Under Governor Doug Burgum’s leadership, the State of North Dakota apparently wants to convince us all to wear masks in the fight against COVID-19. And they’re willing to pony up nearly $2 million to do it. As reported by KFYR:
“To help promote the use of masks, the state is offering $1.8 million from the CARES Act budget to a firm to help develop public awareness advertisements for mask wearing and other health initiatives. However, [Burgum’s] opponents think this is a lot of money for something he could mandate by executive order.”
According to Valley News Live, the campaign was set to begin two days ago, but “three of the 10 private firms that submitted bids for [the] education effort had equal proposals”. As a result, the “effort” has been delayed another week.
Thankfully, Governor Burgum hasn’t given in to the pressure to issue a mask mandate. While he’s gone on record saying that “masks are essential”, he’s also made this observation:
“Maybe in some other states (mask mandates) might work, but in North Dakota it doesn’t matter what we do or what we say: There are people who will not wear a mask.”
He’s right. Which brings me to my point— Why waste $1.8 million on an ad campaign that any logical person knows is merely an exercise in futility? Simply put, very few — if any — people are going to see these ads and suddenly have the COVID version of “coming to Jesus”. It just isn’t going to happen.
So, let’s be honest with ourselves. Like so many other things the government does, this is nothing short of a feel-good effort by the state to do “something”. And in doing so, they’re wasting time and tax dollars.
Even many proponents of a mask mandate will admit the futility of this feel-good campaign. In fact, it’s one of the reasons they support the idea of the governor strong-arming us with a mandate instead. But in their quest for the heavy-handedness of government to come down upon the citizenry, they ignore the reality of what Burgum has admitted— you simply can’t force people to wear masks.
Furthermore, how many of our local law enforcement officers in the state want to suddenly become the Mask Patrol? I’m guessing not many. There’s far better things to do— like dealing with actual criminals. Even NPR has noted the problem with enforcement of such mandates across the country.
While government’s response to the Coronavirus has been one of moving the goal posts, there is something that now remains constant— If you’re fearful of getting COVID-19, stay home. But let the rest of us get on with our lives.
We certainly don’t need mask mandates or a government “education effort” to do that.
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