Would you smoke a cigarette on an airplane to assert your right to do as you choose? The need to limit a citizen’s “right” to do whatever they please in situations where their actions can present a danger to others is an essential element of democratic society.

Wearing a mask during a pandemic has nothing to do with tyranny. In a democratic society we agree to work together for the common good and to live by rules and laws that define our responsibilities as citizens. As my high school civics instructor taught me, unlimited freedom to choose to do whatever one wants, regardless of the harm it brings to one’s neighbors, more closely defines anarchy.

All the documents that define our democratic society, from the U.S. Constitution to the Haines Borough Code, outline our duty as a civil society to establish rules to protect the public safety and welfare.

Sorry, it seems disingenuous to make pandemic mask wearing about tyranny and turning people into sheep. To me, it seems more like an effort to repackage selfishness as personal freedom. How is it that wearing a mask for 10 minutes while in the grocery store imposes such a threat to our freedom that it outweighs our responsibility to assure that others can be free from a life-threatening illness?

Why has covering one’s nose and mouth become such a political issue? We have cheerfully acquiesced all our lives to rules that require us to “mask” other parts of our body in public.

George Figdor