A medical professional, wearing a mask, holds up two syringes in an “X” shape, symbolizing the vaccine as a weapon against the COVID-19 virus. Courtesy of Flickr

Nick Hughes
Managing Editor

The anti-vaccine movement, better known as anti-vaxxers, is a movement I detest. As an autistic person, I have been the target of a fear campaign saying that autism is worse than death and that my existence needs to be cured. 

That type of life is one that I have grown accustomed to and one that I thrive on. I advocate for myself and other autistic individuals. I fight to have my existence validated by those who hate it. The latest anti-vaxxer group though is one that I will not and cannot tolerate. The refusal by so many to not get covid-19 vaccines is childish and morally reprehensible. As well as a staunch refusal to wear a mask to potentially protect others from contracting covid-19. One reason I hear that anti-vaxxers will not wear the piece of cloth or get the vaccine is that it infringes on the civil rights of their person. How does it do that? The simple answer, for me, is that it does not. 

Another big issue here, for me especially, is that the masks are infringing on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and this upsets me. 

“The ADA is an anti-discrimination law meant to provide similar legal protections to disabled Americans as other groups protected under federal civil rights law because of their color, race, sex, religion and national origin.” – USA Today.

This means I cannot be fired or removed from any position because of my autism. Along those lines, there are no disabilities that directly affect the ability to wear a mask. That is not to say that wearing a mask cannot be uncomfortable for some. It is uncomfortable for me a lot of the time, but I manage. I am a big person and I have many physical limitations because of that, but I still wear that mask. Also, it is itchy because of my beard. These are all discomforts that I experienced wearing a mask. That does not make them disabilities. 

It is petty to me that the anti-vaxxers and anti-mask people would use disabilities like this. These actions make it harder for disabled people to function even more than it already is. Being disabled is not fun, and the implications that these anti-vaccine and mask groups are establishing are tearing down at a glimpse of acceptance that the disabled community wants.

There is a lot of anger on both sides of this issue. One that can be directly seen in the schools of the Lancaster area. I watch the news sporadically and I see stories about shouting matches all the time concerning the mask mandates. Covid is a severe problem and the states have the authority to enact these mandates. This comes directly from court cases that were decided during the last major pandemic, polio. 

An investigation done by Newsweek:

In accordance with the 10th Amendment, the power that isn’t given to the federal government in the Constitution falls on the states, including responding to a public health crisis. So, as far as states having the power to implement a mask mandate, it likely would be upheld in court because the police power regulated to states has traditionally implied its ability to promote the public health and welfare of the general public.

As for a mask mandate violating someone’s personal liberty, there’s a 115-year-old precedent. In 1905, a citizen argued in the Jacobson v. Massachusetts case that a smallpox inoculation mandate infringed on his rights, but the Supreme Court upheld the Cambridge Board of Health’s authority to require the vaccine under the 10th Amendment.

What this tells me is that the world is currently in the middle of a pandemic and that the states all have the power to impose mask mandates. They are within their constitutional rights. 

The political nature of this pandemic, which is utter nonsense that it even happened, is not helping the situation either. Former President Trump called it a hoax. I think we can all agree that it is not a hoax, but that rhetoric established a line for the American people to sit on either side of. The politicization of this pandemic is stupid and should have never happened. Look at Marjorie Taylor Greene as an example of why politics and science should not cross with each other. Greene has accumulated 48,000 in fines just for not wearing a mask. 

USA Today reports, “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has been fined at least $48,000 since May for not wearing a mask on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.” What does this do? What purpose is she trying to accomplish? She states that the democrats are being tyrannical with the mask mandates. I do not get that. 

The masks help prevent the spread of covid and I think that we all need to continue to wear them for as long as the pandemic continues. It has, for me at least, become second nature to put my mask on before leaving my house. I applaud Millersville for continuing to enforce a mandate and that makes me feel safer here on campus.

I applaud the schools that are taking a stand and enforcing mask mandates. Now, with the vaccines, it gets a little trickier. I understand that, but I still am of the mind that if able, people should get their vaccinations for covid. As well as the boosters as they become available. I get a flu shot every year and I feel a little yucky the day after, but that is a lot better than missing three weeks of my life in bed. I feel the same way if covid boosters become a yearly injection. 

This whole issue is messy and there may not be an easy solution, but the constitutional precedent and the moral precedent are clear. Please, wear a mask and if you have not yet, get your vaccine.