We’ve Been Here, Before

I remember the date well . . . January 1, 1988. It was New Year’s Day, college football was on television and seat belt requirements became law in our state.

I love my rights. Don’t ever limit my opportunity to speak out, don’t infringe on my 2nd Amendment right, and don’t tell me I must wear a seat belt. A seat belt was uncomfortable and restrictive. It impeded my driving. It did not help my driving improve. In fact, it only was a benefit if I got into a life-threatening accident. I very rarely had a fender-bender, much less a tragic car crash.

And, it was just another move of an oppressive and over-reaching government to control me. I believed and could argue that seat belts were just the first step in a lifetime of limiting my personal freedoms and taking away my rights.

Click it or ticket. I was okay with that. Give me a fine. It didn’t matter. It was my right to not buckle up.

And, then . . . the time came to teach our daughters how to drive. Parking, gas pedal and brake pedal, turn signals, not tuning the radio while driving . . . and, seat belts.

Seat belts became an easy lesson to instruct. My 100-pound daughter commandeering a 4,000 pound vehicle capable of speeds of 100 miles per hour with limited experience behind the wheel was a great motivator.

After passing her classes and earning the privilege to drive, it was her right to decide to buckle up or not. She might never have a accident. Serious injury or loss of limb or life behind the wheel was statistically extremely low.

Yet, one click could keep her from being thrust through a windshield. One click could keep her tethered and secure. One click could save her life. Sacrificing her right could save her life.

To be an loving and responsible example, I started bucking my seatbelt.

I’m now 63 years old, and I still don’t like wearing a seatbelt and shoulder strap . . . but I do. I do it to be an example, to show love and respect for others and to be a good citizen. It has become a habit.

Today, during a documented health pandemic, in our Commonwealth, we are required to wear face masks for the protection of ourselves and others.

Opinions are across the board. Compliance leads to a rigorous debate based on personal rights and potential governmental control.

Wearing masks is not a new prescribed solution. In 1918 wearing masks was required, regulated and respected. You’ll find old photos showing officials, athletes and families wearing masks.

1918 Flu Ga Tech

Some will argue that requiring masks is another move of an oppressive and over-reaching government to control us. Some believe and argue that face masks are just the first step in a lifetime of limiting personal freedoms and taking away rights.

Now, grandkids ask, “Why wear a mask?” With an explanation of personal rights, I include an illustration of responsibly caring for others by following the mandate.

I often struggle elevating the law of love over the law of the land . . . preferring responsibility of others over personal rights of self.

Perhaps wearing a mask is an expression of compassion for my fellowman instead of a extreme control of my own freedoms.

Perhaps the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

Perhaps it’s similar to a Savior giving His single life as a sacrifice for all. When He is lifted up, He draws all to Himself.

Buckle up . . . mask up . . . lift up.

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