Withrow: Reclaim responsibility for your own lives and those of your children

Submitted by Sage Withrow, Greenwich RTC – District 7

In what sure seems an attempt to bury the lede, Governor Lamont issued a late Friday evening letter asking the legislature to extend his “emergency” powers for a seventh time as well as to codify several of his executive orders issued under the emergency authorization.

Two years on and we’re still being led by folks whose principal focus is enforcing and compelling behavior in others rather than allowing an individual to assess and mitigate their own risk. Worse yet, our children are bearing the brunt of the Governor’s timorousness.

While the vast majority of the executive orders made under the emergency power declaration have outlived any possible usefulness they may have once had, 13A, which compels our children to have masks in school has moved beyond a mere pernicious theater of the absurd and become outright harmful to development. I was recently in a parent-teacher conference for my three-year-old when I received a message that will come with little or no surprise to parents of young children over the past two years; my son, and several other students, are having difficulty learning to enunciate correctly because he can see neither his teacher’s nor his fellow student’s mouths moving when they speak. Furthermore, the ability to read emotion and understand subtle social queues has been severely impaired. These are but a few of several learning difficulties that are completely unaccounted for and whose impact is only beginning to be properly understood. Our nannies in Hartford, in their zeal to “do something!” have proven incapable of doing any shred of risk assessment or analyzing for a moment the consequences of their policies.

Though it has almost certainly always been the case with this virus, the Omicron variant has laid bare that cloth masks do not come close to justifying their mandate with effectiveness in preventing spread.  Never mind the overwhelming majority of children who become infected barely notice. It’s ok, kids are resilient right? They’ll adapt and overcome. Maybe. But for what? All cost, no benefit.

As Dostoevsky guided, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself”. Unfortunately, two years into a global tragedy and our betters in Hartford (& Washington for that matter) continue to do so and have lost both the ability to distinguish the truth and any modicum of respect for others. Particularly the children whose voices are drowned out by the state-imposed tape over their mouths and have no recourse at the ballot box.  

There are those who would love to take the action further and mandate N95’s, and while I disagree, I at least give them points for honesty. The notion at this stage in the pandemic, that cloth masks in school settings are anything beyond performative theater is patently absurd.

None of this is to say that those who feel that, individually, they would benefit from wearing a mask should be prevented from doing so. Please, by all means, manage and mitigate your risk as you see fit. There was a time when we viewed that process as the very nature of freedom. If you, and your doctor, think you should be triple vaxxed, double masked and wrapped in packing peanuts that’s your prerogative. It is another matter entirely when, two years in, those at the lowest point on the risk tolerance curve continue to seek the power of the state’s bayonet to compel behavior on the part of their neighbors.

President Reagan famously quipped that the closest thing to eternal life on Earth is a government program, but at least those originate in an elected legislature. The time for diktats from the executive branch, rubber stamped under the guise of an “emergency” or otherwise, has passed.

I urge everyone to reach out to their representatives in Hartford and make them fully aware that you, as a free citizen in a great country, intend to reclaim responsibility for your own lives and those of your children.