OpinionPandemic a lesson in need to protect personal freedom

Pandemic a lesson in need to protect personal freedom

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President Biden declared the “pandemic is over” throughout a softball interview Sunday on “60 Minutes.” Whereas that information was reportedly a shock to his well being officers, now we have ridden out an unprecedented storm.

Over the course of the pandemic, over 95.6 million instances had been reported, with 1.05 million deaths amid lockdowns, masking and social isolation affecting the size and breadth of the nation.

All through, we noticed numerous gestures of kindness. As People banded collectively in solidarity, our nation’s first responders and well being care suppliers had been now not taken with no consideration however quite celebrated. It appeared like People would unite within the face of a shared enemy.

It took our authorities to make a dire scenario untenable.

Freedom of faith is a cornerstone of America. The Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts in the hunt for a spot the place they may freely profess their faith with out concern of reprisal. It’s a freedom so basic that our Founding Fathers made it the very first clause of the First Modification to the Structure. By no means in our 246-year historical past had such a primary human proper been so flagrantly disregarded because it was throughout the COVID pandemic.

President Biden, in addition to political leaders on native and nationwide ranges, enacted vaccination mandates following the profitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. These measures make vaccination obligatory for a lot of jobs in the private and non-private sector.

There’s no drawback with getting a shot if one chooses. The issue is when people are compelled to vaccinate as a result of the federal government says so.

Many non-public sector staff had been laid off as a result of they refused to adjust to the order from their employers. The Supreme Court docket’s choice to droop the enforcement of the Biden administration’s sweeping vaccine-or-test mandates for main non-public companies offered some solace. These working within the public sector, sadly, didn’t get pleasure from the identical reprieve. First responders, who had been beforehand hailed as heroes, had been now zeros who misplaced their jobs. In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker fired 300 state troopers, whereas Boston Mayor Michelle Wu sought to fireside police and firefighters, solely to be stopped by an appeals court docket ruling in opposition to Wu’s ruling. A lot of those that rejected vaccination cited real spiritual exemptions, which had been shortly dismissed.

Spiritual exemptions have develop into the enemy No. 1, significantly amongst sure Massachusetts legislators. State Rep. Andres X. Vargas, D-Haverhill, launched H2411, which might have eradicated the spiritual exemption for vaccination for school-aged youngsters, regardless that solely round 1% of Massachusetts households now put it to use. Makes an attempt to go S1517 and H2271, An Act Selling Neighborhood Immunity, had been additionally made by Vargas and State Sen. Rebecca Rausch, D-Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex. This measure would make it doable for any physician to vaccinate a minor with out the information or approval of the mother and father; would enable any non-public day care, preschool, college or school-affiliated extra-curricular exercise (“lined program”) to require extra vaccinations outdoors of these authorized by the Massachusetts Division of Public Well being; would enable any lined program to refuse the spiritual exemption for vaccination; and would require that DPH settle for all medical exemptions.

These proposed items of laws by no means noticed the sunshine of day because of the protest, advocacy and lobbying of Well being Alternative 4 Motion MA, a bunch of fogeys that pushed for parental well being alternative for youngsters. Vaccinated and unvaccinated People campaigned in Massachusetts and throughout the nation in opposition to vaccination mandates that violated spiritual freedom. The battle was gained in lots of cases, however in others it nonetheless rages on. With no vigorous protection, we threat seeing our most elementary liberties erode.

Lengthy after the pandemic is over and COVID recedes, we is not going to overlook the grievous assaults on People’ rights.


Rasheed Walters is an entrepreneur, political commentator and historian. He’s a member of Undertaking 21, and resides in Boston. Observe him on Twitter @rasheednwalters.

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