summer Leadership Training Program
Download: Click Here
Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining us today on WallBuilders Live. This is the place where we take every issue of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. Very important to take these hot topics and analyze them with what does the Bible say about it, how do we get that biblical worldview? The Bible speaks to everything in our life. There’s nothing new under the sun. Every issue we’re facing today as Americans is covered in the Bible, every issue. Whether it’s dealing with what’s going on in the political realm, whether it’s dealing with our family situations, personal situations, business, you name it, the Bible addresses it.
Well, we address the hot topics of, in many ways, the political world because of the impact it has on our families, in our churches and our communities. We address those issues from a biblical perspective here on WallBuilders. That we also look at it from a historical perspective. What can history teach us about any issue that we face, including even the COVID crackdowns, right? So, what does the Bible say the proper role of government is in a situation like that? What does the constitution say the proper role of government it is? And what can history teach us about what you do in a “pandemic situation”? So, there’s not an issue on the table that isn’t addressed by those three perspectives. That’s our approach here at WallBuilders Live.
We do this with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders, also Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. You can find out more about us at wallbuilderslive.com. That’s our radio site. That’s also where you can get archives of the program from the last few weeks. And you can also donate at wallbuilderslive.com. Now, the reason that’s important is because it takes finances to engage in the debate of today and we need truth infused into the debate in America today. That’s what WallBuilders is all about. And we appreciate you coming alongside us, making a donation there at wallbuilderslive.com and making that possible. The more we raise, the more people we can reach, the more people we can reach, the more we can get them equipped and inspired and get them into the fight, get them to be good citizens, to get them to live out their freedom so that we can preserve that freedom for future generations.
Alright, guys, later in the program, we’ve got a lieutenant governor coming on the program that has been right in the middle of all of this COVID crisis that’s happened around the country, but actually from one of the very few and when I say few, I mean, like three States that did not follow everybody off the cliff with the COVID crackdowns and unconstitutional powers at the executive level in the States.
And so, you know, before we have him on, I just toss this to you guys and say, look, crisis reveals character. And what this crisis revealed was that the foundation and the character of most politicians in America today is not very strong in terms of them being willing to defend liberty, even when the people are asking for tyranny. Like what do you all think about that? Why is there so few and I’m not even making this a Republican or Democrat thing, because Republicans did the same thing, maybe not as bad as Democrats, but it was almost across the board?
Yeah, it really was. And actually, when you said this was one of like three States who did good, I was thinking, well, what are the other two States? I don’t even know that I realized there was three. South Dakota, certainly, I mean, we’ve talked about it internally for months probably, how their response was so unique and so different. And we know a lot of government leaders in very conservative States who restricted so many freedoms based off little information, bad information. And I think so often what happens today, culturally, is people are scared of backlash and they don’t want to take hard stance because they don’t want to offend people and they think that can be politically damaging and they’re going to stand tough on specific issues. But if it’s not one of the specific issues that they think they’re going to have wide support or that they didn’t run on, etc, it seems they’re much squishier and really kind of acquiesce to the whim of the media.
And one of the things we talk about even for a lot of congressmen who are in the D.C. area for session is so often, they will get caught up in what the local headlines are saying and they think that’s what everybody in the nation thinks about them. And then we’ve talked to two congressmen before and they’ve said, hey, so what do you all think about this issue? And we said, we haven’t heard anything about it. And they said, really, because it’s a really big issue. And we said, we don’t think it’s as big as you think it is, because nobody out in the real world has heard of it. You get caught sometimes in this echo chamber and you don’t realize that the echoes that you are hearing from some of the voices around you who are warning you against taking certain positions and stance is not reflective of necessarily always the people you represent.
And so, I think there’s a lot of factors involved in this why you could have Republican governors who presumably are God fearing, are freedom loving, support the Constitution, the Second Amendment go down the list and they haven’t taken good stand. Sometimes they don’t have good voices surrounding them, they’re in a false echo chamber, sometimes they’re scared of the backlash. But ultimately, they just don’t have the fortitude necessary.
