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The Misuse of Civil Disobedience

People are free to do whatever they want to do.


That statement is a known fact that has been proven throughout the course of history. In the event, certain government laws challenge or possibly threaten that freedom, people are prone to respond. The United States (U.S.), unlike other countries, has been recorded in history for various ways of how people usually respond. Other governments would call the response insubordination. The U.S., however, would prefer to name the response as “civil disobedience.” Civil disobedience is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest. That definition is also supported by the rights within the Constitution of the United States.


People are free to do whatever they want to do.


It is important to note that the U.S. has a significant history of its citizens exercising civil disobedience, dating back to the Boston Tea Party all the way to the Voting Rights Movement of the 1960s. Generally, these events took place as a response to unfair laws that threatened the livelihoods of Americans. In doing so, there is usually a favorable outcome that validates the reasoning for civil disobedience. Even the historic literary philosopher Henry David Thoreau subscribed to the belief that to be simply against or in disagreement with something that is considered unjust is not enough. One must act, even if sometimes that action is not peaceful. Many Black Americans can identify with Thoreau’s sentiments in the summer of 2020, when the murder of George Floyd sparked a wave of protests that turned violent in some cities. So civil disobedience is not just a suggestion but can really be a considered a part of life. Conversely, that is not what is happening today.


People are free to do whatever they want to do.


At present, the U.S. is caught in a savage firestorm of division brought on by a declaration on culture war and its failure to address its racist history. Since the “official” discovery of COVID-19 on December 31, 2019, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recorded over 41 million confirmed cases. Out of those cases, over 670,000 Americans have died. During that time, world health experts and scientists have since pleaded for people to consider three very simple things that will decrease the chance to contracting the virus as well as reducing the chances for variants to form- wear a mask, practice social distancing, (And later in early 2021) and consider getting vaccinated. The simplest of asks have turned into an unnecessary fabricated political fight against human rights. In response to these three simple asks, the U.S. has seen a spike in hate crimes and protests outside health facilities. Most recently, President Biden has issued an executive order that asks the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to direct all companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations. This has since then, sparked additional outrage toward the government because people who identify as “Anti-Vaxxers” believe that their freedom is in danger.


People are free to do whatever they want to do.


The truth of the matter is, there is no danger with wearing a mask or getting vaccinated. In reality, the very people who are crying out against mask and vaccination mandates are honestly the ones who are, not only the danger, but they are putting others at risk. Scientists and health experts have tested and proven the success of masks and vaccines against COVID-19. Every test always confirm that the benefits of masks and vaccinations outweigh the risk of taking on COVID-19 unprotected. Currently, in states with no mask mandates and where vaccination rates are the lowest, cities are being faced with an uptick of not just COVID cases, but COVID deaths. The fact is people are dying. So, in this case, those people who choose to defy what health experts have laid out, are not exercising civil disobedience. They are simply being defiant. This writer challenges Americans to hold their fellow citizens to task. This is a not a political crisis. This is a health crisis with the potential to possibly sink the economy.


People are free to do whatever they want to do, but that does not apply when lives are being lost during what can be considered the most preventable crisis in history.


For more information on best practices against COVID-19, please see your healthcare professional or visit CDC.org.

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