If your concept of "liberty" revolves around your refusal to wear a face mask during a pandemic, but you shrug off a big-city cop's unloading a clip into the back of a Black man, you either need an attitude adjustment or a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Stating the obvious may be a waste of ink. A person whose notion of freedom doesn't include the rights of anyone but himself isn't likely to be reading a newspaper. He's more likely to be tuned into hate radio and typing - usually with plenty of grammatical errors - hate-filled screeds on one of the new pop-up social media forums that promises no "censorship." That person also doesn't understand what "censorship" really means, and that he doesn't have the right to make threats, incite riots, or lie about other people.

But just on the off chance that this piece might be seen by a "freedom fighter" who is still capable of thinking rationally but is on the edge of losing that ability, here's a message regarding the Tahlequah City Council's vote Thursday night to extent the mask mandate: Stop the hate, OK? Just stop it. Right now. Please.

No one's constitutional rights have been infringed upon. None of the councilors, regardless of how they cast their votes, have anything to gain by what they did. The mayor doesn't own stock in a mask-making company, and she's not leading a conspiracy to take over the world with pieces of cloth.

Yes, many people of goodwill are adamant about wearing masks themselves but question the wisdom of an ordinance. It's equally true that other good folks, who care about the welfare of friends and neighbors, think the best way to flatten the curve on this pandemic is to enact temporary laws to save us from ourselves. Either way, what's done is done - so act like you care about your community, and put on the mask when you go out.

Stop stomping into stores defiantly and telling owners you'll take your business elsewhere if they politely ask you to mask up. Stop hollering about "recall elections" for officials who were doing what they thought best to protect the people of this city. You'll get your chance for "revenge" at the polls, if that's what you want. Stop ridiculing people who wear masks as "cowards," especially when by virtue of your petulant attitude, you have revealed yourself to be a craven snowflake offended by the least perceived slight.

Pay attention to what's going on. The Oklahoma State Department of Health's number of deaths is wrong, but not in the way you may think. In fact, far more than eight people have died of COVID-19 in this area - including, just last week, one of our most respected and beloved citizens who was also one of the best attorneys in this state: Donn Baker.

Do your part to help get the pandemic in check, unless you're aiming for more severe restrictions - like closing businesses again. Give a shot at being kind and considerate, and reading up again on the Golden Rule, which you may have forgotten. And pray, if you're willing to listen to what that "still, small voice" says.

And just stop the belligerence. The rest of us don't want it or need it.

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