And I mean, you know, dad and Rick, you guys can obviously chime in if you have different views, but I think, they really just lack the moral mental clarity and the fortitude to stand up for what is constitutional, for what is biblical for what the founders principles and original intent was. Maybe they don’t know it, but I think sometimes they’re just scared of the backlash that they get caught in a bad echo chamber.
Well, one of the people who did not get caught in that bad echo chamber and I think she probably got exposed to all the information that with government gets. But you have Governor Kristi Noem and Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden in South Dakota that went a very different direction from the very beginning, they did not back up, they got lots of criticism, lots of pressure, they did not back off. And right now as we come out on the other side of this thing or what looks like the other side of it, their numbers are some of the best in the nation for the way they handled this and what happened as a result and how the COVID was more insignificant under their policies than it was under so many others. So, the Lieutenant Governor is a friend that I’ve known for a number of years and we’ve been together on several occasions, and I thought it’d really be good to hear from Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden on why they did what they did and what allowed them to be different from so many of the other governors.
You know, as we’re going to break here and then we’ll come back with Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, there’s just a handful, so South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and then Wyoming. So, a few common sense governors and lieutenant governors out there, all in fairly rural in an agriculture intensive States, which might be part of the reason they have more common sense. We’ll ask Larry Rhoden about that in our interview. Stay with us, folks, you’re listening to Wallbuilders Live
Hey friends, Rick Green here, I know there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in America right now, but we know God is sovereign. We also know that “duty is ours, results are God’s”. And that means we do our duty. You know, Proverbs 22:3 says a prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions, the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
Friends, if you are not prepared to defend your family, can I just challenge you to come spend a few days with us for a training we call ‘Constitutional Defense of your Family and Freedom’? During the day, on the range, you’re going to get the best handgun defense training in the world. And in the evening, I’m going to teach you on the Constitution, “Handgun Defense by day, Constitutional knowledge by night.
Sign up today at rickgreen.com. We’re going to take you out there for 1/10th, that’s only 10% of the normal price of going out to these very, very good trainings and no more important time than to do it right now. Rickgreen.com, sign up today. Doesn’t matter if you’ve had a lifetime of gun experience or you’ve never touched a gun ever in your life. Check it out at Rickgreen.com, we’ve got multiple dates coming up and we want you to be with us for constitutional defense.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us today. South Dakota Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden with us, Lieutenant Governor, thanks for your time today, sir.
Hey, this is very hard for Texas and I just want you to know that, but we Texans have been watching what you and Governor Noem have been doing in South Dakota and we are completely jealous, you all are doing a phenomenal job at handling both the COVID crisis, the riots everything. I mean, I’m just wondering, we’ve been wondering, what are you guys drinking over there in South Dakota because you’re getting it right when very few in the country are getting it right?
Yeah, you know, it’s been a crazy time. And especially at the onset, when the governor took the position of we were going to use sound science and data and the facts, but we were going to rely on the people of South Dakota to apply personal responsibility and take responsibility for their own actions. And, you know, it sounds easy enough, but it was pretty incredible, the amount of pressure that was brought to bear against the governor in the position that she was taking. Even from political allies, from the start, they wanted the governor to get in line with the rest of the governors in the nation and people that came to me and/or just fearful for her political future and taking the position she had. So, it was not easy, especially from the start.
You know, as you described that I’m thinking back to three months ago and the pressure was immense on every governor in the country. Anybody that that wanted to take a measured approach, scientific approach and frankly, constitutional approach was called a science denier, and you’re going to kill grandma, I mean, all of that stuff. And yet with all of that pressure, you guys stood strong. I watched, Democrats of course, from the beginning were loving this government control, but Republican after Republican caved and follow the herd off the cliff. And I remember, Governor Noem saying, I remember one of my favorite headlines was her quote about herd mentality is not leadership. How did you all do it? How did you stay firm and repel all of that nonsense and stay, you have common sense through all of this with such immense pressure when so few others did?
