09-01-21 Parents withdraw kids from school 1 DSC_0248.JPG

Henry A. Coffeen Elementary School first-grader Evi Rosty takes her turn washing her hands at the start of class Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Just a day before, the Sheridan County School District 2 Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to update the district’s COVID-19 policy to require students, staff and visitors to wear protective masks inside all school and district buildings, as well as on buses, drawing the ire of several parents.

Yes, one fine day, all of our faces will be free! Maybe the day will come, too, when we can yell fire in a crowded theater, just to make sure everyone knows we cherish the freedom to speak as we please. Or when we can get as drunk as we want, start a brawl and then drive our car at top speed down Main Street — after all, don't we have the right to put whatever we want in our bodies and then behave as we see fit?

Who cares who might be harmed in the process! These are our civil rights! Oh, how I long for the halcyon days of yore when a person could saunter through streets of a small western town, starting gunfights just for grins. How could we have ever let such freedoms go? Why on earth must we wear seatbelts, obey traffic rules, be civil or obey any laws at all? Surely these laws are too restrictive for words, and how can they possibly be for our own good?

What is most troubling to me in these times is the hint of what is yet to come. Now it seems one becomes a martyr after storming the U.S. Capitol, threatening to hang the Republican vice president because he followed an established law the rioters happened to dislike.

Now removing a school board looking after the health of students is more important than wearing a piece of cloth over one’s mouth and nose to protect oneself, and just as importantly, others. In our world, it seems that taking unapproved and unsafe livestock medicine is preferable to getting an FDA-approved injection already proven to have saved thousands of lives, which, by the way, could also save our children from getting ill. Children are becoming sick and are some are dying from COVID. Has no one noticed? And yet many would prefer to send them off to schools with limited protection, all in the name of civil rights. Freeing our faces has suddenly become ever so important. Freeing our faces from a piece of cloth is worth how many lives exactly?

The level of rage and resentment in our country against anyone who disagrees with one’s narrative — against people of color, the poor, immigrants, the vaccine, mask wearers, Dr. Fauci, the FDA, the CDC, school boards, the president — you name it — is beyond disheartening. Science and reason are being overwhelmed by conspiracy theories and alternative facts. Scholars, experts and anyone with genuine knowledge can apparently no longer be trusted. I am fearful that our democracy might be the next casualty.

Jane Dixon


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