Letters to the editor: August 18, 2021

The Shawnee News-Star

How will historians look back at this period in American history?

Dear editor,

My sister relayed to me the gist of a letter written to the editor in the Dallas Morning News. It was a timely “tongue in cheek” reflection of what is happening in our respective states about schools, masks and local control. Of course, it was more a reflection on the collective political logic or lack of, by Governor Stitt, Abbott of Texas and De Santis of Florida.

Paraphrasing the Texas writer’s letter, governor(s) don’t just stop with removing children’s mandates for masks; why not remove laws that require seatbelts and car seats, and prohibit minors cigarettes, and beer! Well, that seems ludicrous, but to some Republican governors they have seemingly made a political calculation for votes over the possible dangers of severe illness or even death in children and adults. The libertarian wing of the Republican Party would likely approve removing the above legal restraints, granting full “personal freedoms or responsibilities.” Living in a “state of nature” may work for the strong, but for most of us it doesn’t work that well. Just chew on the 630,000 in the U.S. and 4.3 million in the world who have perished from the Corona virus. Sometimes, we just need and have to depend upon one another else we lose ourselves. Golding’s Lord of the Flies was on my 2020 rereading list, a recommended chilling reminder of potential human darkness.

Republicans used to believe in local control with local decisions made by local people who knew their communities situation. Not so now, the far right of the GOP seems fraught by their own inconsistencies due to rejection of facts, science, logic, and an unhealthy fear of not being in power, i.e. not getting votes. The GOP fears a majority minority electorate; hence, they have pandered to the desires of their hopefully shrinking base. In the end, do we as a caring society want selfish “personal freedoms” to prevail over the “general welfare” of the many? Legislated or executive orders that remove possible mitigation decisions by local officials, based upon the health needs of their community, seems almost criminal or at the least illogical.

How will historians look back at this period in American history? Right now, I’m not sure we will be viewed in a favorable light. Will it be seen as a time of intense individualism where self-interest and self-survival took precedence over the well-being of others or the collective survival of all? Will it be viewed in history as the beginning when the citizens of the United States of America, rejected the motto “e pluribus Unum,” out of many, one?

Marilyn Bradford