Well, you know, it’s a great question and I sound like I’m bragging too much on our governor, but I will say I was just thoroughly impressed with she took a hardline stance. I remember one point early on in our conversations with the executive committee, the governor spelling out her position how she wasn’t going to cave to pressure and she asked each one of us individually, if we were with her and everyone on our executive committee made the commitment that we were standing behind her; if she had the courage to move forward, we were going to stand behind her on it.
And I think it’s paid dividends. I think, you know, the governor, when we were campaigning for her position, I’d heard her say it many times that South Dakota to lead the nation that they could be an example, because of our rural status. And we were kind of small, but that made us nimble. And so, it was interesting and encouraging for me to see. And I reminded this to the governor just a couple days ago that of the statements that she’d made about leading the nation and in my view, she has.
100%. I mean, I agree with you 1,000%. Honestly, I didn’t know a lot about her or you when all of this started and I was so frustrated with seeing the Republican governors caving to all this and using these draconian measures, doing things we’ve never done in our history. And then I started seeing the headlines about how you all are responding. I was like, wow, where did you all come from? And I mean, quoting the Constitution and all of these things, is like this is leadership.
And even first week of April, I did an article where I said there are going to be books on leadership written about what you all have done in South Dakota, because leadership is not just proposing something, leadership is proposing things and standing firm, even when it’s not popular. That’s what I thought stood out about South Dakota leadership was that you kept your heads about you when all around you are losing theirs. Is that how it felt from the inside?
Well, yeah, like I said, it wasn’t easy. But I think, what strikes me is where we’re at now and obviously, we’re still dealing with a pandemic. But in South Dakota, especially in western South Dakota, but all across the state, it’s hard to recognize that we are still in a pandemic, because people are returning back to normal. And we’ve seen the numbers, we had originally in South Dakota, they predicted because we weren’t doing shelter-in-place orders, that at our peak, we would have 5,000 people in the hospitals. A few weeks later, they revised that to 2,200 because they can see their numbers were way off.
I think is a June 15 was scheduled by the moms to be our peak. On June 15th, we had 82 people in the hospital in South Dakota. And if you look at our economy, we’re just getting new numbers and you know, from the June revenue and it’s been pretty shocking. We were expecting shocking numbers as far as decline in State revenues, but our revenues are actually even with last year, if not a hit at this point. And that’s not to say that there are certain industries like the hotel industry that have been decimated.
And I’m also the secretary of Ag in South Dakota and, you know, the world of Ag is suffering, but we were suffering prior to this pandemic. So, I again, I think at the end of the day, I’m hopeful and I shouldn’t jinx us by saying it. But at this point, I think it’s been a great example of a nation of what you get for taking the leap of faith and believing in the founding principles of this country was based on and the underpinnings of rights, liberties and freedoms and the counterbalance to that being personal responsibility
Yeah, you read my mind because I was going to come back to that: you mentioned personal responsibility at the beginning of our interview. And you know, you said that sounds easy, but in truth that no, you don’t hear that sound at all anymore. I mean, people don’t talk about personal responsibility. It’s all about blaming other people and government is going to save us.
And so somehow, some way, you guys have held on to those basic constitutional and frankly, biblical principles of personal responsibility. How much of that is because, I noticed, you know that you come out of Ag as well, you run a cow calf operation, Kristi has a ranch. How much of that is that you guys still work the land, you still deal with work ethic, I guess? I’m trying to figure out what made you all different in this situation. And I’m wondering how much of it goes back to just still having real lives.
Yeah, well, it’s interesting, because I’ve thought about that. And I don’t say it publicly too much, because I don’t want to sound like I’m disparaging people that grew up in the city. But there’s something about living on a ranch and being raised on a ranch where you’re totally responsible for the consequences of your own decisions and dealing with droughts and floods and dragging baby calves out of a snowbank at two o’clock in the morning. I think it gives you a real sense, you know, that’s embedded in you and ingrained in you as far as what personal responsibility really means.
