Dear anti-maskers:

So sorry that some have called you selfish, as if clinging to the false freedom of masklessness is some simple breach of social norms. We all know that these are not normal times. We are at war, and you are collaborating with the enemy.

Earlier generations of Americans mobilized against the malevolent forces that threatened the world. They worked together and sacrificed and fought to defeat the threat. They stormed fortified beaches under heavy fire and ejected the enemy from occupied lands.

Not this time. As the novel coronavirus proliferated, the preening incompetence of the White House made the United States an easy target for invasion. Now we are the occupied nation, fighting a scattered resistance with unity of effort only at the lowest levels. We have stacked the bodies of 280,000 of our fellow Americans around our undug foxholes. Undug because our leaders lacked the courage, competence, and moral authority to unite us in the face of a common enemy. They have retreated under a white flag, and the anti-maskers and hydroxychloroquine pushers have followed, surrendering their weapons and leaving their shields scattered on the battlefield.

Here in North Dakota, the coronavirus found Doug Burgum, the perfect administrator for use by an occupying force. The milquetoast governor stands ready to walk back any policy at the slightest resistance from coronavirus collaborators like state Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot, who hopes to bring in a cherry-picked “retired military respiratory expert” to refute the claim—for which there is a strong consensus among public health experts—that wearing a mask can prevent the spread of coronavirus via small exhaled droplets. Perhaps that testimony will be followed by a lecture on the benefits of coughing directly into surgical wounds.

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Afterward, the happy legislators of the Coronavirus Collaborator Caucus can retreat to their OANN Den for a lesson on the new single-step scientific method (state your claim as a fact and repeat it relentlessly), and an alternative-fact download from the latest iteration of Joseph Goebbels or Tokyo Rose.

Meanwhile, we North Dakotans fighting in the resistance against COVID-19 will soldier on and take care not to trip over all those discarded shields.

Hammer lives in Velva, N.D.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.