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OPINION: Animosity is worse than illness

by Annette Beard | September 29, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

School officials have contemplated mandating masks for students, staff, visitors. The request was presented to the School Board twice, the first time it was approved for a temporary period. The second time, it was rejected.

During that time, school officials and School Board members have received comments from members of the public and numerous parents of students appeared at the meetings.

The emotions seemed to be fervent, passionate on both sides of the question.

Sadly, one person at least felt impelled to write to a school official berating the person's decision and even stating that if a loved family member had died of covid, maybe that official would feel differently about the mandate. The writer went so far as to express wishes of tragedy on this person.

Regardless of one's personal opinion on the efficacy of mask wearing to ward off illness, there is no mandate, no official telling people not to wear masks. Each person is free to do as he or she pleases.

The issue is actually much bigger, much more eternal than whether one contracts an illness.

The hateful, even murderous attitudes expressed have far more eternal consequences than a physical illness that may lead to physical death.

Being hateful, bitter, angry is worse than cancer in that it destroys one's soul, one's spirit and ultimately all relationships in which one finds one's self.

Honestly, most of us are not well enough educated scientifically or medically to debate the questions surrounding the current pandemic and the government's response to it. It seems that much of the antagonism is more about personal freedoms and rights long associated with the American dream than with the medical issue.

The divisiveness is deadly.

We judge people by whether they're wearing a mask or whether they've been vaccinated. Many people who've become ill are afraid to admit it. And many people have lost loved ones.

What we need is mutual respect and compassion. We need to recognize each person's right to hold fervently to their own belief without condemning others and wishing them ill.

I truly hope we can find peace with one another through this time of turmoil.

•••

Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas for five years. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at [email protected]

Print Headline: Animosity is worse than illness

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