I recently participated in the Bellevue City Council’s special meeting via Zoom and was surprised by the number of attendees opposed to a resolution mandating the wearing of masks in public places, a proposal meant to protect them and their neighbors from COVID-19.
Their argument was that such a mandate would be “an unconstitutional infringement of their rights” and “a restriction on freedom and liberty.”
This argument was a difficult one for me to process. States have laws requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets. All states require drivers of cars to wear seatbelts and that children are protected with back-facing car seats. Idaho recently passed a “hands-free” cell phone law and driving drunk can land you in jail.
These are all common-sense laws that protect the health and safety of our communities. It was obviously not unconstitutional for governments to pass them.
I suspect that most of those attending the meeting who so feared the loss of their freedom and liberties would find themselves wearing masks if the president of the United States would wear one and asked his followers to do so, too. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump is too busy pandering to his base in an effort to get re-elected instead of being concerned about the health and welfare of the citizens of the country he governs.
Although council members Greg Cappel and Katheryn Goldman dismissed these senseless arguments, I was disappointed that they were outvoted, the majority voting, like Sun Valley, to simply encourage mask wearing. This is exactly what Florida, Arizona and Texas did and their virus cases have since gone off the charts.
Finally, Bellevue and Sun Valley may have something in common.
Florence K. Blanchard, Bellevue