As proud Oregonians, it is our duty to be aware of the actions of our state, as well as how those actions affect our democracy. One action now being discussed is the implementation of a permanent mask mandate. As proposed, this mandate requires Oregon residents to wear masks indoors at all times. Moreover, this mandate is indefinite, removable only by repeal. For the following reasons, this extensive violation of democracy must not be allowed to pass.
The Oregon Health Authority proposes that since a regular mandate only lasts for 180 days and cannot be extended, a permanent mandate is preferable. However, COVID mandates are temporary because they are emergency executive orders, implemented immediately as a response to a catastrophic situation. Since they are part of an emergency response, mandates are not rigorously drafted and reviewed, particularly in comparison to codified, permanent laws. In addition, mandates are implemented by a single authority, whereas a law must be voted upon by many parties, including the people.
By evading these basic legal practices, the state of Oregon is attempting to initiate a law without meticulous deliberation, without maintaining Democratic processes, and without asking the state to represent the will of the people. As proud Oregonians, we must remind state officials that they cannot act against our democracy, and they cannot make decisions without our consent.
Sydney Westbrook is a resident of Molalla.
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