Free to Say, Yet Responsible to Truth

Recently I read an article in the Iredell Free Press by Karissa Miller about the first Iredell County Commissioner’s meeting in 2022. Miller’s article covered the arguments of parents objecting to the mask’s mandates for local schools. While her article presented anticipated parental objections against the mandate,  one stood out for its originality.

According to Miller, Ms. Paula Mimaugh told the commissioners, “I recently learned that the federal government is bribing the public schools to abuse children.” She went on say that this is being done through federal COVID-19 funds, which total $47.3 million, of which the school system has spent approximately $7.3 million. Mimaugh went on to explain that “Every six months schools must submit reports of how they are abusing the children. This report must show forced masking of children all day with only a small break for lunch.”

As a citizen of Iredell County, North Carolina; the United States of America; and Earth, the words of Ms.Mimaugh and all folks like her frighten me. Take a moment and ponder what she is stating as fact: “I recently learned that….” Never mind that she does not enlighten her listeners or readers as to where she learned the astounding “fact” that the federal government is using COVID-19 funds to bribe local schools “to abuse children.” She just throws out this bizarre statement expecting any listener or reader to accept her failure in logic or even in common sense.

Certainly Ms. Mimaugh has the protection of our blessed 1st Amendment, and I support her right to say what she wants in such a meeting. In fact, I applaud her sense of civic duty in attending this meeting and others, such as health department meetings, to express her concerns. But! While Ms. Mimaugh’s statements are stated in plain language, what they state as truth is absurd, astonishing, insane, ridiculous, and more; but most of all it is dangerous.

First of all, her words are dangerous to herself and other citizens, especially our children,  because they may sway folks to object to science concerning the pandemic. While scientists are learning more each day about the virus, we know for certain that wearing a quality mask, keeping distance from others, and often washing of hands are a good defense against it. Ms. Mimaugh’s  “facts” threaten that knowledge by undercutting the truths of known science. Her words are also a danger to our democracy because they undermine the work of our federal government. I ask her and others who support such thinking to ask what is gained by abusing our children on such a level and to imagine where we would be without Operation Warp Speed, federal government testing sites, free federal government masks, and free federal government vaccines. To say that our democracy abuses its children through the use of COVID funds strikes me as a sad misunderstood conclusion of some fact or facts that Ms. Mimaugh read or heard. That, or she has a sinister motive, but I prefer to think that she or any other citizen would have an evil motive against our republic.

Our Founding Fathers were supporters of a learned and informed citizenry. They wrote extensively about the value of education and feared the danger to our republic by uninformed citizens. Men such as Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, and Hamilton were writers, speakers, readers, and imperfect. But their imperfections did not lead them to support or even acknowledge such mistreatment of truth as expressed by Ms. Mimaugh.

She is free to say what she wants. But she has a responsibility to make certain it is true.

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