Why Fight For Our Rights
Becky E. Hites
July 27, 2020
To face mask, or not to face mask. Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp is now suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over her “edict” that Atlanta’s citizens wear face masks in public and that businesses must require them to open their doors. I recently attended a wedding in Huntsville, AL and face masks were required in all public places and the church even had hand shaking prohibitions on the doors to the building. I hear from some of my liberal friends, “of course, why wouldn’t you wear a face mask?!? It’s in the public’s best interest and “the science says..”.
There are two issues here.
Yes, wearing a face mask is a relatively minor sacrifice for the safety of our citizens…. if they actually work. The “science” has changed several times since the beginning of the pandemic six months ago, and from what I’ve read, what we’re all currently wearing truly doesn’t protect us from the spread of germs. Wash your hands…and wash your hands….and don’t touch your face.
So my first objection is that our leaders are “obligating” the citizenry to an activity that doesn’t actually accomplish anything except communicate a sense of false security.
They don’t have the authority and if they succeed in this disregard of our rights, what’s to stop them for the next random thing they decide to impose on us?
Second, and almost as importantly in my mind, is the empowerment of the bully culture that emboldens any group of citizens to impose their will against the will of their fellow citizens.
We have laws and we have a process for creating and enforcing those laws.
We don’t brand people’s apparel and we don’t have citizen “police” who enforce public health recommendations.
The “public shaming” is bullying and all bullying is unacceptable.
There’s also a constitutional issue. This is the material point of Governor Kemp’s legal action.
The “government” doesn’t actually have the legal authority to mandate such an action. Our founding families were fleeing government oppression and overreach and established our constitution to protect individual liberty.
If I want to eat harmful things (or drink sugar filled sodas), even if it will undoubtably shorten or end my life, it’s my right to do so. My paternal Grandfather continued to roll and smoke cigarettes even after he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given just months to live. If I’m not sensitive to the needs of my fellow citizens and choose not to wear a mask, it’s my right to do so.
There’s also a respect of law issue.
We have a bad habit in this country of passing laws as a social statement with little or no intention of actual enforcement. Or, more damaging, intermittent enforcement.
America is an amazing country because for the most part, we follow “the stove is hot” approach to our laws.
The stove is hot, if you touch the stove, you will be burned.
The stove is hot for EVERYONE, regardless of your social stature, or your skin color, or your religion, or your life style choices.
When you start arbitrarily enforcing parts of the law and not other parts of the law (the highway speed limits spring to mind), then laws become situational and the potential for abuse grows exponentially.
When you establish “laws” that are unenforceable, you erode the authority of, and eventually respect for, the rule of law.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the constitution which established a women’s right to vote (first introduced in 1878 and took 41 years to accomplish). Our female ancestors fought to have their voices counted, at some real risk to their livelihoods (because as you recall, at that period women weren’t allowed to own property, or work to earn a living, or even raise their children without their husband’s permission and consent – my Grandmother had to have a man co-sign the loan on her house even though she had been earning an independent living for 20 years and had saved the down payment on her own).
I strongly object to arbitrary enforcement of arbitrarily determined “suggestions” that have been elevated to a legal position that infringe on my rights.
If they can do it now, what’s to stop them deciding at a later date that something else I want to do isn’t “good” for me, or good for society and passing a “law” skipping the established process for actually making a law to arbitrarily infringe their opinion on me (Mayor Bloomberg in NYC banning large soda fountain drinks for instance). I’d personally like to ban people using the Lord’s name in vain; and that’s actually a commandment from our Creator, but I respect the right of freedom of speech enough that I actually just move out of the space of the offender so I don’t have to hear it. I’d prefer mother’s not kill their babies, but we’ll go through the established law-making process to try and change our laws. We all have a list of things that we’d prefer not to have to deal with but life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL of our citizens is the law, not my dictate of what people should value.