Republican Gov. Mike DeWine last week ordered residents of seven Ohio counties, including Cuyahoga County, to wear face masks in public.
The governor tried to issue a mandatory mask mandate for all of Ohio in April, but he withdrew the order after public backlash.
The new order, targeting more populous counties considered to have a higher number of coronavirus cases, has had mixed reactions from the counties themselves.
Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, an outspoken Republican, has said he will not enforce the order.
“I am not the mask police,” he said on Twitter.
— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) July 7, 2020
However, Cuyahoga County, in which Cleveland is the county seat, is considered a Democratic stronghold, and its Democratic county executive, Armond Budish, will be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next month.
His reaction to the mandate was very different from that of Sheriff Jones.
On Friday, Budish announced a new snitch line where county residents can report fellow citizens they see not wearing a mask. He released a phone number and online address where people could report their fellow citizens.
“If you see situations where people are not following the mask mandate, you may call that number or go to that web address,” he said.
Budish proceeded to sound like a good Leninist as he warned citizens the government will be watching.
“When we receive information about mask compliance issues from the community, we intend to contact a business owner if relevant, or the relevant individuals, to let them know information has been received.”
“We also intend to inform the local city, village or township as well. If repeated complaints are received or serious non-compliance is raised, under the state order, the county sheriff would have the authority to investigate and potentially take further action.”
Cleveland TV station WKYC reports, “According to Budish, his office’s ‘legal research’ determined a violation of the order would constitute as a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. However, local municipalities will have leeway to enact their own possibly non-criminal penalties.”
New York City Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio tried to enact a similar snitch line in his city in April. He was forced to take it down after it was flooded with Hitler memes and pictures of male genitalia.
Cuyahoga County residents have not fought back against this Soviet-style government invention. Hundreds already have reported on their neighbors.
The line has been flooded with over 500 complaints since 3 p.m. on Friday to Monday, according to spokesperson Mary Louise Madigan. Apparently, there are plenty of people in this county willing to act as apparatchiks.
One wonders if these tattletales even know about special-needs situations, such as autism, which make it difficult if not impossible for the individual to wear a mask without sensory reactions.
Perhaps the residents of Cuyahoga County who are reporting should watch “The Lives of Others,” a film about living in communist East Germany. You do not want to create a world where others always have to worry about someone watching them and reporting on them for minor infractions.
Communists are famous for having a massive network of snitches. Now we have them in America in the era of COVID-19. What this Ohio county is doing is disturbing. The county executive and the residents who support this totally misunderstand government’s role.
The government can issue guidance and recommendations for masks, but it cannot create a snitch hotline that encourages neighbors to anonymously turn on one another.
This is next-level mask shaming. Such an action creates a society in which individuals are inherently distrustful of their fellow man.
With more and more governors mandating masks, will this hotline come to your state next?
If it does, fight back and prepare to elect new officials who will not act like local totalitarians.
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