From: William Van Brunt

Winona

 

Remember when cars didn’t have seat belts? I do.

The year was 1973 and my family had a 1961 Chevy. Seat belts weren’t mandated in vehicles until 1968, so our car didn’t have them. We were rear-ended by some jerk in the middle of the day. It was a very violent encounter for someone as young as I was. I remember the male driver trying to blame my mother for stopping too quickly. The guy was probably drunk since we were driving west on Sanborn Street and had to stop at Mankato Avenue. The adults in the car gave him a good scolding and luckily we went on living. 

Remember when seat belt use became a law? I do. That unnecessary freedom came to an end in the 1980s as politicians all around the country stepped up to save lives. Minnesota began enforcing seat belts in 1986 and today all 49 serious states mandate seat belt use in vehicles because it saves lives. It’s what good governments do right? Good governments make sure minors don’t drink. They make sure adults don’t drink and drive. They also make sure everyone who drives a car has insurance. It’s the law. 

Do you remember the crazy comments people made about seat belt laws? I do. My favorite was the one people told after they rolled their car over on the way home from “work” late at night. The story always included a police officer who told them they would be dead if they hadn’t been thrown from the car. I’m serious; a coworker told me this exact story. Boring politicians; however, just said it was a communist takeover or worse, the nanny state. The clever politicians asked what was next, cigarettes? Um, yes, actually. 

Unlike QAnon, I know what is going to happen to the anti-mask and anti-vaccination freedoms. You see, the anti-mask and anti-vaccination arguments were never about freedom anyway. They are just rehashed talking points from a long time ago. They were used in the 1980s, and they were not even new then. They are just lazy arguments to drive a wedge between you, me and real freedom. 

So just like in the 1980s, multiple groups are going to motivate the politicians in America to compel you to make good choices. You have probably heard or read the opening arguments from those groups already. They are the grieving mothers and fathers who have actually lost their children to CVOID-19. They are the big moneyed interests that stand to gain or lose lots of money to a completely controllable illness. 

You know who was tasked with preserving our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I do. It was our government and our government is all of us. Please start wearing a mask and get vaccinated. They both save lives.