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You Can Kiss My Mask

The Attempted Oppression of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

“Those who would give up liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

The United States of America was founded on this single principle — FREEDOM. Our founding fathers understood that limiting government power was the key to providing liberty. That is why they were so extremely careful in drafting our Constitution and then adding the Bill of Rights. They understood that the greatest threat against our Nation could come from within — those using the power of the government for tyrannical purposes. This is why they believed it so important to keep the responsibility of governing our Nation in the hands of the people, for the people, by the people.

They also understood that our freedom in the name of God would require eternal vigilance. That it would be a constant battle of good versus evil, to maintain our liberty.

I love our Country, especially our little corner that we call home, but have always had a strong distrust of government. I understand the fragility of our freedom and how both power and money corrupt. My Father taught me, and I have always believed that less government is better government.

There are many things about our Nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that are troublesome. However, the two that are most alarming were not caused by the virus, they were revealed. It has now become obvious that over past decades those elected have not only grown the size of our federal and state government to alarming levels but have grown their power over the people to oppressive levels. Secondly, many who reside in our Country are way too quick to give up their freedoms provided by the Constitution without even questioning why, which is just unconscionable to me.

It goes without saying that the pandemic the world is fighting is a terrible and very challenging obstacle. I have been very clear in my columns about the importance of one’s health and following the CDC guidelines, which have been asked of every American citizen. I believe our area has done a great job within this framework, especially that of social distancing. However, we cannot sacrifice everything that makes us who we are out of fear of a disease or even death. Hopefully, you have a strong faith and understand there’s an opportunity for eternal life and peace.

Our state cannot continue down the current path of economic and social suicide. This will destroy Pennsylvania, and it will never return to the place we know as home. At some point, the fear-mongering by Governor Wolf and the media must stop and give way to the facts. Yes, there are some hotspots within the state that must stay shut down to protect the people, and those living adjacent to them. But you cannot trample our constitutional rights and financial wellbeing in the name of fear.

Here in Lycoming County at press time, we had 32 cases of the Coronavirus. Our county is 1,244 square miles, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The county’s population is about 114,000. As long as those 32 individuals follow the quarantine procedure and we continue to be vigilant, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be business as usual here in Lycoming County. This logic applies to most counties within our state. The actual facts just don’t support the reaction by our state government and their unwillingness to change their approach based on actual numbers.

If things change and there is an outbreak of cases, you choose another course of direction. One thing that has been very disheartening since this all began is that everything must be final. The cancelation of events, the closing of businesses, and the ending of social outings indefinitely. How can you do that with not knowing what the outcome is going to be? You postpone for a reasonable amount of time and then revisit the situation. Obviously, at this point of the year, it makes no sense to reopen schools.

The governor has had the opportunity of our patience and ample time. There is no possible way he can justify his decision making when it comes to essential and non-essential businesses or life-sustaining and non-life sustaining, whatever verbiage he chooses. First of all, it’s discriminatory to even come up with classifications deemed essential and non-essential. Again, a trampling of the constitutional rights of the American business owner.

This very similar to the way he trampled freedom of religion by ordering all the churches to close. You gotta be kidding me. I do not have enough paper to go through how many times he’s tramped on one’s personal rights.

It’s that communistic/socialistic elitist ideal that those that govern know more than the people, are smarter than the people, and will take care of the people. More to the point, they’re telling we, the people, that we are stupid and can’t make our own decisions. We need to be told to wash our hands, cover our mouths, and to avoid people when sick. Incidentally, these are the freedoms that our forefathers were most concerned about protecting, that of the decision making by the people.

We must immediately reopen business in Pennsylvania. This can be done within the guidelines of the CDC. Nearly 1.5 million Pennsylvanians out of work, which ranks 1st in the Country. We are the only state that closed restaurants, car dealerships, real estate offices, clothing stores, liquor stores all at once. New York, which has the highest number of COVID cases, is still operating the above-listed businesses. Depending on where you reside. As are all the states adjacent to us. There is more of a risk being created by folks driving to New York to buy a car, clothing, or liquor than getting it right at their neighborhood store. Not to mention that this is putting a bullet in the economy of the Keystone State. Governor Wolf’s actions have also not proven successful. When comparing numbers per capita and timeframe facts, Pennsylvania’s numbers regarding COVID-19 are no better than and/or worse than many states.

