The mask and the Mark of the Beast

In theory, Governor Greg Abbot (R) of Texas isn't a dictator, and we're not slaves.  I say "in theory" because more and more, it's starting to seem as if the converse of both propositions is true.

Today, my wife and I decided we wanted some ice cream that was more than just a Dairy Queen ice cream cone, so we went to a local Cold Stone Creamery.  Cold Stone is an old-fashioned ice cream shop that has dozens of ice cream flavors as well as sprinkles, chips, candy pieces, and high-calorie additions of all kinds, mixed together by hand on a frozen slab of stone while you watch.

When we got to the door, there was a sign on it.  It said, "Per the Governor's Order FACE MASK REQUIRED," with a picture depicting a faceless man wearing a mask.  Below is the picture I took of the sign.

Lately, I've been going into grocery stores and walking right past the faceless, clone-like employees standing outside, telling me I need to wear a mask or offering to give me one for free.  They've never tried to stop me, and I've seen a few other rebels (but only a few) inside, also sans face masks, so when I saw this sign, I ignored it the way I've been doing.

I walked in, and the place was empty except for a grandfather and his grandson eating ice cream at one of the small, round tables beside the door.  They weren't wearing masks, of course.  Other than them, the place was deserted.  Almost immediately, one of the masked employees behind the counter asked me if I had a face mask.  I said no and kept going to the beginning of the line to place my order.

Two employees came out from the back, wearing masks, to confer briefly with the first one (him/her/it/who knows?) before turning to me to ask again if I had a mask.  Again, I said no.  Then a different one said they couldn't serve me if I didn't have a mask.

My blood pressure started to rise, but I kept it under control and pulled out my wallet.  I gave my debit card to my wife and told her to get my ice cream for me because she knows what I like.  I was going to wait outside.  She was wearing a mask, mainly because she doesn't like confrontations and tries to get along with everyone, but this time, she'd reached her limit.  She told me she wanted to leave.

So we did.  Cold Stone lost a sale, and we went home and ate some Blue Bell ice cream we have in the freezer, but my blood was boiling.

Look at that sign again.  It doesn't say that such and such is illegal, then quote chapter and verse of some obscure law in minuscule print at the bottom of the notice.  We've all seen signs like that, usually telling you it's illegal to consume alcoholic beverages in a store that sells them.  The size and format of the sign itself are usually dictated by law, too.  But this sign is different.

This sign simply says, "Per the Governor's Order."  This order was enforced by the faceless employees who were, no doubt, terrified of losing their jobs if they failed to comply with the governor's Order.

Because of Abbot's executive order GA-29, I was forbidden to freely engage in an act of commerce, of buying and selling, without a single scintilla of evidence required to prove I was carrying any disease, without any conviction for any crime, without any appropriate enabling legislation, and without any regard for the God-given rights that are supposed be protected by the Constitution.

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.  (Revelation 13:16-18, NKJV)

Let me be clear: a face mask is not the Mark of the Beast.  But when a single man, in one of the largest states in the country, can issue a peremptory command to every person in the state to wear a mask or be denied the ability to buy and sell — and the people go along with it! — it's hard to argue that Abbot isn't a dictator or that we're not slaves.

Michael V. Wilson is an author, freelance writer, curmudgeon, and husband who writes for the joy of it at Scribe of Texas.

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