Dalton, GA — On Sunday, health freedom advocates rallied in front of Dalton City Hall to protest the most recent mask mandate calling it medical tyranny. They held signs encouraging drivers to stop and sign their petition to repeal the mandate.
By Abigail Darnell
“We are standing in the way of medical tyranny and proclaiming freedom matters, so that our children and our children’s children, may know what freedom and peace are supposed to look like,” said Jessica Hocker, homeschool mother of six and the coordinator of the event.
“Thomas Paine said, ‘I prefer peace, but if trouble must come, let it be in my time, that my children may know peace.’”
The protest was part of a nationwide effort spear-headed by the Tea Party Patriot Action organization’s “Just Say NO” campaign that mobilized activists to take to the streets last weekend for health freedom.
“Medical Tyranny has no place in America,” said Hocker.
Crystal Cochran, a local activist said, “The community response was overwhelmingly positive. Even policemen who passed by gave us positive feedback.”
The activists, most of whom were church-goers that had attended worship services before taking to the sidewalks Sunday afternoon, welcomed the chance to politely dialogue with him. Jessica Hocker responded, “If you can have the vaccine and still spread Covid, and I don’t have the vaccine and spread Covid, what is the difference between the two of us?”
Not all those who pulled over were supportive of their efforts, however. A man driving a truck pulled over and shared his concern that mask wearing and vaccinations were necessary in order to “love thy neighbor”.
Whitfield County was named after George Whitfield, a well known evangelist during the Great Awakening, and is home to a large community of evangelical Christians. Many evangelicals believe that loving one’s neighbor involves defending their freedom and bodily integrity from tyrannical overreach.
“Tyranny anywhere is a threat to liberty everywhere. If you want to take the vaccine or wear a mask, we want you to protect your freedom to choose. I just want to live free” said Cochran.
A statement from the Mayor and City Council indicates the mask mandate applies to “visitors to all city buildings and facilities… local businesses can require the use of masks on their premises and we will uphold those requirements as well.”
The statement asserts, “This isn’t a political issue – it’s about public health and keeping our economic recovery going.”
Candidate raps mandates
The City Council might have taken the mask mandate further had not Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order on August 19th empowering private businesses to make their own safety decisions, prohibiting local governments from imposing mask mandates, vaccinations or building capacity mandates on local businesses.
Rod Miller, an attorney who recently announced will be challenging the incumbent candidate for Ward 2 on the City Council, publicly expressed his opposition to the council’s decision.
“I oppose mandates including the mask mandate just reimposed by the council and I strongly believe that vaccine decisions should be a private matter between people and their physicians, not government.”
Vaxxed people getting sick more often
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, between 40% and 49.9% of Whitfield County residents have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, which is a higher percentage than all the surrounding Georgia counties, and yet, in spite of the higher vaccination rate, Whitfield County has seen a large resurgence of Covid hospitalizations which led the City of Dalton to declare a state of emergency.
This fact has likely contributed to the doubt many North Georgia residents feel about both the efficacy and safety of the vaccine and was certainly not lost on the health freedom advocates who see it as a glaring inconsistency with the narrative they have been told.
One passer-by expressed the betrayal he felt after being told that he wouldn’t need to wear a mask if he would just get vaccinated, and now is being forced to wear a mask, despite getting the jab.
Among the activists, skepticism was rampant and striking. “Experts suggest it is the vaccine that is spreading Covid,” said Cochran.
Jessica Hocker suggested this skepticism is nothing new, quoting founding father Benjamin Rush, “‘Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an underground dictatorship…’ That time has come” she continued. “We implore all Americans, regardless of what side of the aisle people find themselves on, to stand on the side of freedom.”
Time to fight