Wednesday, April 24, 2024

For safety of all, follow PHD mandate

by Jennifer Drake
| August 1, 2020 1:00 AM

“I will not wear a mask.” “I will not comply with a mask mandate.” “This is a violation of my rights.”

Public health policy should not be dictated by an ill-informed public. Public health policy should not be politicized. Of course there are political aspects to the mask issue; there are with every issue that faces the public at large. And they are not always easily traversed. But we have to try. We MUST do better. That’s why we should focus on the incredibly simple things to do to make this terrible situation more manageable. Simple things like WEARING A MASK.

Wearing a mask is not an infringement on your rights. Anyone who claims so clearly doesn’t have even a basic grasp of what rights are guaranteed by our Constitution. When an individual’s actions threaten the health and safety of the greater community, their actions MUST be curtailed. That’s the point of living in a civilized society. The individual cannot and must not be allowed to threaten the health and well-being of the community as a whole.

It’s laughable when people say that a mask mandate is “Communist” or “un-American.” This nation was built on the tenets of overcoming adversity and doing the right thing even when it is inconvenient. Looking out for each other is not un-American. Listening to scientific consensus is not un-American. Putting important decisions in the hands of our elected officials is not un-American. Wearing a mask to stop the spread of a deadly virus during a global pandemic is not un-American.

The onus is on our elected officials at every level of government, as well as our public health officials, to make decisions for the safety of our community. This is the biggest medical crisis of our generation, and we have been severely let down. In times where it is apparent that the public is not taking it upon themselves to do the right thing, that is exactly when our elected leaders are supposed to step up and set policy. THAT IS THEIR JOB. That’s what Panhandle Health did on July 23rd. And it is our job, as decent Americans, to follow the mandate and do something incredibly simple to protect the health and safety of our community.

More people are getting sick, businesses are struggling to survive (mine included), and the usual courtesy and hospitality of our community has been replaced by name calling, political enmity, and unthinkable discord. Wearing a mask is not, nor should it have ever been, a political issue. It’s an issue of basic human decency and wanting the best for your community and fellow citizens.

To those refusing to wear a mask because you consider it oppression: You have clearly never witnessed true oppression in your life. It is disheartening at best and terrifying at worst. You are hurting my business, you are damaging the reputation of the town that has been my family’s home for five generations, and most importantly, you are putting my children’s health and well-being at risk. You are not a patriot, you are a disgrace.

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Jennifer Drake is a Coeur d’Alene resident and business owner.