Resisting a toxic view of freedom
The anti-vax, anti-mask crowd has it wrong: Community, not selfish freedom, must be at the core of the American experiment.
We’ve always done best when we share responsibility for meeting challenges. (Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash)
A sign in the yard of a home along a rural road we often travel upstate caught my eye: “Unmask our children now!” I imagined that homeowner in one of the crowds that have been showing up at tense school board meetings across the country, with parents angrily insisting that they will keep their kids home rather than give in to a school mask mandate aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. “Personal freedom is a God-given right,” one anti-mask parent scolded a school board near my community, drawing sustained applause.1
Many of the same parents are resisting getting their children vaccinated against the coronavirus. Adolescents are eligible for the vaccination, but a poll last month found that more than half of the parents of teens don’t want their kids to be inoculated.2 The pandemic seems to have expanded vaccine resistance generally in America, where the national identity has lo…