Back to that first list of essential, non-essential thing being discriminatory towards small businesses. How do you allow big box stores the ability to sell the same products you deemed non-essential to the smaller family-owned business? It’s completely ridiculous. Not to mention, if you were realistic about cutting down on people running out to the big box stores, they would be selling only what is deemed essential. How do you allow online sales to continue not just of products, but of used vehicles through Carvana? You are sticking the knife into the back of Pennsylvania auto dealers.

I hate the term social distancing. This is what technology and cell phones have done to the American people. I like the term “safe space.” There is a way to keep every business open and operational with “safe space.” This, coupled with limiting the number of customers allowed in a place of business at any one time. This concept could be applied to churches and pretty much everything that has been shut down.

Back to the discriminatory practices, you cannot make our elderly population stay within their home because they’re old and more at risk. This is their decision to make. If they wanna go out and about God bless them — they clearly understand the risk at this point in time. The same can be said for every American. Everyday decisions are made based upon probability and risk versus reward. Sometimes you make the wrong decision, and there’s a price to pay. That’s life, at least as it’s intended to be lived here in the land of the free.

There is no way on God’s green earth it’s constitutional for Governor Wolf to make you wear a mask or pressure stores into not allowing entrance to individuals not wearing a mask. It’s also in no way constitutional for Governor Wolf to force employers not only to make employees wear a mask but also to take their temperature upon reporting to work.

If someone wants to wear a mask, this is the United States of America, by all means, please wear a mask, if someone chooses not to, that’s great. This approach can be applied to every decision the governor has made for you. Live and let live. Allow “We the People” to make our own decisions. That is the very principle our Nation was founded on.

Maybe somebody needs to tell Governor Wolf COVID-19 originated in China, not that we are operating under the governing rules of Communist China.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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  • John Macko
    April 22, 2020, 9:27 pm

    Great editorial Jim! You nailed it!!

  • Kelly Watts
    April 23, 2020, 1:34 pm

    EXCELLENT editorial. You went right to the heart of the matter and your thoughts are pertinent not only to Pa but to all states. That is why I have shard it on my Facebook page. All the best to you and the staff of Webb Weekly.

  • Judith A. Avery
    April 26, 2020, 7:43 am

    Great Editorial Jim! I was feeling down with the social distancing. I’m 66 years old and believe me, being away from my family is really depressing. Your article lifted my spirits! Thank you!

  • Bryan Wilhelm
    April 26, 2020, 8:35 pm

    Great article Jim! To often I hear from people too willing to give their freedoms and individuality away all for the sake of progress and entertainment. People freely give their DNA, facial images, and personal information at the drop of a request disguised as fun. It is even more alarming that some people believe the government has their best interest at heart. Keep up the good work. We are listening!

    • Prhil@Bryan Wilhelm
      April 27, 2020, 2:04 pm

      Right on. My dad and inlaws had 8th grade education in a one room school as did I. They had more smarts and common sense than Tom Wolfe has with all of his education. I think he feels that churches aren’t essential because he doesn’t get any tax revenue from them. My dad and father in law knew how to work and lived to 96 and 95 years of age. God bless your writings, God bless America.

      • Ron Waluzer@Prhil
        April 27, 2020, 8:14 pm

        Well written . I am concerned particularly of those who are overwhelmed with fear perpetrated by the national media.
        These folks need to think of others rather than just ratings/money.
        It will be interesting to learn how the court system will eventually way in on these unconstitutional orders

  • Rev Philip Meher
    April 29, 2020, 7:49 am

    Jim, with all do respect……you are a fool.

    Ben Franklin also said: “ Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.”

    The strict restrictions are a necessity because of the laws of science (And don’t forget God created science) – and for no other reason. It is easy to complain……most fools do.

    I have a friend who is an ER doc in Boston….. she is just trying to keep people alive…..and to stay alive everyday so she can come home to her family. The quote of Ben Franklin you site has to do with politics…. not infectious disease! A highly contagious disease like covid-19 does not care about our freedoms……which is why extreme measures are necessary.

    It was ONE person, whoever that is, that brought this pandemic to the USA… could be ONE person from a small community such as yours that keeps it going….. and kills more people.

    I am not saying we can keep up extreme measures forever….. it is a balancing act…… I am asking you stop complaining about the courageous leadership it takes to fight this pandemic. I am asking you to playing the part of a fool.

    Please kiss your own mask! I assume you wear one?