“So what do you think?” the park ranger asked.
“What do I think about what?”
“Mount Rushmore,” he said glancing up at the monument.
“Well, I was here when I was a kid. I liked them better without the masks,” the man replied.
“It’s important for people to have masking reinforced, wherever they may be.” The ranger hesitated for a moment. “I see you’re not wearing a mask.”
“I am not.”
“You know, we all need to do our part, particularly when the next pandemic comes a long.”
“And there will be a next one,” the park visitor said quietly, almost to himself.
“Exactly! I’m glad to hear you understand that. And since you do, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t wear a mask.”
“I think you do.”
“You probably think because we’re outside in the hills of South Dakota that a mask is not necessary, but I can assure you…”Suddenly, there arose from Mount Rushmore, from one of the four Presidents, it seemed to be the only explanation, a loud voice that cascaded down the mountain like an avalanche of terrible syllables that would not be denied a listener. It bellowed:
Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.1
“But we’re not denying freedom to anyone, we are trying to protect the freedom of others, the freedom to be free from catching a deadly disease.”
Another voice echoed down from Mount Rushmore:
Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.2
The man, unmoved, replied, “That’s carrying things too far. We’re not ruining liberty! We are trying to protect everyone.”
“Just not everyone’s liberty,” the other man said.
“You have no sense of responsibility. Do you think your precious freedom is worth the risk of others getting Covid?”
“Yes, yes I do.”
“And what if that person dies?”
“You are assuming that masks work, but for the sake of argument I’ll play a long. People die. It’s a part of life.”
Then another voice from the monument spoke:
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.3
“You people are impossible!” the park ranger lamented.
“Can I ask you a question?” the park visitor said.
“So you don’t think it’s little odd that the presidents on the monument are talking to you?”
“No, not at all. You should have heard them when we were putting their masks on.”
- Abraham Lincoln, Speech Delivered Before the First Republican State Convention of Illinois, held at Bloomington, on May 29, 1856. Accessed on August 20, 2023: at https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/3253/pg3253-images.html
- George Washington, The Life of George Washington by John Marshall (1755-1835), compiled by David Widger, from “Letters of General Washington to the governors of the several states,” accessed on August 20, 2023: https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/28859/pg28859-images.html
- Thomas Jefferson, the phrase is a translation of the Latin phrase, “Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.” From the website, The Jefferson Monticello, accessed on August 20, 2023: https://www.monticello.org/research-education/thomas-jefferson-encyclopedia/i-prefer-dangerous-freedom-over-peaceful-slavery-quotation/
2023 The Inmate, The Asylum
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Why are they wearing masks? If I had arms I would rip this damn thing off.
Me too! Abe, I thought you got rid of slavery.
I did, but I think these people are just stupid.