Editorial explains basics of democratic government to anti-mask protesters

Be sure to check out this morning’s lead Capitol Broadcasting Co. editorial/civics lesson on WRAL.com. As is explained with great patience to some uninformed parents in “It’s about what’s best for an entire community, not what a parent might prefer,” the decision of local school boards and other government units to require the wearing of face masks is the kind of action our society has long and quite reasonably entrusted them to make.

“In our form of popularly elected representative government, we get to elect officials – school boards, city and county commissions, state officials, members of Congress and our president – to make decisions on what they view is best for our communities, state and nation.

With our votes, we entrust them not to consider what is best for an individual, not for themselves, but the entire community. If we don’t like what they do, we can petition to express our disagreement and, when their terms in office re up, vote them out if we still aren’t happy with their performance.

This is not a strange notion. It is the way things work with the rights we have in our Constitution.

The Second Amendment’s right to bear arms doesn’t offer anyone unfettered use of a gun. It cannot be used as a murder weapon. Free speech is not absolute but is bound for example by libel and threats of bodily harm.

To put it most simply, limits on individual liberty arise when they threaten the basic rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – of others”

It’s, of course, a sign of the remarkable times we inhabit that such basic concepts must be spelled out to a sizable chunk of the population. Indeed, it’s stunning that so many seem to be utterly unaware that vaccine requirements have been a central part of our nation’s public health policy for more than 80 years. Again, here’s the editorial:

Since 1939 North Carolina has required immunizations for school children – diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps and others. The reason is simple – protect the public health by preventing the spread of deadly and debilitating diseases.

The actions by our elected officials aren’t new or unique. It is not a threat to any liberties or rights.

As related to the efforts to stem the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, it is just what we should want them to do – going beyond selfish personal desires to make the first priority looking after the community’s best interest.

The bottom line: if ever there was classic example of the disastrous toll that years of underinvestment in public education has taken, the crazy and embarrassingly uninformed antics of many protesting North Carolina parents in recent weeks are it.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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