I love that. I love that. Well, we’re thankful that you are. I think you’re right. You guys have been an example to the rest of the country. Do you think there’s going to be books on leadership written about how you all handle this entire situation? And if nobody else does it, I’ll do it. But I mean, I just think it needs to be taught and we need to use it as an example of how to deal with these things. So, tell me Is it okay for us to tell everybody, hey, now is the time to go visit Mount Rushmore, let’s reward South Dakota with some tourism dollars for doing such a great job and handling all these?
You know, I think somebody beat you to it. The Black Hills have been full of people. The governor was there a couple weekends ago and visiting with folks and she heard it time and time again people who had heard about her and the stance she’s taken and it changed her plans and decided to come to South Dakota for the vacation times.
I love it. It’s fantastic. Well and I’m really glad to hear the economic reports that you just gave as well because that was going to be one of my questions for you is how different will South Dakota, you know, rebound from all of this versus the State that did total shutdowns and the devastating effect of companies having shut down as a result of that. It sounds like already you’re seeing good numbers and potentially much better recovery than what we’ll see in some places around the country?
If I may, there was one quote or a paragraph from a speech that the governor recently made and I would like to read, if that’s alright?
Please, yeah, absolutely. Go ahead.
The speech was made by Governor Noem on June 12 and it was titled ‘Lessons Learned from COVID’. But she started out, she said, “perhaps the most significant takeaway so far is that more freedom, not more government is the answer. Freedom alone won’t solve all our problems, but it presents a better path towards where we want to go. Freedom is a better friend of true science than government-controlled science. Freedom is the best friend of innovation. Freedom focuses our politics on persuasion and the intellectual strength of our positions, not a control, coercion or the heavy hand of government. And as someone that is interested in the common good in all its iterations and complexities, freedom is the one and only choice.”
That is so good. That is so good. Can I key on one line out of there and get you to repeat it? It was, freedom is that, how did you say that, true friend of science, not government-controlled science, what was that part?
Freedom is a better friend of true science than government-controlled science
So true. Oh, that that applies to so many different areas we could go into, but this particular situation, spot on. So good. So good. I got to ask you, when are you guys up for reelection? Is this a 2020 thing or 2022?
- Well, man, I want to encourage everybody in the country to support you all. And again, thank you for the example. We want to shout it from the roof tops, you know, the Bible says render honor unto whom honor is due. And at a time when we’ve seen so little leadership in our country, we need to honor when it’s done right. And the people of South Dakota, I think are going to benefit greatly for years to come because of what you all have done.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the governor and I are both people of faith and the governor has demonstrated up 1,000 times in her first two years as governor.
You know, I can’t imagine you all being able to stand against the onslaught without that. And even when, back in March when I started seeing what you all were doing and we started doing a little homework and seeing the prolife stances, the pro-Second Amendment stances, I mean, just across the board, you know, honestly, I was already thinking, okay, you know, Noem 2024. So, anyway, you guys are awesome. Keep up the great work. And we’ll, we’re going to come visit ourselves. I’m looking forward to coming to Mount Rushmore, spending a few tourism dollars myself.
Yeah, you tell Dave Barton howdy for me. He needs to come out and say Howdy.
Absolutely, I will and he was thrilled that we’re getting you on. So, I’ll tell you, howdy. And we’ll get you back soon.
Alright, appreciate it, Rick.
You bet. Lieutenant Governor Rhoden from South Dakota. Stay with us, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History. In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Special thanks to Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden for joining us today as well. David, Tim, you have to love the fact especially you, David, because Tim, you’re kind of a cowboy, but David, you’re really a cowboy. I mean, to think that cowboy common sense, we don’t hear much about that anymore. But that’s what I hear when I hear the words from Kristi Noem and Larry Rhoden explaining why they didn’t do, you know, dictator order that everybody had to stay at home.
