Chesney Guest Column: Mask mandate tripe reeks of hypocrisy

Governor Pritzker announced new COVID mitigations this week, due in part to the spread of the “Delta variant”. New mitigations will include masking in schools. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 virus continues to infect Illinoisans while policies aimed at addressing the spread continue to divide Illinoisans like few other issues in our modern era.

The coronavirus is serious, especially for the unvaccinated, and common-sense steps should be taken by those at increased risk of transmission or infection. Operation Warp Speed, under President Trump, allowed the development of COVID vaccines at a rate we have never seen in world history. These remarkable medical breakthroughs are helping allow Americans to get back to work and are protecting those who are medically able and willing to receive the vaccine.

To be clear, I encourage everyone who wants to get a COVID vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Where we may part ways is when vaccine advocates start saying individuals shouldn’t have a choice in getting vaccinated. When you start talking about destroying Rights, well you know that you can count me out!

Governor Pritzker is once again taking a “go it alone” approach to managing this situation after 17 months. By not allowing local control over these decisions; by not involving the co-equal legislative branch in his decision making, Pritzker owns this mess wholesale. As a reminder, Pritzker’s party has supermajority partisan control over both the Illinois House and Senate. They wouldn’t need a single Republican vote to enact these same mandates through the legislature. They could do it on their own, with legitimacy, but legislative democrats are content to let Pritzker own this mess. They likely know these Executive actions will be unpopular with moms and dads in their district as much as it is with moms and dads in Republican districts.

Republicans have filed numerous bills throughout the Spring and Summer to attempt to restore local control over these decisions. Republicans trust the superintendents, local health administrators, parents and teachers to make the best decision for students based on their 17 months experience dealing with these issues in their local communities. If there is data indicating continued outbreaks are because of spread between unvaccinated children under 12, then it certainly has not been shared with the legislature. If that data exists, why isn’t the CDC laser-focused on clearing vaccinations for children under 12?

Unfortunately, it seems the only “science” at play here is “political science”. Accompanying this new mask mandate was also a bevy of threats against private schools or public schools who disagree with this latest edict. According to Pritzker, resistance will be futile and will further be met with funding cuts in the midst of a pandemic. Hmmm…this is Democrat Governor Pritzker putting kids at top of mind? I guess the “don’t punish the kids because of the parents” tripe we hear from Democrats when it comes to illegal immigration doesn’t apply to the latest lever-of-control they plan to exercise to get YOU to COMPLY. Shameful.