The arguments made against mask mandates are uncannily similar to the ones made against seatbelt mandates back then.
Instinctively buckling seatbelts into place after getting into the car has almost become second nature for American drivers. There is widespread consensus that seatbelts help protect the driver in the event of a car crash and it's not really up for debate. Turns out it wasn't always the case. A news clip from the '80s shows there was a widespread backlash against seatbelt mandates and the arguments are eerily familiar and being employed to fight vaccine and mask mandates as the country grapples with the pandemic, reported Comicsands. The clip shows people saying their freedoms were being taken away for wearing the seatbelt that literally protected them.
This clip from the Daily Show of people fighting against seat belt mandates in the 80s is absolutely surreal from start to finish given today's climate on both masks and COVID vaccines. pic.twitter.com/IiR8iavlyN— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 16, 2021
States began mandating seatbelts through legislation in the 1980s, with New York being the first state to pass the bill into law in 1984. The other states followed suit and New Hampshire, known by its official state motto "Live Free or Die," remains the only state in the country without a seatbelt law for adult drivers. The news clip shows a negative reaction from the public and it mirrors the polarized reaction to vaccine and mask mandates in America. The clip was shared by The Daily Show featured drivers' reactions from the states of Florida and Michigan, and they were all against it.
One of my earliest memories is watching as my neighbor cut the seatbelts out of his brand new car with a large hunting knife, ranting the whole time that no one was going to tell him how to keep his family safe. It was terrifying.— Trish Garcia Mulligan (she/her) (@homebaseseattle) September 16, 2021
"I wouldn't wear my seat belt. If I get caught, I get caught I guess," says one person, echoing thousands of Americans refusing to wear a mask. "I hear it's uncomfortable, it wrinkles my clothes, it's not cool," Chris Miller, a cop, recalls drivers telling him. Again, echoing all the essays that have been written and the hour-long programs broadcast against how masks make people uncomfortable and prevent people from reading read facial expressions. In the video, one driver made the choice argument, "There's no freedom no more. You don't want to wear it, that's your choice." One Twitter use recalled that the seat belt mandate became normalized only after insurance companies threatened to increase rates in states that didn't mandate it by law. According to History.com, David Hollister received hatemail comparing him to Hitler for introducing a seat belt bill in Michigan in the early 1980s that levied a fine for not buckling up.
I was around then. Water cooler talk was "How will they PROVE I wasn't wearing it?" and strategies around defeating the seat belt alarm.— Ironing Man, Starch Industries, 💉💉💉Pfizer (@TrueIroningMan) September 16, 2021
Then the insurance companies said they'd double rates in states that didn't make it a law, and voila.
Antivax needs a cash penalty.
While many make the argument that people should be able to choose whether they want to wear a mask, the truth is they're potentially endangering, not just their own life but also that of other people as well. NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explained it beautifully as he called for unvaccinated NBA Players to be kicked off the team. "The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team," said Abdul-Jabbar, reported Rollingstone. "There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff, and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research," he said.
Mask mandates have become a bone of contention in school board meetings. A Texas dad, James Akers, recently stripped down to his underpants at a school board meeting to make a statement about masks. Akers is a Dad to four kids, of whom one is studying in the school. As we reported, he pointed out the hypocrisy of the 'freedom' argument and said the onus was on each one of us to protect one another. "I'm here to show you that I do not like government, or any other entity — just ask my wife — telling me what to do," he said at the start of the video. "But, sometimes I've got to push the envelope a little bit, and I've just decided that I'm going to not just talk about it, but I'm going to walk the walk."
As he continued, he started taking off one piece of clothing at a time, starting with his shirt. "At work, they make me wear this jacket. I hate it. They make me wear this shirt and tie. I hate it," he said, as he took them off. He continued, talking about arriving at the meeting and sarcastically spoke about his disregard for rules and others' safety. "On the way over here, I ran three stop signs and four red lights," he said casually. "I almost killed somebody out there but by God, it's my world too so I have every right to drive as fast as I want to and make the turns that I want to." James Akers made the speech during Dripping Springs Independent School District's board meeting.