A very slippery slope

In all the discussion lately about COVID vaccine mandates, one thing has been noticeably absent, and that is any mention of the individual’s right to privacy.

Numerous state and federal laws clearly state that you do not have to share your private health information and that failure to do so cannot result in retaliation or discrimination in any way. But clearly federal, state and local authorities have no regard for the rule of law.

How can the federal government require its employees to get vaccinated or wear a mask? Isn’t that discriminating against the unvaccinated? How can cities mandate proof of vaccination to enter businesses? What gives them the right to ask personal health information?

Is it ok for the customer to ask the same questions of the server in a restaurant? What about other health questions or conditions? Is it now okay to refuse service to a blind person because they might stumble and hurt themselves or someone else? Can I ask a business owner for proof of vaccination for smallpox, measles, shingles, the flu, etc.?

Oh, you think this sounds absurd? How many of you reading this would have envisioned in January of 2020 that you would have to be vaccinated against an unknown disease just to go grab a burger less than two years later? This just seems to be a very slippery slope.

Curt Warner

Santa Maria

Cooperation for benefit of community

As a retired teacher and former school board member, I have watched with interest demonstrations by teachers, policemen, firemen and others across the country protesting requirements that they be vaccinated against the COVID virus or face losing their jobs.

As a new hire by the Santa Maria High School District in 1961, I, along with other new hires, was required to certify in writing that I was not then, and had never been, a member of the Communist Party.

Included in the information packet given to new hires was a copy of J. Edgar Hoover's anti communist screed, "None Dare Call It Treason," courtesy of the local John Birch Society, and without doubt with board and superintendent's approval.

In addition, teachers were required to adhere to a dress code that required a coat and tie for men and skirts of an appropriate length for women. Teachers were also required to annually demonstrate freedom from tuberculosis. While not a fan of Hoover or of Senator Joseph McCarthy, neither I nor my colleagues questioned the right of our employer to establish or enforce the terms of our employment.

Humankind, gregarious by nature, learned early in our evolutionary journey that cooperation produced positive results. Outliers - those refusing to cooperate - were tolerated so long as their unwillingness to cooperate posed no threat to the community as a whole.

We are in the second year of the worst epidemic in American history. Three quarters of a million Americans have died. We have an effective vaccine against this disease and yet about 30 percent of us remain unvaccinated. The unvaccinated among us pose a potentially lethal threat to the community at large and must be required to cooperate or understand and have the courage to absorb whatever penalties the government or their employers impose.

Robert Hoffman

Santa Maria

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