Opinion: ‘It’s time for our public health officials to return to their traditional role as wise influencers, rather than behaving like petty tyrants’

In her weekly column Dangerous Rhetoric, Nancy Churchill discusses the relationship between influence and power, in this case when it comes to health officials

Nancy Churchill
Dangerous Rhetoric

Is it possible to have both influence and power? Or, do authority figures dilute their influence when they attempt to use their authority inappropriately to assert power over others? I would argue it’s not possible to have both influence and power. When my children became teens, it was important to make the transition from authority figure to influencer. At some point, it’s healthier to let the young adults make their own choices rather than try to force them to do something.

I see the same dynamic happening in today’s public and political arena. The people are not children. It’s inappropriate to try to force people to do something like wearing masks, especially something that so powerfully impacts bodily autonomy and personal freedom. It’s a misuse of authority and influence to attempt to grasp at power over others. Doing this destroys important community relationships that will take a long time to repair.

I recently attended my local health board meeting and presented research about why masks are both harmful and ineffective. One resource was from the CDC, published in May 2020, which showed 10 randomized controlled trials that found NO benefit from mask wearing in controlling the spread of influenza. (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article)

Another resource was a summary of information in a book by Jim Meehan, MD, titled Why wearing a mask makes healthy people sick, an evidence based analysis of why masks are ineffective, unnecessary, and harmful. (https://files.constantcontact.com/07d815b3801/c8f13200-ecb2-431f-89df-8285e2527151.pdf)

My final resource was Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Masks, and the Deadly Falsehoods Surrounding Them, by James D. Agresti (https://www.justfacts.com/news_face_masks_deadly_falsehoods)

Based on the information provided, I asked my health board to change their recommendations on masks to “Recommended but NOT MANDATED.” The information was not well received by some in the meeting. Statements were made like “You’re not on the front lines. You have no medical experience.” This is true, I’m not a healthcare professional, nor do I claim to be.

However, the data provided was highly researched by medical professionals and other experts. I’m not claiming to do the research, but it’s important that the health board consider all the data available — even information that is not approved by the governor, the president or the mainstream media.

This research reveals plenty of strong data that indicates that masks are harmful and ineffective, especially for children. Why are we not allowed to examine and publicly discuss this data? The scientific method requires that medical authorities examine ALL of the data, even the data that challenges their current understanding. Attacking and discrediting alternative viewpoints is part of the political playbook of the progressive left. When medical authorities refuse to consider all scientific data, they undermine their own influence and authority.

Some people ask me, “What about you? Are you looking at all the data?” Well, it’s hard to miss the “approved” data. The news cycle presents information that supports masks all day, every day. Unfortunately, medical “authorities” like Dr. Anthony Fauci have lied and flip-flopped so often, that the public has lost faith in that information. By using his authority to reach for power over the public, Dr. Fauci has destroyed his influence.

Some medical professionals claim that masks work because they use them at work every day. However, there are many factors at play in a medical environment, including excellent hygiene, changing masks frequently and excellent environmental cleanliness. Demanding that other community members, including children, do the same thing as a hardworking medical professional is an outrageous, dangerous and unhealthy overreach of power. The belief that “I do this, so you should do it too,” is another example of misunderstanding the dynamics of influence and power.

It’s time for our public health officials to return to their traditional role as wise influencers, rather than behaving like petty tyrants. They need to start by respecting the concerns and views of the community and allow open dialogue with our elected officials. To retain their influence and regain the trust of the public, the best approach for public health authorities would be to give strong, well researched advice, and then allow others to independently make their own personal choices.

Believe me, the public wants to trust our health officials. We have questions we think they should be able to answer. But health officials can be either respected influencers or power hungry tyrants. They cannot be both because tyranny is never respected. I hope our public health officials will rediscover the wisdom of influence, and abandon their march towards medical tyranny. It’s time to end mask mandates and health mandates of any kind.

Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.

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