I threatened to write the Star Tribune editorial supporting Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s recent mask edict if the Star Tribune editors didn’t get around to it by today. The editors of the Star Tribune have so far exercised their right to remain silent. I am therefore stepping forward to fill the breach. This is the brief editorial written in my sleep for the Star Tribune; this is what I think they would have to say if they waived their right to remain silent. Because of the degree of difficulty involved here, I should probably add that my intent is satirical (as indicated by the high incidence of clichés that I otherwise seek to avoid):
It would be easy to disparage Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s order requiring masks to be worn inside all places of public accommodation in the city, subject to a $1,000 fine. It would be easy, but it would be wrong. COVID-19 has exacted a terrible toll on the city. The toll has been particularly terrible among the vulnerable elderly in long-term care facilities located in the city.
What is going on, by the way, in these nursing homes and assisted-care facilities? We wonder. Perhaps some day a member of our news staff will draw on the latest version of the Minnesota Model that has given such wise “direction” to Governor Walz as he has navigated the crisis and try to figure out this vexing issue. Or perhaps one of our several reporters covering this crisis may think to pose a question about it to Governor Walz or Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm during one of their daily press briefings. Coming from us, they certainly would not take it amiss.
As Governor Walz and Commissioner Malcolm wisely instruct us at every opportunity, the disease has exacted a disproportionate toll on the state’s minority communities. We are not clear on why that is either. We want to be careful not to stigmatize anyone in connection with this terrible disease, however, with the possible exception of the GOP-controlled state senate. We’re talking about you, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.
This is the important point. It may be obvious, but it is true. Governor Walz and Commissioner Malcolm know that, as Minnesotans, we are all on the same team (with the possible exception of the state senate). We appreciate the efforts of Governor Walz and Commissioner Malcolm on our behalf, but they can’t do it all by themselves. They need our help. We all have a role to play.
The least we can do is pitch in and make this minimal effort to suppress the spread of the disease. Let Minneapolis serve as a shining example to the rest of the state. After all, as Governor Walz wisely continues to reminds us, we’re all in this together.