Becker: We are owed an apology, but don't hold your breath
Rick Becker is the founder and leader of the Bastiat Caucus of the North Dakota Republican Party and a member of the North Dakota legislature. He joins The Dickinson Press' opinion page as a guest columnist.
We are coming up on two years of dealing with COVID. More information continues to become available. The “science” is changing significantly, but the fear-mongering remains unchanged. I will say again, the political battle over COVID is not between pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, nor between pro-maskers and anti-maskers. It is between people who want to impose mandates on others, and people who believe it should be a personal choice. With a great deal of moral grandstanding, the pro-mandaters say that the anti-mandaters are selfish, with no regard for the well-being of others.
Despite all the fear-mongering, the cherry-picked data, and weak “science”, it is becoming apparent that mask mandates, business shutdowns, quarantine of healthy people, contact tracing, school closures and various government intrusions does not change the course of the disease.
As just one example, the Department of Health, American Academy of Pediatricians and local health entities put a great deal of pressure on school boards to institute mask mandates on children. Despite their warnings of grave outcomes, some schools elected to make masking a recommendation, while others made it mandatory. All the data thus far shows there is no statistically significant difference in the infection rate in children, often with the non-mandate schools having a lower rate of infection. Unnecessarily masking children is detrimental to their psycho-social well-being. Being completely wrong, as these so-called authorities clearly are, should be a big deal. Is anyone saying, “I was wrong”? Nope. That’s not something we hear when it comes to COVID.
Why do we not hear one instance of an apology or admission of error? The pro-mandaters deftly move from a disproven argument or bit of “science” to another. That’s because this is not about science. It is about control. It is about embracing the perception that one is morally superior. The anti-mandater says, “Please just let me make my own decision” while the pro-mandater says, “I know better. I have a deeper awareness. I need to tell you what to do”. And yet, time and time again, they are wrong.
Admitting their error will erode the foundation of their elevated position. Their perception of moral superiority, a house of cards, will collapse around them. Nevertheless, the public deserves apologies. We are due admissions of error.
We are owed this from the governor and state health department for the mask mandate and shutting down businesses, neither of which changed the course of the disease. We are owed an admission that their policies harmed people economically, and likely increased the rate of depression, anxiety, suicide, domestic abuse, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.
We are owed an admission that tremendous resources were wasted in money and man-hours for an enormously expanded contact tracing system that didn’t work, and was never intended for an aerosolized viral pandemic.
We are owed an apology from federal and state agencies, the governor and the bureaucrats who wrongly said the vaccine would protect people from getting the virus; who wrongly said that immunity from the vaccine was better than immunity from having had COVID; and who wrongly said that unvaccinated people were responsible for the emergence of variant COVID strains.
We are owed an apology from hospital administrators, physicians, long-term care providers and others for not allowing sick and dying people to have the choice to be with or even see their loved ones - even on their death bed. To have an elderly person die of failure to thrive (loneliness) due to imposed rules should be a crime.
We are owed an apology (and prosecution) of Dr. Fauci for lying about the origin of the virus and type of research being conducted, and the complicities' of he and his colleagues in this entire ordeal.
We are owed an apology from politicians who have no problem imposing mandates and restrictions on others which they have no intention of actually following themselves.
We are owed acknowledgement from reporters who put spin on stories to stoke fear, who put masks on only for the camera and who are complicit in creating a false narrative.
We are owed an apology from the various pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatricians for demanding mandates everywhere and on everyone, being willfully blind to the risks and downsides of their policies. They view themselves and the government as the mommies and daddies, and the rest of us as the children. People with this mindset are the last people we should be listening to.
Lastly, I would like a simple, “I was wrong” from the folks who were convinced by fear-mongers to shame, ridicule and marginalize those of us who just want to be free to make the decisions we believe are best for ourselves and our families.
And to all of you who believe masking or vaccinating is the best choice for you and your families, but respect the option for others to make a different choice, I say, “I respect your decision. Thank you for letting me make mine. I hope we all get through this in good health.”