FARGO — I recently returned from a family trip to a once great city, San Francisco. I didn't choose the destination for the big city charm and gorgeous views that I remember from visits decades ago. Our daughter chose employment in the Silicon Valley for her first career stop as a college graduate. While the company was marvelous, I found myself appalled at how fast we, as Americans, are willing to blindly follow a directive with very little critical thinking.

You cannot go into a restaurant, hotel, store or public restroom there without showing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. While we have our fair share of fear-mongering and overly COVID cautious North Dakotans, I am confident these requirements wouldn't fly in the Roughrider state. If you are OK with this new norm, maybe you'd see San Francisco as a utopia. Go for it!

I’d advocate for a North Dakota that champions health freedom. Or at least one that follows the law.

COVID-19 has brought an enormous amount of disruption to our previous norms. Under the guise of emergency powers, governors and state health officials can pretty much do whatever they choose. And legislative bodies are slow to venture in to the uncomfortable votes to remove or alter those emergency powers. Many employers have joined the parade.

Is this the American way?

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It should go without saying but here goes: If the COVID shot makes sense for you and your personal health situation, you alone, in consultation with your family and health care provider, should make that decision. But if you believe that the risks associated with the shot make the benefit something you're not willing to take, you alone should make that call.

But in places such as San Francisco, and many others, it's a condition of employment, and entry. Simply put, it's chilling and ridiculous.

History is chock full of examples where this power can be abused. Are we living in that age again?

What happened to civil rights?

Big tech, Team Biden, and far too many government officials (especially unelected health officers coercing school administrators) have silenced and discouraged debate over the unknown from vaccines rushed to market. Same with the long available data to debunk the “silver bullet” of masking to block the microscopic viral load of COVID carriers. I have heard grave concerns about this from multiple biotech and trusted health care experts in North Dakota.

Why are we so cautious to retain health privacy and the freedom to make our own decisions? The more we give, the more society will take. Never, ever, ever let anyone force you into a decision that you do not want to undertake. The moment we lose that we lose what made this country great: Freedom!

Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, KFYR AM 550, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at ScottH@FlagFamily.com