• Open the States

Powerful op-ed: The bean farmer’s guide to social distancing and personal freedom

Americans should be trusted to govern themselves. Our country was founded on the right to self-governance, and if we lose that principle, we lose what has made our country great.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, North Dakota farmer and state senator Terry Wanzek explains that he and his fellow farmers didn't need heavy-handed government edicts to take common-sense precautions to protect their safety. They practice social distancing on their own, and they've kept their communities safe from COVID-19.

When truckers come to our farm for pinto beans, we don’t shake hands or bump elbows. Instead, we practice social distancing: Drivers pull up and roll down their windows. From seven or eight feet away, we tell them where to go and how to get their load. They’ll stay in or near their cab the whole time.
Nobody told us to do this. The governor of North Dakota didn’t issue an executive order. The state’s Health Department didn’t issue guidelines. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a memo on the handling of pinto beans, I haven’t seen it.
We made these rules on our own. They make sense for us as well as for the truckers who come from all over. I’ve seen license plates from Arizona, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
That’s how self-government is supposed to work. It was true for the Founding Fathers and it’s true for us today during the Covid-19 pandemic. As states start to loosen their lockdowns, officials should keep this in mind—and trust American citizens to take responsible steps to stay safe at the workplace and in their homes.

This is exactly right. State and national governments can't stop the spread of COVID-19. They can offer guidance and resources, but only We the People can keep the infection and death rates down.

That's why we're working to Open the States. Hard-working Americans won't continue putting their families and their livelihoods in jeopardy. We must relax the lockdowns, re-open our economy, and get back to work. We can do so safely, but only if we trust the American people to govern themselves.

Senator Wanzek and his fellow farmers are doing just that in North Dakota, and we can do the same in communities across the country. To get involved with your local re-open group, click the red button below.

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