There are a few four-letter words which entice such passion. I am certain you can think of one or two. Never, not in my lifetime, did I think MASK would or could be one such word. It’s become an expletive to some people. It’s the elephant in the room. The thing no one wants to have a real discussion about… wait, isn’t that most EVERYTHING anymore? We have become a nation pissed off about our constitutional rights on everything. Even things which are not covered by the constitution are somehow now bearing one’s constitutional rights. I must have missed that lesson on the right to wear or not wear a mask in Mr. Denos’s Ohio History class at Norwalk Middle School or in Mr. Allen’s Government class at Norwalk High School. Perhaps that Bill or amendment was passed after 1989-1990. Certainly, if it was in the state Constitution, Mr. Denos would have covered it, or in the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Allen would have covered it.
I think people mistake personal rights for Constitutional rights. What is right for you is not right for all. I practice meditation, daily. I know a lot of people who would rather have their toenails ripped off one by one than to sit still for 30 minutes of meditation. Yet, many of the same people ask me what am I doing as of late to be so “chill”… I choose to meditate. It works for me. It is a personal choice. However, my right to meditate is a Constitutional right, though I do not always call upon the Divine in meditation practice, freedom of religion is covered in that much referenced First Amendment. Many people, especially as of late, have assumed a variety of interpretations of the First Amendment to match their desires to fit their rights and freedoms as U.S. citizens. Still, wearing or not wearing a mask, verbatim, is not covered in the U.S. Constitution. You can interpret the law however you want, it doesn’t make it so. If I get a ticket for drunk and disorderly, can I use the Constitution to get out of my charges now?
“The officer has no grounds to arrest me, your honor. I was intoxicated, yes. However, it was my right and freedom of religion, to consume wine, as it is communion and since I cannot get to church, I take communion at home. And disorderly, I was celebrating the Holy spirit…” Don’t get any ideas. I doubt it will fly.
Sure, as a writer, I can interpret scenarios to fit my needs and make my points. However, this doesn’t make what I write true or lawful, just because I say it is. So many people have used these last four months to become well-educated in constitutional law. They have no problem educating everyone on how right they are and how wrong you are. I’ve yet to have one such scholar cite the area of the constitution that covers mask wearing.
No one is taking away your rights by telling you to wear a mask. Wearing a mask protects others in the event you could be a carrier of COVID-19. If you feel your rights are infringed having to wear a mask, imagine how someone might feel if you choose not to. Your right to not wear a mask is more important than my right to health. Actual rights and personal preferences/choices are NOT the same things.
Here is the other thing: before judging someone for wearing or not wearing a mask, how about doing one more thing? Mind your business. I am not obligated to tell you why I wear a mask no more than you are obligated to tell me why you don’t. Certain people are exempt from wearing masks. Certain people feel safer wearing them. It’s not your business. Some people feel they are as ineffective as the soccer ball wearing one in the picture above. Others feel they are quite effective. Statistics show when we obliged the efforts to keep spikes low, we succeeded. But we all know statistics, like the Constitution, are open for interpretation.
Bottom line, make smart choices for yourselves. You cannot predict how your choices will affect someone else. Mind your business and be safe. But also, be kind. I won’t judge you for not wearing a mask, don’t judge me for choosing to.
Be well. Be kind. Be you.