Jonathan Richie BW.tif

American history is full of contradictions. Our nation started with contradictions and continue with many today.

A bunch of white men in powder wigs, many of them slave owners, agreed “all men are created equal” in 1776 while hundreds of thousands of Africans had been stolen from their homes and shipped to the American colonies. They were free labor and were instrumental in creating this nation.

There were over 350,000 slaves in this country in 1800. It took nearly 90 years and a bloody Civil War for those Africans to get their freedom.

Unfortunately, slavery still exists in many parts of the world.

If you want to see a contradiction today, look no farther than the current debate over masks. A lot of people are going around saying they won’t wear a mask because of personal liberty. Where were those people when the Patriot Act was passed by the federal government in 2001?

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act, was designed to give authorities to surveil terrorists better. It was passed after the terrorist attacks on Washington, D.C. and New York City in 2001.

Although politicians overwhelmingly passed the law, constitutional lawyers have argued the law violates fourth amendment rights.

This all got me thinking of all the talk surrounding face masks and all the controversy that goes with them.

My personal and selfish thoughts on masks:

• It isn’t easy to breathe in.

• It doesn’t stay in place, and I have to keep touching and adjusting it.

• For Pete’s sake, what am I supposed to do if I need to cough or god forbid sneeze?

Now, I can match those up against my COVID-19 thoughts

•Nobody knows anything about this disease.

• It can kill people.

• I don’t want to get it, be asymptomatic, and then end up leading to the deaths of a bunch of older people.

So, when you match my pros and cons, it appears to me that someone who cares solely for their own well-being would choose not to wear a mask.

Is it that simple? Probably not.

Here’s a question that is much more simple - what is more important to you, your liberty, or the safety of the collective population?

The CDC says face masks are “one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus.” I’m usually not the person saying to trust the government, but this is a global pandemic that none of us have seen in a century.

I doubt the controversy surrounding the wearing of masks will go away. The coronavirus hasn’t directly affected the lives of many where we live, and that’s a good thing. If we had seen a large spike in cases and deaths, would we still be debating mask wearing?

Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.