Living in the United States can be tough. In the Declaration of Independence we read that each and every citizen and non-citizen, every man, woman and child, were created by God, and have been given certain unalienable rights: LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS. These truths are the foundations on which this country stands. Many men and women have fought and died to protect these rights.
And yet, here we are – nearly 250 years after the Declaration of Independence was written and signed, and we still struggle to understand how to honor these rights.
My life is just as important as anyone else’s in the world. I deserve to breathe clean air. It is one of my rights to have clean water to drink and bathe in. It is crucial to my survival that the food I have access to is wholesome and nourishing not contaminated with strange ingredients and chemicals that could turn me into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. And it is necessary that I am able to receive proper medical care to prevent me from dying prematurely from disease or injury. Everyone who has ever lived, lives, and will ever live on this earth is worthy and deserving of these basic essentials that promote a healthy life.
I really like this definition of Liberty from Dictionary.com:
freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.www.dictionary.com
Ultimately, LIBERTY, which I think is comfortably synonymous with AGENCY, grants me the freedom to choose to act for myself or be acted upon. LIBERTY DOES NOT keep me from suffering consequences or accepting punishments. Just because I am acting according to my rights does not mean that I am still not wrong.
PURSUIT of HAPPINESS
What does this mean? To me, I believe it means to achieve the American Dream. It means having the freedom to work hard, play hard, and accomplish all of your goals and dreams for life. It means creating better opportunities for future generations. And it means continuing to protect the rights and truths this country was founded on.
Wear a Mask!
I have never lived through a more tremulous experience than we are facing with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Emotions are everywhere. Grief, Anxiety, Depression, Intense Fear, Confusion, Helplessness, Anger, and Frustration plague our hearts and minds even more than the virus itself.
All of these strong emotions fuel the primal fight or flight responses of the brain and prevent us from thinking clearly and behaving rationally. If you don’t believe me, take a few moments and reflect over the toilet paper and grocery shortages and chaos that took place in March. The fury of that time was fueled by all of the overwhelming emotions and rapid fire changes happening all at once.
Unfortunately, even though the initial panic has died down, and we are beginning to adapt to our new reality, there are SOOOO many individuals who still refuse to wear masks while out in the public. Up until this past weekend (July 18th) I was one of them. I was never a vocal protester telling people, “I don’t wear a mask for the same reason I don’t wear underwear – things gotta breathe.” I didn’t post about it on social media. And I 100% didn’t condemn anyone else for choosing to wear a mask. I just didn’t have a mask to wear, and didn’t feel concerned about it.
And then the COVID-19 cases began spiking for the worse. And I thought, If I pray each night and ask God to bless my husband and I with protection against getting the virus and I’m not doing the one thing proven to keep me safe, how do I expect God to answer my prayer and protect me and my spouse from getting sick. The answer is: I can’t! God isn’t going to overthrow our unalienable rights (LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS) to bless and protect us if we’re not doing all we can – even and including giving up our right to refuse to wear a mask for a small amount of time.
Think about it…
We give up more of our freedoms by refusing to wear a mask than if we comply and join the ranks of masked individuals.
By refusing to wear a mask, we put our lives and the lives of others at risk for catching the virus. This could lead to many miserable days spent sick, 2 weeks of quarantine after recovery, an expensive trip to the hospital, or even death. Not to mention all of the time away from work which amounts to ZERO or low income and potentially losing your job. When unmasked bandits are present in the public, they take away not only their right to LIFE but also take away the rights of others.
By refusing to wear a mask, we limit ourselves to where we can go and what we can do with our precious freedoms. In Utah and many other states, masks are being required and mandated for individuals to enter grocery stores, banks, government buildings, restaurants, churches, hospitals and medical clinics, etc. Why would we knowingly limit our freedoms by refusing to wear a mask?
Now, when it comes to being outdoors, if we can safely social distance during whatever outdoor activity we are participating in, I say a mask is optional. Some may disagree and that’s fine. This is just how I have adapted to the mask mandates.
PURSUIT of HAPPINESS
I said earlier that one of the things I attribute to the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS is “creating better opportunities for future generations.” I can’t do that if there’s a raging virus wreaking havoc on the entire world. I create a more stable future by doing my part now to take care of myself, my community, and my environment.
One could also take this much more literally and consider pursuing happiness the emotion. Happiness is greater when there is stability, balance, health, and wholeness. I can’t find true and fulfilling happiness if I am afraid of being in contact with someone who isn’t wearing a mask. I can’t be safe and happy if people are ignorantly and ruthlessly squandering my freedoms along with their own because they are choosing not to wear a mask.
Exercising the choice to refuse to wear a mask continues the cycle of primal fight or flight responses. This adds fear, frustration, and negativity to an already chaotic and out of balance world. This does nothing to encourage peace and invite a cure to the disease.
Solution: WEAR A MASK – PLEASE!!!
I 100% respect and honor the rights, opinions, and disagreements with wearing a mask. I recognize that they are hard to breathe in – that’s ultimately how you know they work. They make wearing glasses hard. And they can make it hard to communicate. I also understand that some individuals have experienced great trauma’s where a mask can cause symptoms of PTSD.
Wearing a mask saves lives; it’s easier than donating blood.
Not wearing a mask is selfish. Think about someone else for a change. You’re not the only one being grievously affected by the effects of the Coronavirus. But you are the one perpetuating the problem. I don’t wish for anyone else to suffer at the hand of the virus including you. So please for me, for you, for the elderly, for the immuno-compromised, and for the men and women who work tirelessly day after day, night after night to save lives and find a cure – WEAR A MASK!