Florida’s anti-mandate governor was caught on camera seemingly shaming young people who were to stand behind him from wearing masks.
At this point, as the COVID-19 pandemic looks to be moving toward an endemic, you either believe in wearing masks or you don’t. You either wore them at some point over the past two years or you didn’t.
Some people chose to support mask mandates in which people were required to wear masks. Others argued that the wearing masks should be a personal decision, a matter of “individual liberty,” that no one else should dictate.
If there is a politician who opposes such mandates who might easily come to mind, particularly here in the southeast, it might be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Back in October, he posted on Twitter a quote from the father of a child with Down Syndrome. That father said his child said someone forcibly tied a mask to his daughter’s face without parental consent. DeSantis quoted the father, who said, “[Mask mandates] have nothing to do with masks and science and everything to do with power and control.”
“This is unacceptable,” DeSantis said.
Back in July, DeSantis issued an executive order designed “to protect parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks.” The order did not ban wearing masks. That’s important. Instead, it the order targeted requirements to wear them.
We’ve heard this “freedom to choose” argument before.
Shouldn’t ‘freedom to choose’ go both ways for wearing masks?
The Republican governor criticized a group of students who donned face masks Wednesday during a visit to the University of South Florida, The Hill reported.
WFLA-TV tweeted a video clip during which microphones picked up his audio.
“You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off,” he said. “Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we got to stop with COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is, this is ridiculous.”
He shook his head and huffed as he turned toward the lectern.
Yes, he said, “If you want to wear it, fine.” He also asked them to take them off. He accused them of taking part in “COVID theater.”
If you believe people have the freedom to choose, let them choose.
Many of the people who oppose mask mandates — and vaccine mandates for that matter — aren’t against wearing masks or even taking the vaccine. They simply argue those decisions should be up to the individual, not up to political leaders.
While turning health concerns into an argument about liberty seems a bit misguided to some, if you accept their argument on face value, you should see a problem here.
More importantly, if you take action to “guarantee” people the freedom to choose, you don’t then criticize them for making their choice.
If you while in a position of authority, attempt to pressure others to stop doing something, how is that allowing them the freedom to choose what they wish to do?
If you believe that mask mandates are only about “power and control,” one might reasonably ask what you’re trying to exercise if you chide those who make their own choice.
They’re doing what you said you wanted them to be able to do. If it’s really about their freedom and no one else’s control, why would you have a problem with that?
It’s either about choice or it isn’t. It’s either about personal freedom and liberty or it isn’t.
You can’t have it both ways.