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  • Last modified 81 days ago (Sept. 15, 2021)

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Learning to be
a real conservative

Republican leaders are absolutely right to object that last week’s proclamation by President Biden forcing many to become vaccinated against COVID-19 infringes on personal liberty.

But unless the Grand Old Party wants to go the way of the Grand Old Dinosaurs, it has to go a step further and understand that the proclamation, like the most famous one ever issued by a Republican president, was the right thing to do even if it stretched legality.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln had no real authority to issue his Emancipation Proclamation — save for the moral authority that slavery was an intolerable wrong.

It’s also an intolerable wrong for die-hard (or should we say die-easy?) libertarians to insist on business as usual and assert their right to infect others merely because they don’t want to be bothered to get a mask or are afraid of science, needles, or doing anything that smacks of being civilized.

America is all about personal rights. Each of us, unless we’re threatening, can throw our arms around as much as we want, but that right extends only to the tip of someone else’s nose.

If Republicans — and this writer counts himself among them — are serious about personal rights, the right to not be infected because of someone else’s stubbornness must also be recognized.

If requiring masks, testing, and vaccination is too much, the only alternative is to have police arresting all unvaccinated and untested people who come within six feet of anyone else. The charge, already is on the books, would be reckless aggravated assault. Look it up. The behavior exactly fits the definition of that crime.

Similarly, anyone who doesn’t do his or her part to stop the again increasing spread of the disease should be ineligible to suckle the largess of government aid made available to pandemic victims. Entire communities could be disqualified if the percentage of vaccinated residents falls below recommended levels.

Or we could do the simpler and easier thing: Be tested, get a shot, and wear a mask. We can’t imagine that Republicans would rather create bigger government to handle the pandemic when such a simple alternative exists.

God forbid that upcoming mass events locally, the likes of which epidemiologists say necessitate quarantine after attending, will not become super-spreader events.

If everyone stays as far apart as possible, gets tested, always wears a mask, covers sneezes, and washes hands, and does all the other things dutiful members of society should do, maybe we’ll be lucky and the first of a series of fall events won’t end up having to be the last.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified Sept. 15, 2021

 

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