Port: This is not the new normal

If there is one thing we humans have proved, throughout history, it's that we have an endless capacity to adapt, innovate, and invent.

The marquee of the Fargo Theatre offers a message to passers-by during the coronavirus pandemic. David Samson / The Forum
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MINOT, N.D. — How is everyone enjoying their free trial of socialism?

Some wag in one of my social media streams posted that.

It's funny, and at least somewhat accurate. Our neighbors who unironically promote socialism like to paper over their ideology's monstrous, corpse-strewn history by suggesting anything the government does today is socialism.

If you send a letter in the U.S. Mail, they tell us, you might as well be Karl Marx.

You're not dumb. I don't think I need to point out the absurdity of that to you.


Still, the things we see right now — widespread shortages , calls for censorship , restrictions on assemblies , a burgeoning police state — are all hallmarks of socialist leadership.

Everyone staying at home, and not doing much of anything, is pretty much what the Cult of Greta Thunberg has been screaming about.

Much of what has been justified by the virus in this terrible moment in our nation's history is what authoritarian regimes do as a matter of course.

Thankfully, despite what you may be reading or hearing elsewhere, this is just a moment.

Our old lives aren't slipping away.

We're going to come out of this.

We're going to be ok.

If there is one thing we humans have proved, throughout history, it's that we have an endless capacity to adapt, innovate, and invent. As long as we don't let the ideologues who would use this crisis as an opportunity to force on us the strictures of their philosophies, we will overcome this.


Some of the changes we're seeing may even be positive. President Donald Trump, derided endlessly in the national news media as some sort of authoritarian monster, has come under fire during this crisis for not being authoritarian enough. Specifically, for expecting state and local governments to take the lead.

Yet, that's precisely how the American system of government was supposed to work.

Let's hope future leaders emulate Trump's restraint.

The virus has also caused us to break through some of the red tapes holding us back from advances in working and receiving services remotely. In the area of medicine, specifically, what we're allowing now in terms of remote health care may well open the door wider to accessible health care in the future.

One response our political leaders have had to this crisis, too, has been a lifting of thousands and thousands of pages of government regulations. Their intent, in the moment, has been to grease the skids of relief efforts.

Long term, though, perhaps many of those rules and regulations need not come back.

If we don't need them now, did we ever need them?

It will be a good debate to have going forward.


Because that's where we're all heading.


Let's all do what we need to do right now. Love your family. Help your neighbors where you can.

Prepare for a bright future still lays ahead.

To comment on this article, visit

Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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