The picture you see here was snapped at the Preston Royal Eatzi’s. I encountered it here on Facebook. So Phil Romano, owner of Eatzi’s — a man who was sued for allegedly groping an employee, which alleged groping was documented on video — has let us know what he thinks of lifting the mask mandate. To his mind, it’s un-American. As Americans, we should be able to choose whether we wear a mask. Such choice is the bedrock of our country. Everyone, I think, will agree that I’ve faithfully relayed the intention behind Romano’s sign. Those are the facts.
Now then. Here’s what I think.
Leaving aside for a moment what America was founded on (slave labor and stolen land were big players), we limit freedom of choice all the time. We do it in the interest of the common good. There are lots of places where you can’t choose to smoke. You can’t choose to drive a car as fast as you’d like — or without insurance or without wearing a seatbelt. You can’t choose to leave your house without putting on some clothes. You can’t choose to bring a gun onto an airplane.
I could go on.
Choosing not to wear a mask while shopping in a place like Eatzi’s is not a patriotic act. (Though it is, sadly, very American.) Choosing to hang a jingoistic sign in your place of business that encourages inconsiderate (even if you don’t believe it’s dangerous) public behavior is loutish. But you know what? There’s no law against being loutish. This is one choice Romano is allowed to make.