Beware the politician offering to cure every public ill – only liars make such promises, which no human can keep. Nevertheless, an effective council can take steps that elevate community health, seizing opportunities and backing initiatives that protect local families. We should conceive of "health" as encompassing multiple facets; it’s vital we maintain a holistic perspective. Experience teaches that if we obsess on one vector, we’re bound to ignore other deadly threats. I’m thrilled our brilliant doctors and scientists have made substantial progress combatting the Covid pandemic. But it’s pointless to protect Americans from the virus if we allow them to be murdered by criminals or if an interminable economic shutdown leaves millions wallowing in depression and succumbing to opioids.
No council or mayor can deliver perfect health, but we can do more to protect our local community. From grappling with Covid, we’ve learned valuable lessons. On one point the evidence is clear: lockdowns do not save lives. Covid survival rates in regions that issued mandatory “stay at home” orders are indistinguishable from survival rates in communities that offered churches, businesses, and citizens the freedom to choose. Meanwhile, lockdowns’ severe economic costs increased poverty, substance abuse, crime, and suicide.
Becoming a healthier city means more than washing hands and getting folks vaccinated. We must nurture physical, mental, and economic health. It’s vital we support doctors, nurses, hospitals, and the medical community, helping these heroes battle infectious disease. But let’s extend that campaign, improving public health in all areas. We can, with innovative thinking and public commitment, reduce violent crime, a scourge that has increased since 2015. We can do more to inspire healthy marriages and eliminate child abuse, protecting the most vulnerable among us. Working together, let’s curtail the plague of hard drugs – toxins that debase the body and pollute the mind. Simultaneously, let’s protect psychological health, helping friends escape
the abyss of desperation. Cooperating with local churches and other community organizations, let’s enlarge and enrich the public support network, lifting neighbors in crisis and helping them avoid destructive choices. Let’s promote cardiovascular health, encouraging active lifestyles, nutritious diets, and community sports. Of course, none of these ideas has a chance to succeed without a healthy economy. It’s vital we sustain small businesses and empower local employers! Sioux Falls residents who secure good jobs can access better medical treatment and are less tempted by the evils of crime, drugs, and despair.