Yes, I’ve seen the anger, the rallying to a standard that draws from noble cries of liberty and rights.
And I am troubled. Because this isn’t a noble cause. Face masks, to wear them, is a significant action that does mean life or death to thousands.
I’ve seen the signs, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” related to this issue. But Patrick Henry’s 1775 speech, from which this phrase is lifted, was directed towards truly egregious events. It protested the imposition of British rule, without representation, on those governed; it objected to imperial Britain’s growing military force intimidating their own citizens in the New World.
Give me liberty or give me death. Countless slaves lived this truth. Untold thousand of Native Americans have done the same. Immigrants seek liberty and die. Other citizens — poor, incarcerated, otherwise disadvantaged — have little freedom to choose their paths in life.
Beyond our shores, in countries on which we impose our will — their people fight, and die, for their liberty.
We can do better. Constructively, we as a nation can aid the oppressed and suffering at home and abroad, truly liberate, inspired by American compassion, strength, and creative intelligence.
Let’s look beyond the mask.