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Dewey Thompson

Holts Summit

Dear Editor:

As a 60-something Baby Boomer and a Vietnam-era veteran, I believe the political party I grew up in has become a population of whiny crybabies.

Examples: LTE today about the "mandate" to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is tyranny and the writer will now "never take any version of it." Josh Hawley penning a scathing letter to the president about an "unlawful vaccine mandate."

This is weak-minded thinking and stunningly poor logic. People die unnecessarily from COVID-19 because of this perverse misunderstanding of what freedom means. Earlier this week a heart patient in Alabama died because he was unable to locate a hospital that would admit him.

In a pandemic, we humans affect each other. The collective well-being of the population requires collective action. Regulations to restrict socially harmful behavior to promote socially beneficial behavior are appropriate and necessary.

Those who refuse to wear masks or socially distance often argue requirements to do so infringe on their freedom. But this is backward. Our individual freedoms stop when it infringes on the freedom of others.

You refusing to vaccinate or wear a mask can literally deprive another citizen of their right to life itself. And then, you, banging the drum of freedom, will point to our Declaration of Independence and its words about "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Hypocritical? Yes, I think so.

Perhaps an argument for those who refuse to wear masks or social distance that are also prideful Christians. Could we interpret the Sixth Commandment to include "Thou shalt not spread infectious diseases when thou can avoid doing so?"

As to Hawley's legal whining, I would refer to Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905). "The liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint." That, folks, was written well over 100 years ago.

I view COVID-19 precisely as I would any other threat to the well-being of the citizens of this country. I will close this rant with a quote from the science fiction writer Robert E. Heinlein in his seminal book "Time Enough for Love," 1973: "Those who refuse to support and defend a state have no claim to protection by that state."

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