To Mandate or Not to Mandate. That Is the question…by Glenn Schuckers

An official order or commission to do something.” That is the definition I found for the word that seems to have a lot of people all worked up lately. I have heard folks say that they “don’t oppose” this or that but they won’t do it if there is a “mandate” to do it.

That strikes me as either silly, stupid. or just plain stubborn. In any case. in the world of logic and reason where I wish more people would live, they argue that they will not do something if there is a mandate to do it.

The first thing we need to do is question why  mandates exist in the first place. In case you have not already guessed, this is all about either the mandate to wear a mask or the mandate to get a vaccination that protects against Covid19.

Now that we know what the word means, let’s think about why mandates are needed. Why not just pass a law instead of issuing a mandate?

As I was thinking about that question I thought back to when seat belts came into use in cars. I recall that a lot of people (including  me) were opposed to wearing them, insisting that they were uncomfortable, hard to put or and maybe even dangerous, trapping people in cars when they needed to get out.

Numerous groups, from national to state to industry, argued with the facts that clearly showed that seat belts would save lives. People were “encouraged” to use a seat belt when driving and some companies even went so far as to lock ignitions unless a seat belt was fastened. I clearly recall having one of those cars and to clicking the belt behind my back and leaving it “fastened” so I could start and drive the car. 

Then finally, when it became clear that seat belts not only saved lives but also saved money by lowering the cost of insurance,  legislators passed laws that require people in cars to wear them. The laws were passed on a state-by-state basis and owing to the time it takes to pass a law, it took about ten years to get most states to pass some sort of legislation, clearly not a way to solve a problem quickly. 

Fast forward to 2020 and 2021. Much as some people want to deny it there is an epidemic of serious virus cases in most of America. Here in our own state daily cases have varied from a few thousand new cases per day to some days when there have been over 10,000. Locally there were over 300 children quarantined  shortly after school opened.

There were just about 30 shortly after the schools enacted the in-building mandate a few weeks after.  Those are not opinions, they are facts.

The numbers of people in local hospitals and nursing homes also went up dramatically when there was no requirement to wear masks or be vaccinated. Those are also not opinions but facts. The fact that visitations were prohibited at times attests to the prevalence of the disease locally. 

So why do we need a mandate to either get vaccinated or wear a mask? Very simply because both have become political footballs. Our state lawmakers lack the intestinal fortitude (read that as “guts”) to do what is needed because it might offend some people. Those people choose to believe the lies that have been spread despite the fact that they are patently absurd. 

Why not pass a law instead? Because those same legislators are so  afraid of criticism that they would rather let people die than pass a law that requires either vaccinations or masks. That despite seeing polls that show that the majority of people favor both. 

The fact that we eliminated smallpox and  polio by required vaccinations and nearly eliminated measles and mumps  by requiring vaccinations means nothing to this minority.  Facts and science mean nothing as well. I do agree that there need to be exemptions for valid religions reasons just as there is an exemption for military service based on a religion belief, but just  “I am opposed to government rules” is not a valid reason to endanger friends,  neighbors, society itself form a deadly disease. 

It is time for our leaders to recognize that the good of society is  more important than the feelings of a few fringe elements of that society. If we continue to allow that fringe to dictate what the majority wants and needs, then it will not be long until democracy itself will be a thing of the past and we will find the majority governed by a vocal minority gullible enough to believe the lies and false narratives of the few who will profit from them.