OpenAlaska is a grassroots movement of Alaskans who support tried and true virus mitigation strategies that have been implemented historically for similar viruses, such as seasonal influenza. We oppose health mandates and orders that violate the constitution, bodily autonomy, and medical freedom.
At some point, the catastrophic collateral damages of these extreme government restrictions will outweigh any damage from this coronavirus. Though it will be decades before the depth of that damage is truly known, for many of us, that intersection came in April with the extended arbitrary forced closures of private businesses, which prompted the formation of this group. These measures are neither sustainable nor justifiable. Each one has come at a price, and the cost has already been too high. We believe it is our inherent right as human beings to make our own risk assessments. The role of the government is to protect our liberty, not our health. We have been warned of the dangers, we have been given advice to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and we should be allowed to conduct our lives with that knowledge in our own sovereignty.
There are a vast number of reasons why a person might not wear a mask that include physical and mental health afflictions, like high blood pressure, asthma, anxiety, emotional trauma from abuse, PTSD, etc. When there is potential risk or harm, there must be a choice. The local stories of harassment, discrimination, and bullying of people who do not wear a mask is heartbreaking and unacceptable social behavior. To peacefully demonstrate our plight, I suggested that those of us who feel intimidated and afraid to shop alone, shop together. These types of protests and flash mobs have been happening around the country and the world. It was not an original idea of mine, though it struck me as a peaceful way to make a statement. I shared the idea as we were brainstorming what actions we can take to continue to voice our opinions. To remove my post from the context of this closed, private group, and to share it publicly, was unethical and self-righteous gossip. Never in my wildest imagination did I foresee that people would be so afraid of someone not wearing a mask, which is why I deleted it as soon as it was shared. Have you seen some of the violent attacks happening to people who don’t wear masks? Fear creates those violent reactions. I have personally been the recipient of that fearful anger. We must not allow these bullying tactics to become acceptable enforcement of new, potentially harmful to some, societal norms. It has been my goal to respectfully and firmly stand in my position, with kindness and consideration for all people, even those who disagree with me.
It is a fatal conceit to allow one governor, one mayor, or one doctor to paint restrictions with a broad stroke, especially without the data to back it up. This country was founded to fight and protect citizens from this type of arrogance and tyranny. Conflated numbers, contaminated tests, deceitfulness, censorship, exaggerations, grossly inaccurate estimations, politicization, emergency orders without end, moving goal posts, convoluted propaganda, these self-made rulers have lost our trust. The consequences of their actions are far reaching and stunningly disastrous. Some will claim that we have no regard for human life, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. We see the bigger picture. We acknowledge that economic death leads to human death. What will happen to this generation of children ascribed to virtual life and taught to fear their neighbor? Humankind is not designed to live in a socially distanced bubble. The pain and suffering of isolation, from children to the elderly to mothers giving birth alone to victims stuck in abusive homes to human trafficking victims, coupled with the physical weaknesses from preventing normal immune development and denial of medical care deemed “non-essential” is immeasurable, not to mention the millions who are facing starvation globally.
It is painfully obvious that this virus isn’t as deadly as we were initially told, and yet we haven’t changed our perception and approach to it. These huge miscalculations and disagreements in the medical community prove that we must make public policy from a solid foundation to which the citizens have given consent; the constitution. It is time to cast off the panic and reassess. For the vast majority, this is not a death sentence. There are treatments. There is hope. We can move forward with tried and true virus mitigation strategies, and protect the vulnerable, while embracing all that makes us human and free.