To wear or not to wear a mask

Randy Butler Contributing columnist

Randy Butler Contributing columnist

Don’t you think it is human nature that we do not care for being told what to do? We like to think we are very capable of making our own decisions. And when the occasion arises that we aren’t capable, we also tend to naturally be good at placing the blame on someone else for the negative outcomes.

Growing up, my parents were unbelievably bad at always trying to boss me around. As a young boy, I could not take much more of all the rules that were in place. I wanted to ride my bike on U.S. Route 50 more than anything. I did finally get permission to do so at 16 years old, but at that point in my life and having a driver’s license, the desire was gone. I always wondered if that was their plan. Either way, it worked, and they won.

Oddly enough, while attending the first grade I learned that my teacher, Mrs. Brock, had that same annoying quality. She had even more rules that I was expected to follow. And, just like Mom and Dad, it did not matter much what my thoughts were. In the end, she and her rules always won.

At 16, when I was thrust into the workforce, I was beginning to again see the pattern. As it turns out, the manager at Great Scot, Earl Hughes, was just like all the others. He had yet another set of rules that I did not even know existed, and again, I was expected to follow them. I remember thinking, is this my life? Will there always be someone over me with rules? Will I ever have a choice? It just did not seem very fair to me.

Even now, I am considered a sub-contractor as a real estate agent. I am my own boss. But Jenny Hilterbran, being the owner of Classic Real Estate, still has rules I must follow. I also still must pay taxes, buy insurance, dress a certain way, and the list goes on.

It appears to me that the mask or no mask issue is a major debate facing us in Highland County. You can find folks with strong arguments on both sides. How many times have we all heard both sides of the argument — we are so done and sick of wearing a mask, or it doesn’t help anyone or it infringes on my rights.

We were all told a few months ago that masks were a must for all this to end. If we wear masks, lives will be saved, and the pandemic will end. Signs started showing up on business doors saying “mask needed to enter.” The $64,000 question is has it helped us get to the end quicker than if we did not wear them? I have no idea and I am not sure if anyone really knows. I do know that there are no official “mask police.” It is mostly enforced through compliance of the honor system. Most likely, nothing will even be said if we choose not to wear a mask.

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that most of us are leaders in some groups and followers in others. We may be the final say at home and go to work and have a boss that takes that role. We all wear both hats from time to time.

Now, I am in no way saying if we should wear masks or not. That is way above my pay grade. But I would like to pose this question. For us to be effective leaders in some areas of our lives, shouldn’t we also be good followers?

From my understanding, there are no fines or jail time if you are caught without your mask. You will not be banned from your church, bowling alley or anywhere else.

Our governor, the official government leader of our state, mandates that we all wear a mask in public settings. If you are for or against this ruling, for or against our governor, this still applies to us all.

Regardless on your stance on the issues, is it right for us to comply or not to comply with orders mandated by our leaders even though there may be no penalties if we don’t?

You decide.

Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.

Randy Butler Contributing columnist Butler Contributing columnist