We Have Power to Make Things Better


The following is a letter I wrote that appeared in the Grand Forks Herald on October 31, 2020. The title it was given is, “We have power to make things better”.

Over the last month, COVID-19 cases in Grand Forks and across the state have risen to shockingly high numbers. The governor talks of “personal responsibility”, but personal responsibility can't stop a pandemic. Earlier this month, the mayor created a toothless rule that required masks in city buildings, except it didn’t include the one place in town that’s seeing a lot of traffic this week, the Alerus Center.

As we watch state and local leaders mismanage the pandemic, it’s easy to tell ourselves that nothing can be done, that we’ll just have to “wait it out”. Please, don’t believe this. We have the power to make things better. We can combat COVID-19.

Look at other cities in other states. Look at other countries. New Zealand has only four active cases today, yet their population is six times larger than North Dakota’s. Why don’t we learn from them? It’s not easy to implement a solid COVID-19 reduction plan, but people in other places have succeeded, and I believe that North Dakota can, too. Even a small percent decrease in transmission rates can save a large number of lives, and we all have a responsibility to try.

Douglas Perkins