Alan Clark

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says you don’t have to wear a mask. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says, yes, you do.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says everyone’s got to wear a mask while in public. Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy says he’s not going to enforce that law.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he would prefer everyone wear a mask, but it’s not a requirement yet.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper says he’s considering mandating masks as he slips backwards through phases.

Dr. Fauci and the scientists are adamant about using facial coverings in public, but the president is not.

Nancy Pelosi criticizes the president’s response to COVID-19, but is it all politics or genuine concern for us?

As cases rise in Franklin County (now more than 150 as of this writing), what do we do to slow the increase? Is mask-wearing a trend, or an effective defense against the virus?

There’s no shortage of masks, but what do we do about obtaining and wearing them?

Should city mayors be able to override governors on mask policies?

This is how the War Between the States got started.

States believed they should be able to govern themselves without interference from the federal government. The feds said, no, you can’t do that unless specifically authorized by the Constitution.

They fought a war over it, killed a bunch of people, and we still have disagreements over the issues.

Who’s in charge here?

Obviously, there are strong feelings about a simple thing like wearing a mask. It’s not just the wearing of the mask, it is whether there is a mandate that you MUST wear a mask.

Wearing a mask is awkward. You have to be sure there is one available whenever venturing out into the public.

My glasses fog up and tend to drop off my face if I bend my head down.

Breathing is a little different, and you can hear yourself talk, like feedback. A lot of people like that feature though, because they like to hear themselves talk.

But after a while, you can get used to it. Like my dad used to say, “You can get used to anything but a rock in your shoe.”

So, it takes some effort to don the face covering, but it makes sense to protect yourself and others if the virus is not, indeed, slowing down any.

This arm wrestling between politicians with different beliefs about it gets played out over and over because it is a conflict, and conflicts make news.

In the military, you obey the chain of command.

If the ranking officer says do it, everyone beneath him or her does it, like it or not.

There is that culture that, you may disagree, but you cannot disobey because, well, lives are at stake.

Although lives are also at stake in the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not seem to be able to agree as governments on what should and should not be done.

Walmart and Kroger are now mandating masks for in-store customers. They are not saying stay away, just to wear a mask when you come.

Most of the now open restaurants we frequent in this area observe caution with staff in masks and extra cleaning rituals. I appreciate that.

That really leaves it up to the individual, you and me, on what we believe and how to act.

If wearing a mask has any chance of preventing death or infection, I am one who is going to do it regardless of what the powers that be may dictate.

Most of the people I know are very cautious about staying indoors, wearing a mask if they have to go out in public, social distancing, and observing the guidance on preventing transmission of the virus.

Bottom line, we have to take care of ourselves and each other if we are to survive this pandemic, because that’s the way it oughtta be.

Award-winning writer Alan Clark’s editorials are available as podcasts on Apple Music, and in the publication “You Oughtta Know, Vol. One,” published by Lakeway Publishers, Inc.