People didn’t resist in 1918. (Provided)

Mandated masks and vaccinations are just common sense and do not violate your constitutional rights. In 1905, in the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court upheld the Cambridge County’s authority to mandate smallpox vaccinations during a smallpox epidemic. Today smallpox has been virtually eradicated due to smallpox vaccinations.

A mandated vaccination requirement for school children was upheld by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision in 1922, in Zucht v. King, where the court found that the San Antonio, Texas school district could constitutionally exclude unvaccinated children from attending school. (Ironic isn’t it, given the Texas governor’s present stance and that of his fellow legislators!)

It is certainly true that the law evolves. Not all rulings are good or stand the test of time. Without question, the interests of public health versus private liberties is a balancing act. Consider the 1927 Supreme Court case, Buck v. Bell, which supported a state’s right to forcibly sterilize a “feeble-minded” young woman, stating that this did not violate her 14th Amendment rights (specifically the due process clause).

Perhaps in time Jacobson and Zucht might be superseded by subsequent rulings. But in the meantime, can we all just apply some common sense here? Can we conscientiously wear our masks at all times in public (with noses covered please) and get our vaccinations (then boosters when the time comes)?

People were wearing masks even back in 1918 during the worldwide influenza pandemic! (Even the family pet was wearing a mask in the accompanying photo!)

Before you ignorant folk out there get insulted by my use of the word “ignorant,” I didn’t call you stupid. Stupid implies a lack of intelligence. Ignorant is a hopeful word. Ignorant according to the dictionary means “lacking knowledge or awareness, uneducated.” 

Ignorant implies that a change is possible. An ignorant person can learn. For my part though, based on what I’m seeing so far in this country, my fingers are crossed on that one.

Louise Mezzatesta

River Forest

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