We are a society of rules.
We have rules for everything. We have rules for traffic. We have rules for going to school. Sports have rules. Board games have rules. Businesses have rules for employees.
Rules, rules, rules.
We follow dozens of them every day. When I drive, I try hard to follow the rules. While I am not always perfect, I do try. Why? Because I don’t want to kill myself or anyone else.
When I go into a business that says I need to wear shoes and a shirt for service, I wear shoes and a shirt. If I want the goods or services they provide, I have to follow their rules.
It is pretty simple, really.
When I joined the military, it was pretty much nothing but rules. Rules for how my uniform looked. Rules on hair length. Rules for how I interacted with fellow Airmen. Rules for how I viewed and disposed of classified information, something I handled every day.
If I hadn’t followed the rules, who knows what could have happened? I never found out because I followed them.
My point is that we must have rules and guidelines and etiquette for society to function. If we simply decided we have the personal freedom to do whatever we want, society would collapse. If you don’t believe that, we are seeing a very small piece of it right now.
Our battles over using masks during a pandemic or even getting a vaccine for a virus that can spread from person to person have shown us that we aren’t as good at working together for a common good as we thought.
I am not saying you have to get a vaccine. If you don’t want to, don’t. If you don’t want to wear a mask, don’t.
But you also have to suffer the consequences of those decisions. That could mean not shopping at the store. Not going to school. Not taking that vacation flight that you had planned or that cruise.
It could also mean losing your job if your employer mandates that you must wear a mask or even get a vaccine. Private businesses have the right to do that, just as you have a right to not comply with recommendations aimed at preserving the public health.
Freedom is a great thing to have, that is clear to all Americans. But it does come with a cost. It is up to you to decide when that cost is too high.
For me, when my actions are harming others, I try to make a change. That is, to me, the right thing to do and the American thing to do. I love and respect and have served my country and I cherish the freedom we have. But when my personal freedom can have a direct negative effect on others, I draw the line.
Again, that’s me. I am not telling anyone else how to live.
We have rules for a reason. We enforce rules for a reason. During a time of public health crisis, I personally believe we need to act in a way to protect all Americans.
Look, I don’t want to wear a mask. But I also don’t want people to get sick and die. I don’t want businesses to shut their doors. If I can do something to help, I will and I do.
If our society of rules breaks down, our society breaks down.