To Delegate Arikan and Councilman Wagner: Are there times when responsibility surpasses liberty?
Neither responsibility nor liberty is better than the other, instead when deciding which way to go, each must be constantly appraised according to the circumstances. As citizens we must judiciously consider their proper application not only within a particular context, but we must also think about the effects of our choice upon the members of our community.
Battling a virus demands the efforts of all members of the community working together to eradicate the threat. Each person has a responsibility to other members of the community to safeguard their welfare. In this context, there is no room for “personal liberties.” Citizenship is demanded of each of us. We have rights, but we have duties too. During this health crisis, we have a duty to each other. We must recognize our social connections by wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and looking out for one another.
The Harford County Board of Education’s mask mandate reflects its acceptance of responsibility for the safety of students, staff and the community.
As elected officials, you owe your constituents a civic-minded approach in which you uphold responsible practices. If you haven’t watched the musical 1776 lately, watch it again and listen for this comment from Dr. Lyman Hall but attributed to Edmund Burke: “A representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.”