The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Governor Kemp, where art thou?


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jul. 22, 2020 - 4:04 PM

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There are now 29 states including the southern states of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and North Carolina that have mandated the use of masks and face coverings while in public.

There is also a growing list of major businesses that have issued mandates such as Walmart, Kroger, Costco, CVS, Target, Best Buy, Publix, Home Depot, Lowes, Delta Air Lines and Starbucks, among others.

If Gov. Kemp would also mandate the wearing of masks, he would simply be implementing what the majority of states are already doing.

It would hardly be a radical act on his part. Yet he refuses to do so declaring, "Georgians don't need a mandate to do the right thing." The logic of his stance is difficult to understand. Apparently he believes that we Georgians are more law-abiding than the millions of Americans that live in the other 29 states.

There are cities in Georgia, such as Augusta, Savannah and Atlanta, along with the aforementioned multiple businesses, that have issued their own mask mandates. They, too, do not agree with the governor's assessment of the citizenry of Georgia.

There are Americans who believe that mask mandates are somehow an infringement on their constitutional rights. Governments have a valid and vested interest in public health. The difficult time that we are going through presently simply reinforces that point. We must get a handle on the COVID-19 virus in order for life in our country and around the world to return to normal. Government mandates such as compulsory mask wearing are part of that effort.

Every day we benefit from government intervention in public health and accept it as a given. Before your child can attend school, you must produce an immunization record. We have county ordinances in place to protect public health. Restaurants submit to routine government inspections. Those inspections are not to ensure that the restaurant is serving the best food possible, but the safest food. Government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exist to protect the health of Americans.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families and their communities.”

Gov. Kemp’s hesitancy to issue a mask mandate and rely on the good citizens of Georgia to do the “right thing” belies what is actually happening around the state. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, formulated the perfect response to Gov. Kemp's logic when he stated in Federalist Paper No.51, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

Lawrence Burns

Newnan