Right-wing hypocritical on local mandates

The North Dakota House this week passed, by a narrow margin, a bill prohibiting state and local governments from enacting facemask mandates.

Big mistake.

Minot Rep. Jeff Hoverson said the bill prevents “unelected, wealthy bureaucrats who are robbing our freedoms and perpetuating lies” from requiring masks. Hoverson termed the mandates “diabolical silliness.”

Other bill supporters said masks don’t prevent the spread of the coronavirus, though North Dakota’s case count dropped big-time after mandates issued by cities like Minot and Fargo, and by Gov. Burgum.

Other factors were also responsible for the slide in cases, but the mandates were crucial.

I surely hope we’re not headed back to the attitudes a disheartening number of residents displayed during the early days of the pandemic. Back in April or May, wearing a facemask at a local hardware store, I was approached by another customer, proclaiming: “What the h – – l is that? We don’t wear that s- – t around here.” He departed before I, shocked from the admonition, could respond.

That was the attitude, often political, of too many in Minot and North Dakota. It was not uncommon to be ostracized or criticized for wearing a mask or advocating their use. But the majority of us gradually accepted the efficacy and importance of mask-wearing, social distancing and avoiding crowds.

Now is not the time to totally relax. It looked like we had COVID on the run until a week or two ago. It’s still dangerous, it’s still killing people, and facemasks still help.

I would think there’s a state Constitutional concern about stripping the governor’s power to issue a mandate.

And the legislation is hypocritical when it comes to local mandates. Where was the right-wingers’ love of local control when local governments wanted to mandate masks before the state did?

I’d posit that Rep. Hoverson has been listening to too much of BEK’s “NoFilter with Debbie.” But he’s very capable of coming up with such dangerous ideas himself.

This is the same right-wing Bastiat member who, in this session, sponsored a bill to provide financial help for couples who adopted, but only if they are married and heterosexual. Same-sex married couples need not apply.

Two years ago, he objected to and was “saddened by” a Hindu religious leader delivering an invocation at a House session. So much for freedom of religion.

He has quickly taken the lead in the hotly-contested race among Minot legislators for being the most “diabolically silly.”

Here’s hoping the state Senate or our non-Bastiat governor will put an end to this bill.


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