Earlier this week, I delivered a simple message: There is a virus here. It kills people. The only way you can prevent it is to get vaccinated, wear masks, and do social distancing.
Some people are complaining, “Well, my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.” Well, I told them, “Screw your freedom.” You have the freedom to wear no mask. But if you exercise that freedom, you’re a schmuck—because you’re supposed to protect your fellow Americans.
I’ll admit, calling people schmucks and saying “Screw your freedom” was a little much, even if I stand by the sentiment. But there is nothing that I’m more passionate about than keeping America great, and it’s the only subject that can make me lose my temper.
I knew I’d be called a RINO, but that doesn’t bother me. Honestly, rhinos are beautiful, powerful animals, so I take that as a compliment. I anticipated being called a Nazi and a Communist. But I’ve got thick skin stretched over my metal endoskeleton, so I knew I could take it.
But some of the responses really worried me. Many people told me that the Constitution gives them rights, but not responsibilities. They feel no duty to protect their fellow citizens.
That’s when I realized we all need a civics lesson. I can’t help but wonder how much better off we’d be if Americans took a step back from politics and spent a minute thinking about how lucky we are to call this country home. Instead of tweeting, we could think about what we owe to the patriots who came before us and those who will follow us.
I am not an academic, but I can tell you that selfishness and dereliction of duty did not make this country great. The Constitution aimed to “promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” It’s right there in our founding document. We need to think beyond our selfish interests.
Our country began with a willingness to make personal sacrifices for the collective good. It’s right there in the closing line of the Declaration of Independence: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Almost two centuries later, John F. Kennedy posed his famous challenge: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Our country became great because every generation before us knew that liberty and duty go hand in hand. I am worried that many of my fellow Americans have now lost sight of that.
When I look at the response to this pandemic, I really worry about the future of our country. We have lost more than 600,000 Americans to COVID-19. Are we really this selfish and angry? Are we this partisan?
George Washington wrote, “Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.” When we wear a mask or get a vaccine, we are serving our country and our fellow citizens.