Zaleski: Mandates, COVID and idiots

Jack Zaleski shares feedback he received after last week's column, "Making the Trump plague worse."

Jack Zaleski column mug.jpg
jack zaleski column mug

Reaction to my September 18 column, “Making the Trump plague worse,” came quickly. A gratifying majority liked what I wrote. Not all. A sample:

Pat from Fargo emailed: “Outstanding article regarding West Fargo schools and the governors of both North & South Dakota regarding this terrible virus. I don’t always agree with you, but this time I totally agree…”

Bill from Mayville, N.D., said: “Well said, Jack. I have a granddaughter in kindergarten in WF. Hoping and praying she stays healthy.

Cathy from Fargo emailed: “Thanks for your column. My son received an email from West Fargo schools stating my grandson has been exposed to a student who is positive. They said they will do no further contact tracing, and said my grandson could continue to attend school, but to watch for symptoms. They didn’t even recommend testing … And he was exposed four days ago and just now the parents hear about it? Idiots.”

A West Fargo grandfather said: “What a kick-ass column! I love your word choice/descriptors of ‘noisy, nasty gaggle of shrews’ and ‘pseudo-science propagandists.’ Couldn’t agree more. I have six grandkids in the WF district, only one old enough to be vaccinated (and she is). But two have kids in their classes who tested positive … No quarantine, no contact tracing -- nothing. One of my granddaughters was exposed, first day of school -- first grade … takes the joy out of that life benchmark. Selfish, thoughtless scum, who don’t care enough about their own kids to protect them, let alone my loved ones. Thanks again for (speaking out).”


Connie from Fargo said: “Thank you for your great column pointing out the truth of the Trump plague. Data Doug has no backbone. Neither do the WF school board or superintendent.”

A long time Fargo reader called: “Thank God for your voice of reason. Doug Burgum has no business being governor. He’s an idiot.”

This shot from Aaron that reflected similar sentiments from a few others : “It was a good laugh to see your own paper contradict you,” referring to recent articles that purportedly showed only a few cases in Fargo schools where masks are mandated, and only a few in West Fargo schools where masks are not. “Get the masks off the kids. … I am vaccinated. My wife is vaccinated. Our school age boys are vaccinated. We are not anti masks or even anti vaccines. We are anti MANDATES. VEHEMENTLY.

To which I say: Reread the column. I said West Fargo numbers are suspect because the schools “are being less than forthcoming and timely about reporting the extent of COVID spread among students.” Forum columnist Jim Shaw alluded to the same situation a few days ago. My sources (and his) among parents, teachers and others know what they are seeing. Their observations are consistent and reliable. Also, refer to the above confirming accounts from Cathy and a West Fargo grandfather.

Against government mandates? What hypocrisy. Kids cannot go to public school without mandated vaccinations against childhood diseases. The stop sign that says “stop!” or be fined is a government mandate. Certain professionals (doctors, teachers, social workers, police officers, etc.) are required by law to report suspected child abuse. It’s a mandate. Grow up.

Maurice from Fargo, apparently trying to be clever, wrote: “Yup, yup --- you are the only one with a brain in the whole world, Jack. Donald Trump and Doug Burgum are both idiots and you are much smarter than either one of them. Yup, yup, uh huh, that’s right.”

To which I say: Smarter than Trump? That’s a low bar. Smarter than Maurice is even lower.

Click here for more of Jack Zaleski's columns.


Zaleski retired in 2017 after 30 years as The Forum’s editorial page editor. He is the author of a new history of Forum Communications Company . Contact him at or 701-241-5521 or 701-566-3576.

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

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