But look at the starting place. I mean, when you live in the country, you’re fairly independent, you’re responsible, you believe in consequences, you believe in accountability, you believe that people are responsible for their own actions. And as Larry said, he said, look, we started in the beginning the position that people can be responsible, they can act responsibly and they don’t need a government babysitter. Oh my gosh, that describes the rule mentality. And from the very beginning, you’re not looking to hold these guys by the hand and lead them through it. That’s not why you’re in South Dakota. I mean, that is a rural state filled with responsible people, as most States are.
It’s also an interesting contrast of where you see governors that feel like they have to be the mom and dad for the adults in their State. And I have to make decisions for you, because you can’t make good decisions, so here’s the decisions I’m going to make for you. I heard that perspective too from the contrast of, wow, they’re absolutely entrusting their people to not be dumb and make good decisions.
And you know, Rick, I love when you talked about, you know, maybe we should come visit Mount Rushmore and he said, well, we’ve had a lot of people up here, which means that other people are going hey, let’s go to a not crazy state for a while. And I’ve been to South Dakota many times and God bless them, great people up there. There’s not a lot up in South Dakota. I mean, after you’ve seen Mount Rushmore, there’s not a whole lot else you’re going to see up there. But if there’s a lot of people coming up, it’s probably because there’s something that they appreciate about a State that respects the rights of the individual and trust them enough to make good decisions. And that’s certainly something that you have not seen a lot of governors do.
Well, the fact that Larry was saying that their economy now this year after the shutdown is right on line and to where it was last year. And you look at that, that is a big deal. And I love the comment that South Dakota is one of the States you can hardly tell that there’s been a pandemic, they left it open. You know, and there were a few European nations that did the same thing. They did not shut things down, they left it open. And among the European nations, they have the best stats. They left it open and people did really well and the COVID, it was a lot less impactful there.
It’s interesting too when he identified that financially, they’re doing fairly well even though agriculturally, he said look, that was already hard industry to begin with. So, this hasn’t specifically directly affected it, maybe on some level. But right this notion that they didn’t shut down, they trusted the people and they have not destroyed their economy, right? Well, what a novel thought that you can trust people to be wise and certainly give people advice. Let them know what’s going on. Let them know the numbers. Be transparent and be open about this. Explain to people the risks and dangers. If you think it’s wise for them to wear masks, say hey, we think it’d be really smart for you to wear masks, but you are adults, make wise decisions. We think it’s safe for you to practice social distancing, but you’re adult, be smart about this.
We have just changed so much of the mentality that the government is no longer representatives there to do our will, they now are the babysitters they’re to take care of us and to feed us when we’re hungry, to pat us on the back, change our diapers, things that is really not the role and purpose of government. Which again, is why South Dakota is so unique in so many areas, because they actually are respecting their people, trusting their people and respecting the rights of their people, left their economy open. And lo and behold, they’re still doing pretty well.
Well, we appreciate you listening today to WallBuilders Live, you can get more of our programming on our website, wallbuilderslive.com. That’s also the place to make that contribution. If you’d like to come alongside us, lock shields with us and help us continue this very important work of restoring America’s constitutional republic, of bringing back the true history of our nation. You know, America is on trial in many ways right now in the public sphere, in the debate out there. Are we a good nation or bad nation? Have we been a force for good for the world? Or are we somehow evil as being portrayed by so many people today? It’s very important that we know the truth of America’s history.
You can get that listening to WallBuilders Live. You can also get that by going to our website, wallbuilders.com and getting the materials there to educate yourself and your friends and your family. Get into one of our Constitution classes, in fact, host a Constitution class. You can become one of our Constitution coaches at constitutioncoach.com. It’s very easy to do. You don’t have to have any experience in anything like this. You literally use us as the experts, our videos and workbooks. You just put the people in the classroom and it’s an opportunity for you and you can do it online. When I say classroom, that can be an online classroom. Most all of our classes across the country are being done on Zoom in an online fashion, which is a great way to connect with people across the nation as well.
So, do that at constitutioncoach.com today. Get signed up. Host a class yourself. Go through it as you’re hosting it. You don’t have to do any study ahead of time. Just get your friends and family online or in the living room or at the church and hit play and believe me, you will find hope for the future of America.
Thank you so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.