We cannot forget that with our freedom comes great responsibility, both collectively and individually. While we have tremendous freedoms, there are limits. For example, we do not have the freedom to hurt innocent people. More specifically, we do not have the right to infect others with a deadly disease. When something as simple as wearing a mask over our mouth and nose and respecting social distancing guidelines becomes a political statement, we are not acting responsibly. We are acting selfishly.
Science shows that if everyone wears masks in public and adheres to social distance guidelines the spread of this disease will be dramatically reduced. It will save lives. Failure to act responsibly, however, has allowed this virus to explode to record numbers in the United States. Though much of the world is containing the COVID virus and is gradually returning to normal, we are the global example of how NOT to handle a pandemic.
The United States still does not have a uniform nationwide response to the COVID crisis, and the world has noticed. The European Union is reopening its borders, but not to Americans because we are not properly defending ourselves against the COVID virus. We are considered a threat, and Europe does not want our failure to spread to their continent. We are also not permitted to travel to Canada, and within our own borders some states require people travelling from other states to quarantine. The lack of an effective pandemic response is hampering the industry’s recovery and will lead directly to the loss of air and rail industry jobs.
The COVID-19 virus has already cost millions of jobs around the country, but if we cannot contain it we will lose countless more. We are all responsible for our own safety and the safety of those we work with.
- Wear a mask, or shut down the economy again;
- Wear a mask, or ground the airlines and suspend rail service;
- Wear a mask, or keep local businesses closed;
- Wear a mask, or continue spreading the virus and killing others;
Those who refuse to wear a mask are stating publicly that they do not care if they infect others with a deadly disease. That type of self-serving action undermines the free, responsible society that we celebrate this weekend. That level of selfishness is killing people.
General Vice President IAMAW Transportation Department
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