About a month ago, Kelso City Council voted 6-1 in favor of a resolution that allows people free to choose whether or not to get vaccinated without threatening their livelihoods. Shortly thereafter, an unedited opinion piece by TDN’s editorial board appeared in the newspaper condemning the vote, then proceeding with a slew of red herrings, straw men and other logical errors that were downright embarrassing for someone to read in a newspaper. who is supposed to be well educated.
Among the many bad arguments put forward was the idea that the vote was unnecessary. While it is true that many votes on resolutions and other formal declarations do not have the weight of the policing power or constitutional scope of this government, that does not mean that the vote is without merit. The government of the people is staggered on so many levels. People are represented at the city, county, district, state and federal level with much more nuance. When a governor takes control of a state and releases the legislature from all responsibility, it is the duty of all individuals and entities to display their dissatisfaction with contempt for the rule of law. With such an attitude unfavorable to mandate policies in our communities, it would be professional misconduct for a municipal council not to express its disagreement.
The other critical mistake that I had the displeasure of trying to figure out was the slippery slope idea that governments have controlled people’s lives in the past, even in bad faith. This should give the government the right to do it again. A ridiculous analogy has been drawn that government agencies have repeatedly enforced laws prohibiting marriage to people of other races. What can this point mean for the current debate? “Governments have done wrong in the past and got away with it, so we should put up with it here?” What am I missing in this terrible analogy. Another unfortunate analogy was that of the DUI policies on our roads and the way our governments regulate this aspect of our lives. The problem here is a comparison between apples and oranges. You are not convicted of impaired driving until you choose to drive while intoxicated, evidence has been gathered against you, and you have not obtained guarantees of due process. In our case, without any proof that you have COVID, or that you represent a danger to anyone, you are already guilty simply by deciding not to wear a mask or not to be vaccinated. Without any proof of endangering anyone or infringing on anyone’s rights, you will be convicted of your health choices. If anyone knew they had a fatal disease and was putting others at risk, we would already have laws in place to prosecute that person. This case concerns people guilty, until they are declared innocent thanks to the presentation of a vaccination passport.