Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Masking the real COVID problem

It’s like the plague is closing in all around me, and I’m not talking about the coronavirus. I’m talking about power-hungry politicians and their ridiculous regulations.

So, I was in Lowe’s recently getting some materials for a project on my boat when I began to look for a place to check out. An Asian gentleman standing in one of the checkout lines said something to me, but I couldn’t understand it through his mask. I leaned in closer. “You are my hero,” he said. I swelled with pride. I figured he was a radio listener who recognized me. “Thank you,” I said. Then he motioned me back closer. “You are defying the mask order. It is so stupid.” I suddenly got it. I thanked him again and looked around. I was the only one in the store not wearing a mask. Then I realized something else. I was no longer in my sane county where wearing a mask is optional. I was in Nashville, where wearing a mask is mandatory. And my unwitting defiance had inspired someone.

Flash forward a few days. The mask mandate had followed me home. The mayor of Williamson County, Rogers Anderson, announced a county-wide mask mandate. 

Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood on this mask thing. I have no problem if you want to wear a mask. Personally, I don’t see how it does much good. Scientifically, I know it won’t keep you from getting coronavirus. It may keep someone from spreading it, but if you’re sick you have no business in public anyway. The problem I have is not with the masks but with the mandates.

The science is certainly not settled on coronavirus. This situation is still fluid. Anyone who tells you to “follow the science” doesn’t know what they’re talking about. What I prefer to do is follow common sense. Moreover, I prefer to follow the Constitution.

If I come into contact with someone with coronavirus then I have a personal obligation to stay away from other people for two weeks. That’s called personal responsibility. Instead, government officials, like they’re doing in my county, are taking advantage of the panic to exercise power they don’t have. My county has a population of over 200,000 people. You know how many people have died outside of nursing homes in my county? Less than ten. So, we’re going to tell nearly a quarter of a million people to wear a mask everywhere they go because fewer than a dozen people have died? I don’t think so.

Which brings me to my new hero, Andy Ogles. Andy is the mayor of neighboring Maury County. He boldly announced that he “took an oath to defend our constitution” and said he “intended to do so.” With that he announced “there will be no mask mandate in Maury County.” That’s called leadership. He urged social distancing and supported a business’s right to require you to wear a mask, but he understands the limits of his power. He also understands what freedom really means.

We have a long national discussion ahead of us, because the next issue that’ll be pushed by the mask mandators is the vaccine. Alan Dershowitz says the state has the right to force you to get vaccinated. He says you don’t have the right to infect someone else. Think about that for a moment. If I decide not to get vaccinated, the only people I may be putting at risk are people who have made the same decision.

Freedom isn’t that complicated. Either we have it or we don’t. For many, we don’t.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Showon SuperTalk 99.7WTN in Nashville. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast and I'm Calling Bovine Scatology.


  1. I'm afraid we're going to mandate a vaccine that hasn't been thoroughly tested. Jacobson v Massachusetts is the case Dershowitz is reference. That was smallpox, something infinitely more deadly than coronavirus.

    We mandate MMR vaccines, but we know they're effective. This one, we won't know.

  2. Sheep come in all shapes and sizes. It is really sad that people can't see that freedoms are being lost by sheep mentality.

  3. Very well said!! We have to stand for our freedom and our rights

  4. Phil...what about the 10th amendment as it pertains to states having the power to protect the health of its citizens? I’m not a mask guy either. If others feel safer with on then so be it. I had a judge friend of mine say the 10th amendment covered the mask mandate. Your thoughts?

  5. A real hero you are. Way to take a stand. Nothing says authoritarianism like asking someone to kindly wear a mask when they're around other people. And man it's soooooooo hard to hear when people speak through cloth. Really? You need to get your hearing checked. You have other issues besides the mask. But you're right. The mask has presented other issues. Like people politicizing everything. Like a health crisis. Get it together people. You're loons.

  6. Typical Republican, jumping on the party bandwagon and ignoring science. ( and I am mostly Republican ). The mask is not for you, it’s for others. You don’t just instantly get covid. Early on in December, I know I walked around asymptomatic for a couple of weeks before it really surfaced. With no mask I could have spread the disease unknowingly and maybe did. So be a good citizen and don’t be a possible spreader.

  7. I have never participated in local elections before, but I am all in now! Every time I am forced to wear a mask in a county with less than 1% infection rate it angers me. I am trying to gather as much information as possible on local elections. It is not as easy as I thought it would be.

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