Hey everyone, did you know that we in South Dakota and Sioux Falls are living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of lawlessness? And the only way to save us is by walking in a field, or standing on a bridge?

I didn't know that this Mad Max reality had come to pass until I watched Sioux Falls TV recently. It seemed like every other commercial was political ad  telling me our state had become the living embodiment of The Road, and if we want to make it another season we better grab our shopping carts and head for the coast, lest Negan and The Saviors catch up with us.

OK, I may be execrating, a bit. But, it's election season in America and the campaign commercials have started. There are some candidates running for local and state offices that seem to be running on the platform that says our roving bands of crime people are stalking our streets. The only way to stop this incoming asteroid of crime from triggering Armageddon is to get tough on on it.

I generally don’t like this kind of campaigning. It too often uses a cynical storyline to try and scare voters by projecting a negative image of a place. But, let’s assume that these candidates are sincere about fixing drug problems and crime in South Dakota and Sioux Falls.

Clearly, when they say they want to address the problems of drug abuse they are planning to work on expanding the availability of no-cost medical care, like Medicaid. That way when people are sick or injured they have access to legitimate help. Instead of being forced to turn to less reliable means that often lead to addiction and crime.

I also assume that the candidates will be pushing for more low and no cost treatment options. Because drug addiction is a medical problem long before it becomes a criminal problem. Arresting drug users for doing drugs is like using a bucket to fix a leaky roof. All it does is fill up the bucket allowing the rot in the roof to spread. Keeping addicts out of jail and in treatment is the only way to truly address any addition problems. Also, that treatment needs to be professional and scientifically based.

I’m also guessing that their seriousness about addressing drug abuse and crime extends to addressing the problems that lead to drug abuse and then crime. The decline of middle class opportunities, wage stagnation, and medical bankruptcy. Also ensuring access to quality affordable housing, widespread public transportation, and child care so everyone can work.

I’m sure their plans also call for fully funding our education systems in South Dakota. Making sure every school from Lincoln County to Todd County have the tools and professionals to mold our next generation. Doing so protects that generation from becoming trapped in the cycle of poverty that creates the conditions that lead to crime and addiction.

Of course, they also must be planning to expand job training and no-cost higher education. And being honest with voters about the future of our changing economy and want to ensure that everyone can navigate the future world as successfully as possible.

I’m sure this is their plan, because a strong social safety net and educational system creates an educated and energetic populace. And that’s what attracts business investment to South Dakota. That would then continue the state’s rise above the pit that swallows people into addiction and crime.

Yes, I’m sure when the candidates say they will tackle our Meth and other drug problems they mean to help the citizens caught in that dark web of terror and work to address the issues that create those drug and crime problems. Because I’m sure that they know that drug issues can affect any family, any person. It is not an issue of morals. It’s is a health problem exasperated by economics.

That has to be what they mean. They for sure can’t mean that their plans are all about harassing South Dakotans who are down on their luck or struggling. Yeah, I bet they’re smart people, they can’t be talking about destroying families, growing the prison populations and perpetuating the cycle of poverty and addiction; and making it harder for people to get allergy medicine.

Our lives in South Dakota are pretty good, and they can always be better. There is no way to eradicate all addiction and crime. But, there are real, effective, ways to address these problems, to make them less common, and have less of an impact on the community. That in turn makes all our lives better.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its staff, contributors, affiliates or advertisers.

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