“Athletic shoes required to use the fitness center.”
That’s the sign that greets patrons of the fitness center at our Dover Modern Maturity Center. And my first (admittedly impish) thought was, “Doesn’t that take away my freedom of choice?”
As I thought about it, I came to the realization that any mandate (some are called laws) by its very nature takes away one’s freedom of choice. For example, I have no choice but to drive on the right side of the road because there’s a law that requires that I drive there, thereby taking away my choice to drive on the left. If I deliberately choose to break that law, there are consequences. I also have no choice but to pay my taxes. Paying taxes is mandated and backed up by even more laws. If I choose to ignore that mandate and refuse to pay my taxes, there are consequences. These laws are in place for the good of the citizens of the country and to maintain order as we engage in our daily activities. Cooperating with them enhances our safety and our quality of life. Bucking them is potentially dangerous.
And so, my head hurts when I hear that certain group of people yelling about their freedom being taken away when mandates are put in place requiring us to wear masks. Why don’t they feel their freedoms are being limited or taken away when they’re told to drive on the right side of the road or that they’re required to pay their fair share of the tax burden placed on all American citizens or even to wear athletic shows in a fitness center? The motoring/tax/shoe laws exist to provide for the common good. So do mask mandates.
At what point do mask mandates differ from any other mandate or law enacted by the government? I can’t believe that the country has let this controversy get so out of hand – it’s a stupid strip of cloth that covers your mouth and nose, for heaven’s sake. What “freedoms” are being taken away by requiring everyone to wear one, especially since doing so contributes to everyone’s well-being? Are those who object to wearing a mask secretly trying to undermine the health of our people? Is their true intent to make sure everyone dies of COVID? Maybe they’re on a suicide mission, trying to convince everyone not to wear masks so they themselves can contract the virus and die a suffocating death. That’s about the only sense I can make of it all. As with any other mandate, it’s right and proper that not following it should carry consequences, if not legal ones, then terminal ones.
The current information seems to support the reports that unvaccinated people contracting COVID (many of them dying), and that a significant percentage of those people were anti-mask wearing. Look, I’m as eager to get back to normal as anyone. Masks are inconvenient. Masks are hot in the summertime. Masks make it a little harder to breathe than when we’re not wearing them. But if something as simple as wearing a mask is going to return us to normalcy quicker, it is – in my humble opinion – a small price to pay.
Let’s save our “freedom robbing” rhetoric for more serious situations than strapping a piece of cloth over our faces.