Texans are known for their tenacity and their fiercely independent spirit. We hold in high regard the ideals of personal responsibility, commitment to our families, and a limited government that allows us to live out these ideas without restriction. However, over the past three months, I have witnessed something very alarming: otherwise tenacious and fiercely independent Texans abandoning these valued ideals at an accelerated rate due to fear—fear of a virus, judgement, shaming, or punishment, to name a few—and it is our job as conservatives to put a stop to it using logic and reasoning.

Texans for Vaccine Choice is no stranger to judgement and shaming at the hands of those who claim to value science above all else. We have been scolded for our “selfish disregard” for vulnerable populations and accused of spreading diseases we don’t have to the community at large. Now, the “party of science,” otherwise known as the Democrat Party, is utilizing the same weapons of propaganda against our families to berate Texans who are opposed to the overreaching aspects of the newest COVID policies. Where we have traditionally been labeled “anti-science” and “anti-vaxxers,” we now see the term “anti-maskers” making headlines.

We see those who refuse to close their businesses or shelter in place, or healthy people who choose not to wear a mask, being accused of the very same things—all by a mob who is more concerned with advancing a political agenda than actually defending science or truth. When it comes down to it, evidence, data, and individual experience don’t matter to them. They call themselves the party of science, but when the science doesn’t fit their narrative, they will ignore it, lie, steal, cheat, gaslight, and employ every dirty tactic under the sun to advance their socialist, collectivist agenda. This is bigger than vaccines, masks, or contact tracing. The mob has taken over and is successfully destroying our free American society.

Those who point to peer-reviewed science that proves vaccines can and do cause harm are ignored. These people who have dedicated their lives to health science are marginalized, unpublished, stripped of their credentials, and labeled “anti-science quacks” simply for daring to say anything that goes against the dogma needed to drive the socialist agenda forward.

Now we are seeing the same thing happen with the movement to mandate masks.

I had a long conversation with Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley about this very issue. He admitted to me that he knew the data is inconsistent and does not support a mask mandate, but judging by his recent policy ruling for Tarrant County, he’s so concerned about someone accusing him as being unresponsive or “anti-science” that he is willing to ignore what he knows to be truth, compromising his belief in individual liberty.

The majority of Texans—I would say conservative Christians, especially—would argue that they are beyond capable of educating their children, managing their finances, and pursuing their relationship with God in the manner they see fit; and yet somehow, so many of them seem to fall into the trap of believing that they are not competent enough to manage their own health without the intrusion of government. This all comes down to the very basic argument of collectivism versus individualism. Not long ago, the World Health Organization labeled “anti-vaxxers” as one of the top 10 global health threats, based on the flawed premise that my vaccine protects you and your vaccine protects me. I would argue that the true global threat is the socialist agenda championing such a way of thinking and recruiting our young people at an alarming rate. And parents are standing by and allowing it—even worse, encouraging it!

If you’ve bought into this mentality when it comes to your health, then I have bad news for you: your faith is next. If you continue to acquiesce to experts & officials (who largely belong to left-leaning organizations that oppose basic conservative values) that justify their overreaching, nonsensical policies with a greater-good credence, then you will be complicit in the loss of your religious freedoms, your Second Amendment freedom, your freedom to choose how you or your children are educated, your freedom to choose your career path … the American Dream dies.

Before these COVID policies spiraled out of control, we were told that if we complied with “Fourteen Days to Flatten the Curve,” we could avoid possible disaster with this virus. Many of us at TFVC were apprehensive—as we are very familiar with the emotional manipulation used under the guise of protecting public health—but agreed that it seemed these were reasonable measures to take while we all waited for the data necessary to dictate future actions. I, along with many of our complex care families, even took additional measures to protect our vulnerable children. Now that the data has become available, and the issues with how that data is reported are glaringly obvious, it is more apparent than ever that COVID health choices should fall under the category of individual responsibility.

Once again, the experts and officials have shown themselves to be unreliable, contradictory, and non-evidence-based and, as such, cannot be relied upon for justifying policies that infringe on our basic freedoms. We do not have the right to live in a germ-free world. We do, however, have the right to bodily autonomy, to medical privacy, and to making the day-to-day choices necessary to keep ourselves and our families healthy.

Your health is not my responsibility any more than your financial security is my responsibility. “But what about the vulnerable?” My personal decisions regarding my vulnerable complex care daughter have gone above and beyond what any government mandate claims to accomplish as evidenced by the outcome! She thrives when I, as the one who knows and loves her the best, am in control of her care. I depend on no one else to protect her, just as you should never give that power over your health to any other person or entity.

Our fear has made us completely irrational in so many ways, and I feel for those who live with this level of anxiety. Being the parent of a medically fragile child has taught me this precious life we are given is meant to be lived to the fullest, not riddled with the anxiety of when it will end.

This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Jackie Schlegel

Jackie Schlegel is the executive director of Texans For Vaccine Choice.