Let me get this straight. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he won't mandate masks in public because it would be too difficult to enforce. Gosh, if that's that's the bar for regulations, we shouldn't need any laws at all. Imagine a Utopia without speed limits, DUI enforcement or stop signs — bumper cars 24/7 with no seat belts and exploding gas tanks.
It sounds glorious in a Mad Max sort of way. Defund the police yesterday.
The reason this concept makes so much sense is that Americans, and North Dakotans in particular, believe in personal responsibility. Plus, we're North Dakota Smart. We're good enough, we're smart enough, and doggone it, people like us. Except for Canada, which somehow, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, managed to convince Mexico to pay for a wall between Grand Forks and Winnipeg. I think Fisher Industries got the bid so it'll be less of a wall and more of a detour.
Sure, North Dakota's leading the nation in hoax cases per capita, making us look irresponsible and stupid, but it's certainly not political malpractice and nothing a $1.8 million feel-good marketing campaign won't fix. Slogan: “Don't Breathe on Grandma.” Besides, numbers-schmumbers, Burgum is only intermittently data-driven. This just isn't one of those times. Also, the reason more North Dakotans are dying is because we're testing more.
Leadership is overrated. Sometimes you just have to ignore science and medical professionals and trust your political survival instincts and do nothing. Then, even as the Last Rites echo across the prairie, you'll have enough spare time to sign on with other Republican governors in support of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Because she's pro-life and we can count on her to stamp out those Obamacare death panels.
Our current situation may seem dire, but that's where nonleadership comes in. Remember that time in 1944, when Patton's exhausted 3rd Army rescued the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne? Soldiers marched 100 miles through ice and snow and launched an attack in a snowstorm five days later. They were self-starters. “You're on your own,” Patton told them. And they did it without masks.
Our veterans aren't done sacrificing, either. They're proudly and willingly dying in nursing homes across the nation for your right not to wear a mask. We should note that they do have underlying medical conditions. Bullet holes, shrapnel, Agent Orange ... that sort of thing.
I suppose we could be “North Dakota Nice” to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who helped build this state, but isn't it cooler to be “North Dakota Tough?” Grandpa will understand. He's had a good run.
Sure, North Dakota nursing homes are overflowing into crowded hospitals, but the good news is the free market is stepping up, and funeral homes are handling the hospital overflow. This is why you want a businessman in charge.
Doctors and nurses must be loving all the overtime, too, the newfound sense of danger that comes with the job, and the God-like life and death decisions they get to make when there are too many patients and not enough beds.
North Dakota Smart ... North Dakota Nice ... Personal Responsibility ... Surely, in time, that will work. If only we could mandate platitudes.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.