- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2020

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has just issued an executive order barring localities from mandating face masks be worn in public.

And voila, freedom reigns.

People’s choice returns.

Sanity makes a show.

Kemp is not only the bravest governor in the United States right now. He’s the smartest, because he’s putting quasi-science in its proper place and refusing to allow the “what ifs” of the world to run roughshod over the Constitution — meaning, the sheep who bleat about the need to wear face masks just in case, just as a potential, just on the off-chance of a wayward sneeze. The ones who say, face masks may or may not work, but what if … fill in the blank. That’s not science; that’s not justification for government — and private business — to slap a mask on citizens’ faces and muzzle the mouths of even the most healthy.

That’s tyrannical.

That’s insane.

That’s not even something that’s done at flu season, when coughs and sneezes and runny noses really spread — and when young and old and sickly really die.

The coronavirus is a real virus.

But it’s hardly the massively fatal virus the likes of Anthony Fauci or Bill Gates would have believed.

Kemp, in his just-issued executive order, simply allows citizens to make the choice on masks: to wear or not to wear. Those who fear — wear. Those who don’t — don’t.

How is that wrong?

Kemp’s order says residents and visitors and tourists are “strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable.” But they’re not required. They’re not mandated. They’re not ordered.

Localities cannot enforce differently.

Freedom. Free choice. It’s refreshing, ain’t it? Refreshing — and American.

“Previous executive orders, and now this order, state no local action can be more or less restrictive than ours,” said Candice Broce, spokesperson for the governor, in a tweet. “We have explained that local mask mandates are unenforceable. The governor continues to strongly encourage Georgians to wear masks in public.”

Thank goodness for some sanity among the face mask mandating storm.

Wear it if you want; don’t wear it if you don’t. Freedom and safety aren’t mutually exclusive here; they can work in tandem without compromising the fates of either one. How so? Face mask wearers are protected either way; one citizen’s refusal to wear a mask doesn’t prevent another citizen from wearing one. The only reason for all-inclusive face mask mandates is control. And it’s to control the people, not the spread of the disease.

If the science on face masks were truly there, the mandates would’ve been there from the beginning — and Asian countries, where face masks are commonplace, would be free of transmittable diseases.

But they’re not. It’s a culture thing.

“The bottom line is that in East Asia, the predilection toward using face-coverings to prevent exposure to bad air is something that predates the germ theory of disease, and extends into the very foundations of East Asian culture,” QZ.com wrote.

This is America. Land of the free. Land of the Constitution. Land of the individual rights. Not land of the collective.

Kemp’s order is sane, sensible and secures the American way. Now if only more governors would take up pen and issue similarly. If the science isn’t there, it’s only common sense: Let freedom reign. 

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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