There’s an uncomfortable shift in mindset that’s taken place in American health care in the last year-plus of the pandemic that goes like this: What you do affects my health so you must adjust and accommodate accordingly.
This is “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!” territory. America still is, after all, a nation where rights come from God, not government, a nation where individualism rules and collectivism is shunned. Aren’t we? Are we? We are.
It’s one thing for an American sick with say the flu to stay home from work out of concern for infecting others.
It’s another thing entirely for all of America to be caught up in the government-run healthcare-advisement-slash-mandate movement that pressures, nags and shames supposedly free citizens into doing this, or doing that, or donning this and that, or injecting this and this again, because it could save, might save, there’s a small but significant chance it perhaps would save others from sickness.
One is based on individual choice and common courtesy.
The other is collectivist and communist. It is the way of the Chinese. It is the way of Marxist, dictatorial, tyrannical nations.
Enter face masks.
Enter trading your liberties for face masking and vaccines — liberties that most Americans didn’t even know were up for trade.
The proper American process for face masking, and for vaccinating, and for any other coronavirus-tied programs to come, like contact tracing, would be for the health experts in both government and the private sector to gather the science, gather the facts, gather the evidence and data and best-case scenarios and worst-case outcomes and bring them to the public for dissemination — and then step back. Stand down. Let the political process unfold; let the people consider and choose.
Those afraid to go out without facial coverings could wear facial coverings. Those afraid to walk about without a vaccine could get the vaccine. Same-same for those on the opposite end of the spectrum. Fact is, if a face mask does its job as government bureaucrats promised, if a vaccine does its job as the health experts and scientists said, then those who chose to wear, those who chose the shot, wouldn’t be impacted in the least by those who didn’t.
Either the face masks work and vaccines work, or they don’t. Either you’re protected or you’re not. Simple, yes? It only gets complicated when politicians get involved.
And boy, have politicians gotten involved and used this coronavirus for personal and professional ambitions.
But let’s step back to the time before the pandemic, when Americans were still free — when Americans still believed they were free — and recapture some sense of that old common sense: If masks and vaccines work, and if you’re wearing a mask and if you’ve taken the shots, then why worry what others do, or don’t do?
You’re good to go.
So what if Jane Free and Joe Liberty down the street choose not to wear masks or get vaccinated?
You’re good to go.
Carry on. Move on. Even more: Mind your own business.
Because after all, in America, health care is a personal choice.
The bureaucrats and fear-filled may have pushed the goal post on that in the last year. But it’s time to push it back. Medical decisions in this country are left to the individual to choose. That’s how freedom works. That’s how a land of liberty-minded people lives.
And those who can’t deal with that have still another choice at their disposal — another grand benefit of living in a free country like America: They can stay home.
It’s time for individualism to make a return to health care. The coronavirus must not be the tool by which the collectivists win.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.