Editorial

Elementary school students boot up their computers and log in to class from their living rooms.

On screen, a teacher greets all the students and they talk about their morning for a few minutes. Once all the students arrive the teacher begins their lesson for the morning.

At the same time each morning, teachers physically greet students in circumstances different from what we’ve seen in living memory. Those same educators shifted their traditional roles and spent the last part of the school year and this summer helping get food to families in need.

A sign on the store’s entrance thanks customers for wearing a face covering while shopping there. One man gets out of his car and dons a mask as he walks toward a grocery store. Yet, another man inside, face uncovered, defies the wishes of the business and walks through the store without his mask on.

Why? Well it comes down to what people want to believe.

On the topic of face coverings the extremes are often represented. There are those absolutely refusing to wear a mask despite evidence that it helps curtail the spread of COVID-19 and those who angrily confront others for not wearing a mask.

Then there’s the rest of us who may not enjoy the extra face gear in the heat of summer but do it anyway.

Between the extremes of nearly any topic is the sweet spot of understanding.

There’s a reasonable expectation that anyone wear the appropriate attire in any given situation. Remember signs at McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants proclaiming “no shirt, no shoes, no service?” Well how is this different?

Despite those who consistently claim their constitutional rights are being violated by mask ordinances, courts and constitutional scholars have so far disagreed.

In Palm Beach County, Florida, some residents even challenged a local ordinance in court. Snopes.com reported that residents of that county sought an injunction to block a local mask ordinance. Their contention was that the ordinance violated their freedom of speech, right to privacy, due process and the “constitutionally protected right to enjoy and defend life and liberty.”

The court declined that request to issue an injunction against the mask mandate. Citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the court stated that “no constitutional right is infringed by the Mask Ordinance’s mandate … and that the requirement to wear such a covering has a clear rational basis based on the protection of public health.”

More to the point, the Court continued, “constitutional rights and the ideals of limited government do not … allow (citizens) to wholly shirk their social obligation to their fellow Americans or to society as a whole … After all, we do not have a constitutional right to infect others.”

We as a nation are so conflicted right now that even the simplest of things, like wearing face coverings in the midst of a pandemic, have fallen under the specter of politicization.

It’s really time to stop, remember to step away from the TV or social media and look around.

Growth despite difficulty

There’s growth here, where there was not for several years. The Great Recession nearly stopped all construction in this area. At that point there were more businesses closing than opening and the idea of expansion and growth could easily be filed under the “not likely” category.

We came back from that and we’ll come back from this.

Despite the hit we’ve taken economically from the pandemic, a lot of those plans are going forward. We can see growth on Turner McCall and on Redmond Road. We can see growth in the progress made on the Mount Berry Trail.

That trail — paid for with our SPLOST contributions — will eventually circle back and come around the Rome Braves stadium, making a loop with the existing trails. Growth.

It’s a nice little scenic walk, run or bike and can get you away from all the division for a short time. As we round the bend into September, it’s just one more positive thing to look forward to.

Thanks for reading.

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