Drawing Lessons from a Government Protest in North Dakota

Governing: It was inevitable that the nationwide anti-shelter-in-place protests would attract willing participants in North Dakota. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large percentage of North Dakotans scoffed it off as a media-driven national panic that was shutting down the American economy for no good reason. After all, they said, flu kills tens of thousands of Americans per year and this was nothing but a slightly more virulent strain of flu. You don’t close the U.S. highway system merely because 38,000 people die in automobile accidents every year.

Besides, North Dakota is an isolated, rural state with one of the lowest population densities in the United States. Any one-size-fits-all set of national protocols for dealing with the coronavirus would unfairly punish a healthy state by lumping it with the hot spots of New York, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, and L.A.

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