The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 1:00 am

The general welfare

We can all agree that 'unvaccinated lives matter'; let's make sure we're doing all to protect them

Marty Lemert

Unvaccinated Lives Matter!

This is what Rep. Jim Banks recently tweeted in protest of President Joe Biden’s announcement last week about implementing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for large employers and health care workers.

Banks declared on Facebook that such mandates are “authoritarianism, plain and simple.”

A parent leader of the school unmask movement recently claimed that he and his child have no obligation to the health of others. Many of the parents at these school board meetings proclaim their “liberties” are being revoked and masking mandates in school violate their “constitutional rights.”

The only correct statement above is the first one: Unvaccinated lives matter. Especially those unvaccinated lives who cannot access the vaccine: children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated Americans are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated Americans.

We all have an obligation to protect the health and well-being of one another. It is right there in the Constitution. The preamble states that not only are we the people forming a government for the purpose of “securing the blessings of liberty” but also to “ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense [and] promote the general welfare.”

For whom? We the people and our posterity.

Anyone who has attended an area school board meeting or reviewed Banks’ social media feeds knows there has been little domestic tranquility of late.

We are in a campaign against a deadly enemy called COVID-19. We need to be fighting that foe rather than one another.

Your liberty to swing your fists stops at the chin of another person. Because that kind of liberty is libertine and demotes, rather than promotes, the general welfare of we the people.

Our service to our country does not begin or end with military service or public service. We have ongoing obligations as citizens of this nation to ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country.

Right now, with Allen County only 55% fully vaccinated and ICU bed capacity at 7.5%, what we can do is get vaccinated and mask up in schools to protect our unvaccinated kids.

Marty Lemert is a Fort Wayne attorney and secretary for the 3rd District Democratic Party.

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