My grandson started second grade a few weeks ago in the State of Florida, which happens to be ruled by a Governor who believes that Covid related policy is a matter of personal choice as opposed to the health of the people to whom he swore an oath to protect. I know that there are many people who believe that our first amendment rights are threatened by things like wearing a mask, or putting on seatbelts, or having a drinking age, or encouraging people not to smoke, and I try to see things from their perspective, but I just can’t grasp the argument.
In my grandson’s school district masks are mandatory, but parents were given the option of opting out of the requirement that their child wears a mask. The result is that half of the children wear masks and half don’t, which greatly diminishes the protection of the children and their teachers. We know that wearing a mask is more effective in reducing the risk to others as opposed to one’s own health. So, as I see it, half of the parents are OK with having their children protected but have little interest in protecting others. It’s just plain selfish.
A common argument heard at school board meetings is that forcing a child to wear a mask is “child abuse”. Really?? The absurdity of that reasoning is astounding and diminishes the horror and perversity of those children who are true victims of abuse. No child has ever died from wearing a mask, and one can argue that the true abusers are those who expose their child to sickness and enable their child to unwittingly spread the virus to others. I have also heard the arguments that equate mask mandates with the controls implemented during Nazi Germany. As someone who has listened to family members speak of the horrors of being in concentration camps, I simply pity those who have the ignorance to utter these words.
I wish I could say that I lived in a world where people could be trusted to make decisions that both protect themselves and foster the betterment of all, but that is not the case. There are certain mandates that transcend politics and must be governed by common sense. There are those who disregard the science and believe that masks play a minimum role in controlling the virus, and they certainly have the right to buy into this. However, even if there was a slight chance that it could protect your child, why would a parent not take that chance? I would go to the end of the earth to do anything that might protect my child.
I heard the same arguments when the use of seatbelts became mandatory. Yet, their use has saved countless numbers of lives over the years. Yes, people still die everyday in car accidents while wearing seatbelts, but the bottom line is that fewer people die. Most people do not feel that they are being controlled by a conspiracy when they buckle up, nor do they feel violated.
It was not too long ago, when we had a handful of Covid cases and one victim in critical condition that we were told by our President that, due to his actions, the virus was completely contained and a non-factor. Ever since we have been ravaged by this killer. My own local hospital system, a hospital that was named among the top 100 in the country, now looks like a war zone. On any given night a hundred people can be seen lying on blankets on the concrete paths outside the hospital, with a 12 hour wait time to get attention, and that attention will most likely be by a practitioner who is not a medical doctor. Covid hospitalizations and deaths are breaking records, more Covid children are hospitalized that ever before, and little more that 50% of people are vaccinated. This virus will not simply go away anytime soon as more variants rear their ugly heads.
Yes, we are a divided country. One would think that our common thirst for survival would be the one thing that would foster unity, but alas that has not been the case. Hell, we won’t even put on a freaking mask.