Something very wrong is happening across the land.
We must focus today on Davidson and Williamson counties in Tennessee and the state of Ohio, but this problem is expanding across Florida and several other states as well. Politicians elected to the executive branch of city, county and state government are writing edicts and calling them laws. They are using “emergency powers” and quarantine laws in ways those laws are not intended and are abusing both the law and all of us. They are dictating mask edicts and forcing citizens, against their wills, to wear masks in public at almost all times. They are dictating criminal penalties for failure to comply. In Williamson County, TN, for example, if you are on the street not wearing a mask, you face a Class A misdemeanor with penalties of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
This article from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) makes it clear that the medical value of “masking up” citizens is highly suspect (May 21, 2020). We have all heard the on again off again rhetoric of the CDC and other “experts” on masks. The NEJM article makes it clear that masks are mostly psychological and work best at slowing the “transmission of anxiety.” The studies on medical efficacy of masks in preventing the community spread of COVID-19 are simply inconclusive at best.
There are two more equally difficult problems with this rash of mask edicts. The first is the constitutional process. The executive branch of government at the federal, state and local level does not have the legal authority to create “laws” and attach civil and criminal penalties to those laws. Lawmaking belongs to the legislative branch. Therefore, these laws are an abuse of power on the part of governors and local mayors. The state also does not have the legal authority to force all citizens to buy a product, especially without any public debate or vote.
In addition, there is the question of legal penalties. People can be thrown in jail for not wearing a mask now in Tennessee which includes a county considered one of the most conservative in the nation. And they can be fined $2,500.
Emergency mask laws are a horrid example of elected governors and mayors taking the law into their own hands and abusing citizens. This will continue and get much worse unless “we the people” rise up and put an end to this restriction without representation. This is not a “D” vs “R” issue. There are mask dictators in both parties doing this to all people. If executive dictators can use masks as a power over the people today where will this all end?
Friends, if COVID-19 were the Ebola virus this would be a very different conversation. But COVID-19 is not Ebola. According to Johns Hopkins University, COVID-19 is a mild disease with mild symptoms for the vast majority of people. Shutting down the economy was a tragic overreach that accomplished almost nothing but unnecessary economic pain, debt and destruction. Using masks to shut down human movement is built upon bad science, mistaken models and will hurt more people.
We cannot run away from COVID-19. Like every other RNA-based virus, COVID-19 has to be overcome by our human immune systems and potential vaccines. We don’t have a vaccine yet and when we do, herd-immunity, or overcoming the virus by outlasting it will still be our most essential defense. The great news is that COVID-19 death rates have been and remain extremely low. Therefore, we have more than a fighting chance to beat this virus quickly and masks play only a limited role in this fight at best.
No one is saying “Don’t wear a mask.” If that is where you are most comfortable, fine, but that should be your choice, not the dictate of a local mayor. Some businesses and certainly health care facilities need masks. We all may have reasons to wear them at certain times. No one is saying be irresponsible and place the elderly and most vulnerable at risk. WE GET IT! This is not about the mask. It is about the rule of law and civil liberties. People are smart enough to wear masks voluntarily. Throwing them in jail is just plain stupid and un-American.
What we ARE saying to public officials is this: Don’t put people in jail or fine them for choosing not to wear masks and STOP trying to pass laws outside the constitutional process. You are NOT the Lone Ranger so DROP THE MASK EDICTS!
WHAT TO DO NEXT:
Please contact these Public Officials.
And especially: Armond Budish, Cuyahoga County Executive
Your State Representative and Senator
CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND STATE SENATOR AND ASK THEM TO STOP GOVERNOR DEWINE’S MASK EDICTS
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings
The message is the same. If any local city council should choose to resist an illegal mask edict, they can vote it out of existence for their jurisdiction. Local law enforcement is NOT required to enforce an unconstitutional edict. Please remember, this is a contest over legal process and civil rights, not just about a mask. If executives can dictate law in this emergency, they can dictate law in any emergency.
The message is all the same. Drop the mandatory mask edicts. Let the people decide. Be polite, ask for a written response to your request. If you don’t get one in five days, call them again, email them again, write them again. No threats of any kind are necessary nor should any be made. There is an election coming for all these folks. Just state your case and ask for a response.
You can hear much more about all of this on The Public Square®. Tune in today to the COVID Chronicles for much more.
This is a critical turning point in this legal crisis. What we do today can make all the difference for a generation.
David Zanotti, President/CEO
Rob Walgate, Vice-President
Melanie Elsey, National Legislative Director