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Many people have asked me why I am adamant about wearing masks and taking safety precautions with COVID-19, and why I have been so critical of those who think the virus is a hoax. The debate over COVID-19 is one time where my views come from more than my political beliefs.

Nearly three years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Through hard work and daily medication, I have lowered my A1C to a manageable level, but the struggle, as they say, is real. I currently give myself six injections a day, including both fast-acting and slow-release insulin. There are still some days where I feel like I’m in a fog, but luckily those are few and far between these days. I’m just thankful I was diagnosed early enough to make the lifestyle changes necessary to be healthy for my wife and our boys.

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For all of the deniers and conspiracy theorists out there, I have no use for your ill-formed and ignorant points of view. Your lack of empathy and refusal to wear a mask and practice social distancing could literally kill me, and I don’t have the luxury of “just staying home” like so many of you so snarkily respond. Gotta keep that economy going, remember?

The same goes for the debate over reopening schools. If I see you bragging online about how you don’t wear masks and don’t make your kids wear them, it terrifies me. If you are an asymptomatic carrier, you could infect your kid, who could then infect my kid, who could then infect me. Despite the talking points, children get COVID-19 at roughly the same rate as adults, even though many of the symptoms are less severe.
We hear people talk about the psychological impact on kids not being able to go to “traditional” school, and sure, that is a concern. But how does that compare to the psychological trauma of a child unknowingly infecting their parent or grandparent, resulting in serious long-term problems or even death?

One of the biggest things I resent about Donald Trump is how he somehow made it acceptable, if not popular, to eliminate empathy from our culture. America was built on a social contract, meaning that we take care of one another and lift each other when someone needs help. We have fallen so far that even the simple act of wearing a piece of cloth over our faces to keep others safe is somehow too much of a sacrifice because… freedom?

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Freedom is a two-way street.

Freedom is a two-way street; the freedom to do what we want also comes with an implicit understanding that we will use that freedom for the betterment of not just ourselves, but our fellow citizens. I honestly don’t understand how people can derive pleasure from showing such callous indifference to others. When did caring become a symbol of weakness? Are we so fragile that we need to wallow around in willful ignorance of anyone who isn’t in our socioeconomic circle?

So anyhow, that is why I refuse to sit back and let such dangerous nonsense perpetuate itself. It is also why I devote all of my energy to the political process to find a way back to a place where empathy is a pillar of American life, not a weakness to be mocked and exploited.

This rhetoric that the virus will miraculously disappear after the election is just moronic. Over 170,000 Americans are dead, not only because we lacked the strong political leadership necessary to minimize the impact of this pandemic, but because too many of our fellow citizens couldn’t be bothered to look beyond their self-interest and pull together for the common good.

Those same people are now doing everything in their power to weaponize science to fit their narrow agendas; consequences be damned. If we allow this to continue unchecked, things are going to get worse before they get better. How many deaths do we need before people care enough to act? Forcing kids and teachers back into schools for the sake of “returning to normal” will backfire spectacularly, and you will have no one to blame but yourself. There will be blood on your hands- not that you’ll care if it means “owning the libs.”

Silence is complicity. Ignorance is a luxury we can’t afford. It matters whether you realize it or not. If you think I’m going to risk my life or the lives of my family without a fight, think again. Why? Because… freedom, that’s why. ✊

Author

A passionate communicator, advocate, and opinion maker with executive-level experience in law, public policy, and government. (Don't let the boyish good looks fool you.) President of Perpetual Fortitude, a Pennsylvania-based political consulting and social media management firm. (www.perpetualfortitude.com)