Yesterday afternoon Gov. Evers ordered masks indoors state-wide. This is exemplary behavior designed to help quell the worst effects of the pandemic. It stands in marked contrast to Speaker Vos’ declaration during the April election that “It’s perfectly safe out here,” a declaration made while Vos was clad in the protective armor of full PPE. And he said that when our medical professionals were struggling to secure sufficient PPE.
Evers mandate recognizes that, like wearing a seat belt, some fabric coverings do save lives. The opposition to this simple preventative is typified by Adam Neylon, Representative from WI’s 98th in Pewaukee who writes, “I am incensed by this governor’s latest attempt to subvert the ability of Wisconsin citizens … It comes down to freedom and personal responsibility, and unlike Gov. Evers, I support freedom.”
Neylon and others with similar opinions believe that freedom is only a freedom from something – in this case the heavy hand of a having to wear something, like a hairnet when you work in food service. That is an immature and irresponsible understanding of freedom. Freedom also is a freedom to something. In this case, wearing a mask frees others to enter public buildings with a significant reduction in risk of infection. Would that every district had a leader like WI 81st’s Dave Considine who said, “It is the right thing to do because … wearing a face covering reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.”
Vos, protected by position, PPE, money, and the power his colleagues grant him can say “It’s safe.” Evers’ order assures that the many who lack Vos’ bubble of protection can be protected from the callous disregard demonstrated by Neylon’s opposition.
–Ashley Nedeau-Owen, Town of West Point Chair
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