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EDITORIAL: Your freedom, your choice

on Monday, 16 August 2021. Posted in Editorials, Local News

EDITORIAL: Your freedom,  your choice

Yes, we believe in individuals’ freedoms and their right to make their own choices.

We also believe in science, experts in the medical field and research that provides us the means to protect our health. Consider the many advances made in the field of health care thanks to research and science.

Polio has very nearly been eradicated from the globe thanks to research and the development of a vaccine. Ponder the many surgical procedures and transplants that can be done today that could only be imagined not so many years ago.

By all means, we need to uphold our individual freedoms above all else. At least, that seems to be a rallying cry among many who oppose face mask mandates and vaccinations in these COVID-19 days.

Applying this line of thinking, let’s now look at other areas where our individual rights are quashed on a daily basis and include them in our stance for our liberties:

• No medical professional ought to have to wash his or her hands and arms, wear scrubs and a face covering when performing surgery. Granted, this speaks to your overall health and the health of others, but ...

• No restaurant should have to follow DHEC guidelines or be punished for not doing so. It’s their right to operate free and clear of annoying rules and regs. It’s your right to choose whether to eat at their establishments. Granted, this speaks to your overall health and the health of others, but ...

• Government should not dictate what speed you should drive on the roads, highways and interstates. Granted, this speaks to your overall health and the health of others, but ...

• Come to think of it, seat belts should be a personal choice, along with whether to text and drive. Granted, this speaks to your overall health and the health of others, but ...

• Government ought not dictate that pharmaceutical companies spell out possible side effects of the drugs we choose to take, nor should food manufacturers be required to provide warnings of potential allergy risks. Granted, this speaks to your overall health and the health of others, but ..

. • There should be no warning labels on household cleaners, either. Granted, this speaks to your overall health and the health of others, but ...

• There should be no penalty for a parent or guardian who leaves a loaded weapon within reach of a child and that child or someone else in the household dies or is seriously injured in an accidental shooting. Granted, this speaks to the child’s overall well-being and the well-being of others, but ...

Sounds more than a tad ridiculous, right?

But is it?

Consider what Gov. Henry McMaster said during a recent press conference.

He acknowledged that face coverings can prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus to others, but he doesn’t want to mandate the wearing of face masks in public schools - despite that more and more younger people and school-aged children are contracting the virus that, in turn, they might pass on to others. He acknowledged that the vaccine is a good thing, even noting that in the event a person does get the virus, the effects are far less serious for those who are vaccinated. All good, but all a matter of individual or parental choice. So a parent making the choice not to make a child wear a face mask at school is OK, even if it might mean the child unknowingly is spreading the virus to classmates and teachers, who in turn might spread it to others.

And is that list any more ridiculous than, say, the overflowing line of cars with people wanting a COVID test versus the extremely short line — maybe four or five — of cars with people wanting to get vaccinated?

Granted, a vaccinated person could wind up with the virus and need testing. Granted, some people have legitimate reasons beyond freedom of choice to bypass the vaccine. However, we’d be willing to bet that if more people got vaccinated when it was available, the line for testing would have been far shorter.

But when did Americans’ individual freedoms and liberties negate the health and well-being of the rest of the citizenry? When did we come to the conclusion that even though masks do lower a health risk, we ought not mandate they be worn in public schools?

Reprinted with permission from The (Greenwood) Index-Journal.

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