Letter: Individual ‘rights’ vs. community responsibility

Posted 8/26/21

Over the past several weeks, I have followed the ‘mask debate’ as it pertains to the start of the school year. The increasingly polarizing rhetoric around this reflects an erosion of our …

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Letter: Individual ‘rights’ vs. community responsibility

Posted

Over the past several weeks, I have followed the ‘mask debate’ as it pertains to the start of the school year. The increasingly polarizing rhetoric around this reflects an erosion of our social contract — an insistence on individualism that seems to overshadow our collective responsibility to our community.

This has led us to a place where we are unwilling to take the simplest of measures to mitigate the spread of a harmful, sometimes deadly, virus in our towns.

During the school committee hearings, there was a notable physical presence of ‘anti-maskers.’ This might lead some to believe that they represent the majority of Bristol/Warren residents. However, it is important to contextualize this — those of us committed to keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and our community healthy chose not to be present in an indoor, unmasked setting during a surge in new cases of the Delta variant, but we did make our voices heard through calls and emails to the School Committee.

As far as this loud insistence of the few that their ‘rights’ are more important than our responsibility to one another: I believe that our town is better when we care for each other, and I know that I am not alone.

Lisa Peterson
Bristol

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.