‘It’s About the Kids’: Mask Rebellion Breaks Out in Tennessee

August 11, 2021 Updated: August 12, 2021


“All politics is local,” then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill told us back in 1982 but contemporary events remind us how true that was.

Part of the reason—given the plethora of useless Republicans in the U.S. Senate made yet more obvious by the infrastructure vote—is Washington, D.C., veers to the hopeless, but it is also because all politics really should be local.

It’s where We the People can most affect matters—or try. And citizens across the country are beginning to realize this.

That was very much in play Tuesday night in Franklin, Tennessee.

Readers may recall I wrote of a rebellion stirring in Franklin—seat of Williamson County and basically part of metro Nashville—via the “Moms for Liberty” over the issue of Critical Race Theory pervading the curriculum of their supposedly perfect schools.

Tuesday night that rebellion was redoubled at the school board meeting where the question of whether those same children should be forced to wear masks to class this year.

What happened? All politics is indeed local and, we might add, “it’s about the kids.”

I wasn’t there—although my text messages were, to borrow an old phrase, “ringing off the hook”—so I’ll let local news in the form of Channel 5 Nashville describe:

“The Williamson County School Board voted to require students, staff and visitors at elementary schools to wear face masks while indoors and on buses beginning Aug. 12 and to end Tues. Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m.

“The decision was made Tuesday night after a lengthy and heated special-called board meeting that dozens of parents attended.”

“Lengthy and heated” was a bit of an understatement by the channel. The place was steaming with lawsuits threatened by angry parents as they engaged in shouting duels with recalcitrant school board members. And well more than “dozens” were really in attendance because hundreds more parents were apparently outside, unable to get into the venue.

Able to get in and also a parent with three children in the system—he had promised on radio to get there early—was Clay Travis of Outkick and The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, who made an impassioned speech:

“We teach our kids that facts matter. That is why they go to school. The facts are these. Masks don’t work. There isn’t a single scientific data that has ever proven that masks work. Also, let’s talk about risk analysis. I feel bad for all of these people walking around in masks and engaging in cosmetic theater thinking that they are making a difference against COVID. They aren’t.”

“Cosmetic theater.” Great phrase and almost too accurate. There’s a lot of that going around, including, alas, some “vaccine theater.”

What are we to do now? Take more vaccine, a booster with yet another booster undoubtedly to come until… who knows?

“Follow the science” has become the clarion call of the “know-nothing.” Which science is never quite clear. And when it is, it’s ever-changing.

The parents see this too and have a right to be furious, especially because it is now being brought down to their children, both in the form of masks and vaccinations with unknown consequences.

Nobody knows what messages these mRNA (m as in messenger) vaccines will be giving to these children when they grow up and are ready to bear children, not mention what the wearing of these masks is already doing to their mental health.

And yet many state administrations, including red state administrations, are ratifying this approach or passing on the decisions to complaisant county officials.

Tennessee governor Bill Lee has been under fire of late for his recent late-night extension of a “State of Emergency” for his state, giving similar exceptional powers to the government due to COVID.

This is another manifestation of the growing split within the Republican Party, not just in Tennessee but across the nation.

So it wasn’t entirely surprising when I received in my inbox this morning a press release entitled “CONSERVATIVE COUNTY MAYOR ANDY OGLES CHALLENGES ABUSE OF POWER BY TENNESSEE GOVERNOR.” The release asks Governor Bill Lee to address three things:

“1. Limit the powers of Governor of Tennessee and his abuse of Emergency Powers using unconstitutional executive orders, which infringe on the liberties of the citizens of this state.

2. Protect the children of Tennessee from forced mask wearing and respect the individual choices of parents to manage the health and wellbeing of their own children.

3, Protect ALL people of Tennessee from forced vaccination for COVID-19 whether by government or businesses both as consumers and employees.”

If this kind of struggle is going on in supposedly ultra-red Tennessee (Trump received two-thirds of the vote in the 2020 election) it could go on anywhere.

Ogles calls Tennessee a “State of Half Measures,” clearly preparing to run against Lee in the gubernatorial primary. You can read more of his views here.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Roger L. Simon
Roger L. Simon
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on GETTR and Parler @rogerlsimon.